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Many ask if they must be certified to provide inventory services. Achieving a designation is not an industry requirement; however, it is an industry-led initiative that brings credibility and recognition unmatched by any other industry organization. By achieving this designation voluntarily, you have proven your desire to be one of the best. It is a message to your peers as well as your clients and prospective clients that you realize the importance of personal and professional development. Additionally, when a person is seeking a service provider, their process of due diligence most often includes identifying a professional who is certified.

NICA, along with many other associations, offers certification opportunities as a means to recognize expertise in one’s chosen profession. Achieving an industry designation is an important step for any service professional, as it provides credibility, along with expertise, to secure the trust and confidence of your clients.


The key benefits an asset inventory professional will realize by accomplishing the certification requirements are:

  • Credibility – certification validates your knowledge of the industry, commitment to high business standards, and a continued focus on personal and professional development.
  • Leadership – designation indicates that you have chosen to be at the top of the asset inventory industry, distinguishing your professional services from others who have not taken this initiative.
  • Personal satisfaction – shows your self-confidence and commitment to your chosen profession.
  • Professionalism – displays your dedication to performing your service according to the Code of Ethics and best business practices.
  • Recognition – achieving and maintaining your designation brings recognition from your peers, clients, the media, and other industry professionals.

Additionally, all certified members of NICA will be included in the Members Directory, which provides contact information and a live link to the website.

Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS)

This certification process is designed to provide knowledge of the asset inventory industry. Required courses help establish a firm foundation in the personal property inventory sector, including best business practices, professional processes and procedures, and a working knowledge of the various life events that require or benefit from having a thorough record of assets.

A Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) is an individual who has indicated proficiency in the asset inventory industry by successfully completing the required courses and the Certification Exam, agreeing to conduct business according to the industry Code of Ethics, and meeting other stated requirements.

How to earn the CIS designation:

The candidate must accumulate a total of 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). This can be accomplished through various opportunities.

  • Successfully complete the four required courses (Code of Ethics, Inventory 101, Residential Contents Inventory, and Business Contents Inventory) to earn a total of 9 CEUs.
  • Successfully complete the CIS Certification Exam.
  • Successfully complete additional NICA elective courses – CEUs awarded are noted in each course description.
  • Submit the number of years providing inventory services – 1 CEU for each year.
  • Submit the number of years of military service – 1 CEU for each year served.
  • Submit formal education credit hours – based on the degree earned.
  • Certifications from related industries (insurance, organizing, appraisals, etc.) – 2 for each certification.

To exhibit experiential knowledge, the candidate must have completed a minimum of 2 inventories.

Apply for your CIS designation:

When these requirements have been met, click below to submit your application for your CIS designation. The Education Committee will review your application and notify you upon acceptance.

Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE)

The growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners. This certification provides the credentials to assist appraisers by thoroughly collecting the required information they need to create an accurate USPAP-compliant certified report. The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service, which serves both the appraisal professionals and the clients well. Through this recognition, we are establishing the opportunity for appraisal firms to locate certified, qualified examiners and for members to grow their businesses with additional revenue opportunities.

How to earn the CAE designation:

  • Prerequisite: have achieved CIS certification.
  • Successfully completed the Appraisal Examiner and Customer Service courses.
  • Successfully complete one additional course of choice, offered by NICA.

Apply for your CAE designation:

Once you have met these requirements, click below to submit your application for your CAE designation. The Education Committee will review your application and notify you upon acceptance.

Retaining Your Designation(s) with Qualifying Continuing Education

Our certified members have the desire to stay informed about the inventory industry and general business knowledge, plus prepare for growth opportunities. Keeping your certification(s) current shows commitment to your business, the asset inventory industry, and your clients.

Continuing Education is the foundation of professionalism and business development. Therefore, the Education Committee has established a requirement to complete 5 CEUs annually to retain your NICA certification(s). These CEUs can be applied to both your CIS designation and your CAE simultaneously. All required CEUs can be achieved entirely by taking NICA-provided courses.

Some members earn other professional designations or education CEUs in synergistic industries such as insurance, appraisal, auction, organizing, business, etc. Qualified educational seminars, webinars, workshops, and courses can be applied toward the 5 CEU annual requirement to keep your certification in good standing. To request pre-approval, send a copy of your certificate, email confirmation, etc., of the organization, date, and description of your educational course or session to the NICA office. The Education Committee will notify you if it meets the eligibility requirements.

When you have earned the 5 CEUs each calendar year, click below to renew your certification(s). The Education Committee will review your submission and notify you upon acceptance.

NOTE: To reward your commitment to the personal property inventory industry, at the conclusion of 5 consecutive years of re-certification, you will become permanently certified without the requirement of continuing education.

Download CEU Tracking Form