Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Certification Policies

Certification is the acknowledgement that an individual has attained a well-defined level of understanding or ability against a particular body of knowledge or skill set and is committed to maintain a high quality of professionalism while in the practice.

The SEI Certification Program has the authority and responsibility for developing, implementing, and enforcing  policies and procedures in all matters related to personnel certifications granted by the SEI. Our mission is to develop, maintain, evaluate, promote, and administer rigorous, examination-based, professional certification programs through application of the highest quality and best practices in the certification industry.

The SEI Certification program was established with the authority, oversight, and responsibility to establish, implement, and administer to all SEI Authorized professional programs as well.

These responsibilities include:

  • candidate eligibility requirements
  • examination development, requirements, content, administration, passing standards, and related policies
  • agreements with testing service providers
  • documentation processing
  • renewal requirements and processing
  • appeals and disciplinary actions
  • communications
  • utilize additional services and/or organizations as is necessary
  • manage and administer to all related advisory boards
  • staffing and support personnel
  • conformance to all applicable policies and procedures as required by the SEI, and applicable local, state, and federal laws

Computer Security Incident Handler Program

Input and feedback for the CERT-Certified Computer Security Incident Handler (CSIH) program is sought from various sources, including Carnegie Mellon University, SEI, CERT, certificants, and the broader community of cyber security professionals. The community is further represented by an independent advisory board. The CSIH Advisory Board provides guidance and decisions for the program and SEI-Certification implements those decisions.

Certification Agreement

Before the SEI can grant certification to you under any of its certification programs, you must agree and communicate in writing to the SEI that you agree to the terms and conditions of the Certification Agreement. This document is part of the application document. You can download a copy of the SEI Certification Agreement document for reference.

Code of Professional Conduct

All professionals who are certified by the SEI recognize that such certification must be both earned and maintained. In support of this principle, all SEI-Authorized and SEI-Certified professionals are required to commit to fully support the Code of Professional Conduct (the "COPC"). SEI-Certified or -Authorized professionals who intentionally or knowingly violate any provision of the COPC will be subject to action by a peer review panel, which may result in the revocation of certification.

Ethics Program

The SEI Ethics Program is dedicated to upholding the SEI standard of excellence by establishing high standards for the SEI's  work with our Partners and our Authorized and Certified Professionals. The Code of Professional Conduct (COPC) ensures that Authorized and Certified professionals maintain the standards of practice established by the SEI.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is defined in the Code of Professional Conduct for SEI Services as two or more competing priorities that may compromise an Authorized or Certified Professional, Candidate, or SEI Partner's objectivity. When a situation involving a conflict of interest is inherent or cannot be avoided, use the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form to disclose the conflict to the SEI.

Confidentiality and Privacy Statement for Data Collected

At the SEI, we value visitors to our website and take your personal privacy seriously. Our privacy statement describes our practices for handling the data the SEI collects online via the SEI website. The SEI website was created in the United States and does not necessarily comply with laws of any other country, so please review this statement before submitting any data through this site.

Non-Discrimination and Accommodation Policy

The SEI does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs on the basis of religion, creed, ancestry, belief, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

All requests for special accommodations during the certification process should be forwarded to

Logos, Service Marks, and Trademarks Polices

Please use the guidance on the SEI's page on Trademarks and Service Marks.

Policy on Examination Irregularities


In accordance with the SEIs Code of Professional Conduct and SEI Certification Agreements with Candidates, it is the policy of SEI Certification that that any candidate who possesses, receives, transmits examination materials, either before or after the examination, or on-site during the examination, including examination questions and materials in any form is a breach of SEI Certification policy and is strictly forbidden.

Use of SEI examination materials for the purpose of examination preparation or training is also strictly forbidden.

The SEI reserves the right to take whatever measures are necessary, with a candidate or SEI Proctor, to protect the integrity of its examinations. This could include, but would not necessarily be limited to, exclusion from a current examination or future examinations, certification suspension, certification revocation, loss of examination proctoring status, and suit for recovery of damages.

Examination Validity

The validity of scores awarded candidates for their performance on an examination is protected by every means available. If SEI designees or staff observe or discover a candidate or Proctor engaging in any irregular activity as mentioned above, they are obligated to report the individual(s) to the SEI Certification office. The SEI will not report a score for any candidate that it has determined to be invalid and may invalidate scores based on a determination of policy violations. The performance of all candidates is monitored and may be analyzed statistically for the purposes of detecting invalid scores.

If evidence by observation, discovery, or statistical analysis suggests that one or more candidate scores may be invalid because of irregular behavior, the SEI will withhold the scores pending further investigation, and affected candidates will be so notified.

Examples of irregularities affecting the validity of scores, which would necessitate the withholding of scores pending further investigation, would include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Copying of answers from another candidate
  2. Permitting one's questions or answers to be copied
  3. Discussing the specific content of the examination with one or more fellow candidates, before, during, or after the administration of an examination
  4. Unauthorized possession, reproduction, recording, transmission or disclosure of materials or other information regarding the content of an examination before, during, or after the administration of an examination
  5. Other evidence indicating that the security of an examination had been compromised

Upon analysis of all available information in such circumstances, the SEI will determine the validity of the examination scores in question and will notify candidates. If it is determined that the scores in question are invalid, they will not be released.

Although in such circumstances the SEI will make every effort to withhold the scores of only those candidates directly implicated in the irregularity, in some instances the evidence of irregularity, though sufficiently strong to cause doubt on the validity of scores, may not enable the SEI to determine all of the candidates affected. If necessary, the SEI reserves the right to withhold the scores of all candidates, even those not directly implicated in the irregularity, and to require such candidates to take an additional examination at a later date under conditions which will ensure the validity of all scores.

Candidates, proctors, or other persons who are directly implicated in an irregularity affecting the validity of examination scores are subject to additional sanctions, including barring the person(s) permanently from any future SEI examinations, terminating a candidate's participation in an ongoing examination, invalidating the results of the candidate's examination, withholding or revoking a certification, terminating any existing relationship with the SEI, or other appropriate action.

SEI Certification candidates or other persons subject to additional sanctions will be provided with a email and written notice of any charges and an opportunity to respond to such charges in accordance with the appeal procedures as established by the SEI.