The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild's Soapmaker Certification Program was undertaken in order to encourage and promote the highest professional standards among HSCG members. The Program also presents criteria by which members can measure their soapmaking knowledge and skill as well as creates a centralized repository for industry-standard information and resources.
The Certification Program benefits the handcrafted soapmaking industry as a whole by establishing an industry-wide standard of excellence in soap making. Achieving these certifications will benefit the member as it demonstrates dedication to professional standards and builds credibility with customers.
All HSCG members may become Certified. In the case of Vendor Memberships, where the membership is in the business name, Tier 1 and 2 Vendor Members may designate up to 2 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.
Certified Soapmakers are noted with an icon when the member's listing is displayed in the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Directory, and the certification level(s) are displayed when the "More Info" link is clicked from the listing. A list of Certified Soapmakers is also displayed in the "Consumer" section of the HSCG website for consumers who specifically want to find Certified Soapmakers.
A few important facts about the HSCG Certification Program:
- Soapmaker Certification is offered only to HSCG Members.
- Participation in the program is entirely voluntary.
- Basic Soapmaker Certification is valid indefinitely; higher levels are valid only so long as the soapmaker is a current member of the HSCG.
If a current member expires and renews within 90 days, any Advanced, Expert or Master level certification will be automatically reinstated. If the member renews more than 90 days but less than two years after expiration, any Advanced, Expert or Master level certification may be reinstated with payment of 50% of the current fee for that level of certification. If the member rejoins after two years of expiration, they will need to re-certify, starting at the Advanced level under the requirements and rates prevailing at that time.
Levels of Certification
There are two testing tracks: Cold Process/Hot Process (CP/HP) and Melt and Pour (MP). Each track has four levels of testing: Basic, Advanced, Expert, and Master.
In general, participants in the Certification Program will need to have knowledge the following subjects, commensurate with the Certification track and level at which they are being certified.
- Techniques for developing soap formulas
- Safety requirements
- Techniques for the use and storage of soapmaking ingredients and equipment
- Labeling requirements
- Environmental concerns
- Good manufacturing practices
The Basic level consists of a 20 question exam.
The Advanced level consists of a 20 question exam and submission of sample soap(s) for review (1 soap for CP/HP, 4 soaps for MP).
The Expert level consists of a 20 essay question exam, a topical report, and submission of sample soap(s) for review (3 soap for CP/HP, 4 soaps for MP). .
The Master level consists of a 10 essay question exam, a topical report, a research paper and submission of six (6) master-level soap samples vor both CP/HP and MP tracks.
A 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 and certification study materials should contact the HSCG Certification Program Manager at .
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 three possible ways to take the exams:
- At the Annual Conference
- Proctored Individual Exam
- Group Exam