Ask Mary: AAP, APRP, NCP… What’s Right for ME?!

Dear Mary: I’d like to add a few letters behind my name, but I’m not sure which certification is best suited for me – AAP, NCP or APRP. What do you recommend?

Becoming an accredited payments professional can open doors, whether your goal is advancing in your current position or providing you with other employment opportunities – the possibilities are endless! However, it can be difficult to determine which accreditation is right for you.

Regardless of whether you desire to become an Accredited ACH Professional (AAP), Accredited Payments Risk Professional (APRP) or National Check Professional (NCP), it is recommended you have two years’ experience in the payments industry before taking the associated exam.

Additionally, you should know that each exam:
Is offered only once a year,

  • Is modified every year to ensure the test is current/relevant,
  • Consists of 120 multiple choice questions (100 are scored), and
  • May take up to three hours to complete.

Let’s break down each accreditation and decide what’s right for you!
An AAP is an expert in all aspects of the ACH Network. Additionally, an AAP has a basic understanding of other payment types as they relate to the ACH Network. If you work solely on matters related to ACH (e.g., operations, sales, risk management), you should think about becoming an AAP! This year, testing will take place October 5-24. Watch our So You Think You Want to Be an AAP informational recording or if you’re interested in our Prep Program, click here.

If your work has a larger scope outside of ACH or check, including payments strategy, product development or treasury sales, then becoming an APRP may provide greater benefit to you. If you are already an AAP or NCP, becoming an APRP will further signify your expertise in risk management of all payment types. This year, testing will take place July 13 - August 8. Watch our So You Think You Want to Be an APRP informational recording or click here if you’re interested in our Prep Program.

An NCP is known for his or her exceptional check payment knowledge, including image processing. If your job responsibilities include check or image operations, treasury or product management, payments fraud or risk, you should consider becoming an NCP. This year, testing will take place April 18 – May 9. Thinking about becoming an NCP? Watch our So You Think You Want to Be an NCP informational recording or if you’re interested in our Prep Program, click here.

Each accreditation is valid for five years. To maintain the AAP or APRP accreditations, you must earn 60 continuing education credits throughout the accreditation period. The NCP accreditation requires 50 continuing education credits plus three NCP workshops to be completed during the accreditation period to renew.

Whatever path is the best for you, we can help with your preparations with our Prep Programs! Each Prep Program consists of an intense curriculum, designed to help you prepare for the exam. Depending on the program, these tools may vary from computerized practice tests, pop quizzes review webinars and study materials. And, of course, an EPCOR staff mentor is always available to help. For more information, click the So You Think recording links above or reach out to Member Support at 800.500.0100 or via email at memserve@epcor.org.