History of the Certification Program

The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild's Soapmaker Certification Program was conceptualized in early 2006 as part of the HSCG's strategic plan to increase the HSCG's professional image and to establish standards for soapmaking. At the 2006 Annual Meeting on May 10, 2006, the membership approved the establishment of a committee to develop a certification program and come to the 2007 Annual Meeting with a plan to submit to the membership for approval.

The Certification Committee worked diligently for the ensuing year and presented a Certification Program Proposal to the membership. It was approved.

During the subsequent years, several dedicated HSCG members volunteered on the Certification Committee, which was chaired over time by Linda Stevens, Jackie Thompson and Elaine Koronich. Under Elaine's able guidance, the parameters of the original Certification Program were met, with the criteria and testing for all 6 certification levels established.

The Basic Soapmaker Certification Exams for both CP/HP and MP were released at the 2008 Annual Conference and about 30 members were certified as CP/HP and/or MP Basic Soapmakers. At the Annual Meeting that year, the membership approved extending the deadlines for completion of the Advanced and Master Certification levels as specified in the original Certification Program document.

The following year, protocols for Certification Exams by Proctor delivered locally to the soapmaker and for Group Exams were developed by the Certification Committee. The Committee also completed the Advanced Certification Exams for CP/HP and MP which were offered for the first time at the 2009 Annual Conference. Since that time Soapmaker Certifications by Proctor have continued, on an on-going basis.

The Master Certification Level was released in 2010. It is an extensive program including submission of six sample soaps which must meet very specific criteria, an essay exam of 20 questions, a topical research report, and a research project on an issue of importance to soapmakers.

In 2016, a proposal was presented to the membership to implement an "Expert" Certification level, to bridge the large span between Advanced and Master Certification. The proposal was approved, and a Certification Committee was tasked with not only creating the Expert Level, but also reviewing the Basic, Advanced and Master Levels. The new Expert Level was released at the 2017 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

Today, members have successfully completed over 600 Certification Levels, with three reaching Master Level Certification status.

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