National CPSI Certification Program

Certification is an act of professionalism. By seeking certification, you join the thousands of people who are committed to fostering the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in the delivery of park and recreation programs and services. 
Certification is verification by an agency that those who are certified have the skills, knowledge, and the ability to do the work for which they are employed. It benefits both the public served, and those who provide the service as an action of quality control. 
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) certification programs are governed by the National Certification Board; three certifications are currently offered, one of which is the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). 

  • The Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) certification was originally created by the National Playground Safety Institute (a program of the National Recreation and Park Association). The CPSI Course and Certification Exam is owned and operated by the NRPA. (www.nrpa.org/certification/cpsi)

Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) Certification


What is a CPSI?

CPSI stands for "Certified Playground Safety Inspector." This certification is offered by the National Recreation and Park Association in coordination with the National Certification Board. All international venues are conducted through the International Playground Safety Institute, LLC on behalf of the NRPA. CPSIs are certified to inspect playgrounds for safety issues and to ensure inspected playgrounds meet current national industry standards developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

How do I become a CPSI?

The key to the CPSI Certification is the CPSI examination. A professional must successfully pass the CPSI exam to receive their certification. This exam may be taken on the third day of the CPSI Course or by computer-based examination through NRPA. If you would like to schedule the exam on the third day of a course please contact the course host.

NRPA strongly suggests that professionals wishing to obtain the CPSI Certification complete the CPSI Course in person. This course provides professionals with a hands-on approach to playground safety and allows them to learn playground safety from highly experienced and respected instructors that have spent years in the field and have a wealth of information to share.  To find a CPSI course near you please view the Industry Calendar at www.nrpa.org for event type - certification course and choose your state. If you are interested in hosting a CPSI Course and Exam at an international venue contact Ken Kutska at www.internationalplaygroundsafetyinstitute.com.

Why renew my CPSI Certification?
Candidates who have successfully passed the CPSI Certification exam are provided a 3-year certification cycle as a CPSI.  Renewal of the CPSI Certification ensures that professionals are knowledgeable of the current standards/guidelines applicable to playground safety.   

To renew your certification, you will have to pass the up-to-date CPSI examination. This exam may be taken on the third day of the CPSI Course through NRPA and IPSI. If you would like to schedule the exam on the third day of a course, please contact the course host. For more information on the computer-based examination please read through the CPSI Candidate Handbook before filling out the application.

How do I find a CPSI in my area?

To aid you in the process of finding a CPSI in your area, NPSI has created the National CPSI Registry: a state by state and or international listing of Certified Playground Safety Inspectors is available upon request. Please send an email with your request and which state or country registry you would like to receive to certification@nrpa.org.

Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many CPSI's are there?
Today there are almost 7,500 CPSI's worldwide.

2. How did NPSI get started?
NRPA offered the first National Playground Safety Institute as a pre-Congress professional development program for the 1991 NRPA Congress in Baltimore, Maryland. The program proved to be very popular and was offered as a pre-Congress professional development program annually from 1992-1995. The first Playground Safety Inspector Certification Course and Examination was held as a pre-Congress program for the 1993 NRPA Congress held in San Jose, California. More than 75,000 people have taken the CPSI Course since 1991.

3. How many courses are given each year, and how do I find out where they are?
The CPSI course and exam are offered an average of 50 times a year throughout the United States. Please visit the NRPA website for a course schedule for specific dates, locations, and registration information. This schedule can be found on the NRPA website under Accreditation/Certification. You may contact Ken Kutska at www.internationalplaygroundsafetyinstitute.com for information on all institutes outside the United Sates.

4. How much does the course cost?
The cost of the course varies by location. Please contact the local host of the course you are considering for specific pricing info. International CPSI Courses are based on a lump sum cost and have been conducted for in-person or online classes as small as 6 and can be held for groups as large as 80.

5. Where do I purchase the course materials?
The course materials are included in the cost of course registration. It is recommended you register and receive the course materials approximately 4 weeks before you are scheduled to attend the course. At this time NRPA and IPSI will not sell the course manual outside of course registration.

6. What is included in the course materials?
The course materials include the CPSI Course Manual and Field Guide., International venues receive a copy of Playground Safety is No Accident with CD of all various inspection forms USA in-person venues receive a formatted USB with a PDF of the book and all the sample inspection forms and worksheets. The CPSI Field Guide includes the ASTM F1487 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use, ASTM F2223 Standard Guide for Impact Attenuating Surface Systems, ASTM F1292 or ASTM F3313 related to surfacing compliance requirements and surface testing protocols, and the CPSC Handbook for Public Playground Safety.

7. How long does it take to get my test scores back?
Exam results will be sent to you 6-8 weeks after you sit for the exam. If you haven't received your test score, and it has been longer than 8 weeks, please contact NRPA at 703.858.0784. Online examination results are available immediately.

8. How do CPSI's update their personal information?
Please submit the CPSI change form. You receive a paper copy with your certificate.

9. How do I renew my CPSI certification?
To renew your CPSI certification you will need to successfully pass the CPSI Certification Examination. Please be aware you are responsible for learning any new updates to the ASTM F1487 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use, ASTM F1292 or F3313, ASTM F2223, and the 2010 CPSC Handbook for Public Playground Safety. Those who are taking the certification examination without going through the course should also read specific pages in the current version of Playground Safety Is No Accident, 6th Edition to understand the risk management/loss control and inspection and maintenance concepts presented during the CPSI Program.

10. What is the CPSI registry?
The CPSI registry is a list of certified CPSIs that can provide individuals or companies a list of Certified individuals in your area who might be able to inspect a playground in their area. All contact information for each CPSI will be listed for those who have given permission to NRPA to do so.

11. Where can a CPSI find the forms to do an inspection/audit of a playground?
Playground Safety is No Accident 6th Edition published in 2021 is devoted to the instruction of developing a public playground management and operation program. It includes many examples of different types of inspection forms for your use. These types of forms have been included as part of the CPSI course, this book and forms are available for purchase from www.internationalplaygroundsafetyinstitute.com and www.nrpa.org.

12. Does a CPSI need to carry insurance coverage?
If you intend to inspect playgrounds that are not owned by you or your employer it is recommended you secure general business liability insurance as well as Errors & Omissions insurance. Consult with the local authorities and your insurance agent.

(CPSI Candidate Handbook and other relate information go to NRPA.org/certification/cpsi)