The HSCG Certification Program
The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild's Certification Program encourages and promotes the highest professional standards among HSCG members. The Program also presents criteria by which members can measure their knowledge and skill as well as creates a centralized repository for industry-standard information and resources.
The Certification Program benefits the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry by establishing an industry-wide standard of excellence in soap and cosmetic making. Achieving certification benefits the member, demonstrating dedication to professional standards and credibility with customers.
All HSCG members may become certified. The program is entirely voluntary, and only available to HSCG members.
For Vendor Membership, when in the business name, Tier 1 and 2 Vendor Members may designate up to two people to be certified under their membership. Tier 3 Vendor Members may designate one person to be certified under their membership. Certifications for the Company Representations of a Vendor membership are valid as long as the individual is associated with the Vendor Membership or has a Soapmaker membership in their own name.
Certification Benefits include:
- Use of official HSCG certification badge on your website, packaging and marketing materials
- Special designation in the HSCG Maker Marketplace
- Opportunity to join HSCG Teacher Certification, to promote classes (online or in-person) shared through the HSCG website
Testing Tracks & Levels of Certification
There are three testing tracks, with four levels of certification for each.
There are three testing tracks: Cold Process/Hot Process (CP/HP) Soapmaker, Melt and Pour (MP) Soapmaker and Cosmetic Maker. Each soapmaker track has four levels of testing: Basic, Advanced, Expert, and Master. The Cosmetic Certification Program is still under development and only the Basic and Advanced levels are available.
Current testing tracks:
- Cold Process/Hot Process (CP/HP) Soapmaker
- Melt and Pour (MP) Soapmaker
- Cosmetic Maker
Current testing levels:
- Expert - (CP/HP) Soapmaker, MP Soapmaker Only)
- Master - (CP/HP) Soapmaker, MP Soapmaker Only)
Please note that the Cosmetic Certification Program is still under development and only the Basic and Advanced levels are available.
Elements of Certification
Participants in the Certification Program will need to demonstrate an understanding of the following subjects commensurate with the Certification track and level at which they are being certified:
- Techniques for developing soap or cosmetic formulas
- Safety requirements
- Techniques for the use and storage of soapmaking ingredients and equipment
- Labeling requirements
- Environmental concerns
- Good manufacturing practices
A list of suggested study materials, along with practice exams and reference lists have been developed and are available for use in preparing for the Certification examinations. More materials will be developed as time permits. Anyone interested in volunteering in the project to compile soapmaking, cosmetic and/or certification study materials should contact the HSCG Certification Program Director at Certification@soapguild.org.
It is the HSCG's intention to make all the examinations available to all members, regardless of their location or ability to travel. There are four possible ways to take the exams:
- At the Annual Conference
- Proctored Individual Exam
- Group Exam
Duration of Certification
Basic Level certification is valid indefinitely, regardless of HSCG membership.
Where the certified individual is the Owner of a Vendor Member Company, the certification will be valid regardless of membership. For individuals who qualify for certification as the company representative other than the Owner, all certifications will immediately expire on the expiration of the vendor membership. However, the individual may join the HSCG as a Handcrafter Member in their own right, in which case the Basic Level Certification will remain valid.
Advanced, Expert and Master Certification are not indefinite. They remain valid only with membership in the HSCG. If the person's membership expires, there is a 90-day grace period during which the certification may be reinstated by paying a fee of 50% of the current fee for the level. Once the membership has been expired for more than 90 days, the certification can only be reinstated by requalifying under the current requirements for the level.