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Mystery shopper certifications are not mandatory for any mystery shopper. But certification gives extra advantage to shoppers over non-certified persons. Mystery shopper certifications are provided by mystery shopper companies and associations. No special qualifications are needed for these certifications. Anyone who takes mystery shopping as a serious profession can apply for certification.
The Mystery Shopper Provider’s Association (MSPA) is the largest international organization offering certification. MSPA provides two levels of mystery shopper certifications, Silver and Gold. For the silver certification, one has to complete an online course and pay $25. You can pay for the certification using a credit card or through Paypal. The online course teaches the basics of mystery shopping and also provides valuable tips, tools and insights that a shopper must possess. The passing score for the online silver test is 80%. If you fail in a silver test you can take it again in 30 days, but on payment of $15 each time.
For gold certification, one must be silver certified and also attend a one day conference. The cost of the conference is $99. These conferences are held in many large cities on a regular basis. The date and venue of the conference can be obtained from the MSPA website. These seminars will give you a chance to meet owners, schedulers and staff of mystery shopping companies. Companies sponsoring the seminars can be found from MSPA websites. If you have gold certification, you can network with mystery shop schedulers in your area.shopper
The National Center for Professional Mystery Shoppers & Merchandisers (NCPMS) provides mystery shopper certification named Certified Customer Service Evaluators (CCSE) for those mystery shoppers who complete an online training program. This program includes topics such as shopping 101, business writing, contract management and final review. The cost of this certification is $128 and the term, two years. For renewing the certification one must complete 5 clock hours of training over a two year period.
Apart from these MSPA and NCPMS certifications, there are also many mystery shopper companies with their own certifications. These companies may be members of these associations or may operate independently. Some of these companies do not charge for their certifications. Since you are an independent contractor, all costs directly related with the certifications are tax deductible.