Professional Certification

A sign of credibility, professionalism, and pursuit of education

Jim Borawa, Emeritus Status

 “I have always valued being a Certified Fisheries Professional and have encouraged others to seek certification.  Over my career the requirement to be re-certified has been a catalyst for me to seek continuing education opportunities that would keep me abreast of changes in the fisheries profession as well as prepare me for positions with administrative responsibilities.  I will always be proud of having maintained full certification and I appreciate being able to qualify for Emeritus Status.”

– Jim Borawa, Certified Fisheries Professional, Emeritus

Why become certified?

There are many reasons for seeking professional certification. For some it represents achievement of a career goal while for others it represents a credential necessary to perform their job. Adelman et al. (1997) describe the specific objectives of certification as follows:

(1) to provide governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations, private firms, courts, and the general public with a definitive minimum standard of experience and education for fisheries professionals; and

(2) to foster broader recognition of fisheries professionals as well-educated and experienced, acting in the best interest of the public. Click here to read more

Levels of Certification

  • Associate Fisheries Professional (FP-A)
    • An applicant who satisfies course work and degree (minimum of B.S. or B.A.) requirements but has insufficient or no experience
  • Certified Fisheries Professional (FP-C)
    • An applicant who satisfies course work and degree requirements and has a specific number of years of qualifying experience and a specific number of professional development quality points (PDQPs)
  • Certified Fisheries Professional, Established (FP-C) (applying as Established Fisheries Professional)
  • Certification Upgrade (FP-A upgrading to FP-C)
  • Emeritus Status (20+ years being certified)

How to Apply

**Only current AFS members may apply for professional certification**

Applicants must satisfy coursework requirements based on past education and continuing education. Application requirements differ depending on the date of your degree. Please download and complete the application form and send a PDF version to [email protected]. All questions about applications, certification process or online invoices can also be directed to [email protected].


In the past, AFS certification requires grades of C- or better to satisfy course credit requirements for certification. Courses graded as pass/fail were not accepted. But during the spring semester or quarters of 2020 many colleges and universities allowed students to receive grades other than the traditional letter (A, B, C, D, F) or number (4, 3, 2, 1). Alternatives grades varied among institutions where some used pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory. To accommodate alternative grading during the spring semester the Education Subcommittee of the AFS certification committee will accept passing or satisfactory outcomes of courses taken during the 2020 spring and fall semester or quarter for class credits required for certification. Classes taken after the this time frame and used to meet education requirements for certification that were also converted to nontraditional grades will also be considered if the applicant adds a statement signed by the applicant listing the classes used for certification that converted to nontraditional grading due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


For individuals seeking to renew their professional certification during the COVID-19 pandemic (their 5-yr renewal period includes March 2020-February 2022), AFS will allow a two year extension to meet all PDPQ requirements. While virtual training and coursework does count towards certification, we recognize that virtual training and meetings were not offered everywhere consistently during the pandemic. We also recognize that not everyone receives the same benefit from virtual training or meetings. If you have any questions, please reach out to AFS by emailing [email protected].

If you are applying for Associate Fisheries Professional (FP-A), Certified Fisheries Professional (FP-C) or Upgrading (FP-A to FP-C), please fill out one of the following applications (check corresponding certification on the application):

Renewal Application: please apply for renewal at the scheduled time frame.

If you have been a Certified Fisheries Professional for at least twenty years (need not be consecutive) and are now retired or working part-time, you are eligible for Emeritus Certification Status.

Course Deficiency Requirement

If applicants do not have certain educational requirements met, they may submit a course deficiency form along with their certification application.

  • The American Fisheries Society has developed some guidelines to help fisheries professionals remediate coursework deficiencies, a common occurrence for older or non-specialized programs.
  • Applicants may satisfy two course deficiencies.
    • Only one course deficiency is allowed in each subject area and a total of two deficiencies may be waived

For more detailed information about the application process, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions about Certification or contact [email protected].

Application Dates

Certificated Quarter Application Deadline Results Received
1st Quarter January 21st end of February
2nd Quarter April 21st end of May
3rd Quarter July 21st end of August
4th Quarter October 21st end of November

Application Fees

 Certification Type  Member Cost
 Certified Fisheries Professional (FP-C)  $100
 Associate Fisheries Professional (FP-A)  $50
 Upgrading from a FP-A to a FP-C  $50
 Renewal: Certified Fisheries Professional (FP-C)  $50
 Emeritus status (20+ years certified)  $10 (Emeriti certificates) and   $25 (Emeriti certificates with   plaques)

Application Process

The Board of Professional Certification is composed of 15 Certified Fishery Professionals who represent all the Divisions and volunteer their time to review applications. The Board is composed of 3 subcommittees: Experience, Education and Professional Experience. Applications are screened for completeness by AFS Educational Program Coordinator. Complete applications are sent out for review quarterly. Once the committees receive the applications it takes about a month to finish the review. Depending on the timing of your submission it takes about 4-6 weeks to learn your results from the date of the application deadline.

Applicants may choose to pay online or by check. *Results will NOT be given out to applicants until they have paid the application fee*

  • Pay Online: Once your application has been received and processed, you will find an invoice on your AFS online membership account.
  • Mail-in Check: Please mark and notify the Educational Program Coordinator if you wish to submit a mail-in check for application payment.

For more detailed information about the Professional Certification program and the application process, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions about Certification or download the AFS Professional Certification program 101 slideshow.

Who is Certified?

AFS is proud to announce the certification of its members on a regular basis! See the complete list of all Certified Fisheries Professionals in AFS.