Certifications

MSPA Americas offers certification (membership is required to obtain certification) to educate independent contractors. Certification programs allow you to make informed decisions and professional improvements for yourself and your industry. There are a number of private companies who may offer certification programs. MSPA Americas has no control over those programs and therefore does not recognize any certifications other than its own in the MSPA Americas Independent Contractor database. Our platform allows us to offer most of our certifications to you 24/7 – check out each course for availability! Have any questions? Check out our Certification FAQs.
 

Plus Level Membership will provide discounts on all certifications! Click here to join or upgrade. In most situations, certifications can be completed online. Certifications are also offered as part of the ShopperFest each June. All courses should be completed on a PC or Mac.  Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, may not compatible with the certification courses. If you need to access your certification code(s), click here to log into your account.

You must complete the Core Courses before taking any other certification courses (except Video I and Gold). The Core Courses are Introduction to Mystery Shopping, Professional Report Writing, and Professional Responsibility and Ethics. These three courses must be completed before taking any other certification course (other than Video I and Gold).
 

Airports I – Concessions

Automotive I – Sales

Automotive II – Service and After Sales
Banking & Financial
Institutions I

Brand Standards Auditing

Casinos
Casual Dining

Fine Dining

Gold Certification

Hotel and Resort I

Intro to Mystery Shopping
(formerly known as Silver)

Introduction to Retail Service

Providers & Merchandising 

Luxury Mystery Shopping Professional Report Writing Professional Responsibility & Ethics 
Property Management I

QSR (Quick Service Restaurants)

Retail I
Retail II Retail III Telephone & Online Mystery Shopping
Video Shopping I Video Shopping II TBA

 

ATTENTION: Once you purchase the certification, you will receive an e-mail with instructions and links to the test within 24 hours. All sales are final, no refunds.

 

Bundle and Save!!
 
Or purchase courses separately below.

Core Bundle
Plus: $60 | Subscriber: $80

The Ethics and Writing courses in one purchase to get you started.

Dining Bundle
Plus: $60 | Subscriber: $80
The QSR and Fine Dining courses will cover all your dining certification needs for mystery shopping! 

You must complete the core courses before taking these courses.

 

Business Bundle
Plus: $60 | Subscriber: $80
Sign up for Banking and Brand Standards Auditing and save!

You must complete the core courses before taking these courses.

Automotive Bundle
Plus: $60 | Subscriber: $80
Sign up for Automotive I – Sales and Automotive II – Service and Sales and save!

You must complete the core courses before taking these courses.

Retail Bundle
Plus: $90 | Subscriber: $120
Sign up for Retail IRetail II and Retail III and save!
 

You must complete the core courses before taking these courses.

 

Enroll for Individual Certifications
Does the Plus level price look more appealing? Upgrade your membership today!

Intro to Mystery Shopping Certification (CORE COURSE)
Plus: Free | 
Subscriber: $25
The Intro to Mystery Shopping course, formerly known as Silver Certification, is an overview introduction to the mystery shopping industry. This initial module covers the basic practices and required skill set for becoming a mystery shopper and serves to build a necessary foundation needed prior to enrolling in other courses.

ATTENTION: The Intro to Mystery Shopping Certification course is included in your first-year membership dues of the Independent Contractor – Plus category, a link will be sent to your email to take the course within 48 hours. If you are an Independent Contractor – Basic member you can purchase the Intro course for $25.

Gold Certification – Temporarily Unavailable Due To Revisions
Plus: $75 | 
Subscriber: $100
Gold Certification is an optional advanced level introductory course. Those independent contractors who achieve their Gold Certification are signaling to MSPA Americas provider companies that they have been trained in the advanced essentials of mystery shopping. Gold Certification demonstrates that an independent contractor has invested the time and resources to study and become an expert mystery shopper. Please note, this certification was previously sold as a DVD but as of September 1, 2017, those are no longer available. Only links will be sent moving forward.

ATTENTION: Once you purchase the certification, you will receive an e-mail with instructions and links to the test within 24 hours. All sales are final, no refunds.

 

Professional Responsibility and Ethics (CORE COURSE)
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
Serious independent contractors who conduct mystery shops realize that the final output of their work product can impact many people, including the workers at the mystery shopping provider companies, and especially, the lives of the employees of the ultimate clients. Being a model representative of the industry involves being set up properly in business, knowing the legal and industry-accepted standards in place and having a clear sense of the ethics expected by all. This course is a comprehensive review of all these factors.

Professional Report Writing (CORE COURSE)
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
Well-written and descriptive reports are the keys to a successful mystery shop. This is important for two reasons. Your precise and intentional use of vocabulary helps to convey your exact impression during your shop. Secondly, the use of proper English and grammar cuts down on the time that mystery shopping provider edits and proofreaders have to put into your report once submitted. Those companies are looking to use most frequently the independent contractors who submit the best reports needing the least amount of editing because it breeds confidence in the submission of the report to the client and it saves the MSP money in reduced editing and proofreading time. This is your chance to stand out as a certified Professional Report Writer by completing this course and passing the corresponding exam. Editors and proofreaders spend the bulk of their time fixing the same typical errors: generic writing, improper choice of vocabulary and inconsistency in writing. Join us for a crash course in attacking these areas and then demonstrate your understanding by passing the course exam for certification in this class.

Quick Service Restaurants
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
QSR (Quick Service Restaurants) are possibly some of the most widely available in the mystery shopping industry. The forms are generally relatively simple to fill out and do not require a lot of time to complete, which can make them popular with independent contractors of all levels of experience. That said, somewhat intricate timings may be involved in the shop itself, and note-taking is still important to ensure that the form is accurate and complete. While these shops often do not require lengthy narratives, it is still important to write clearly, concisely, and objectively to get the required information across. This course will include tips and tricks on how to complete these shops correctly and thoroughly.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Fine Dining
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
In general, only the most experienced and trustworthy independent contractors are chosen to complete fine dining mystery shops. Completing a fine dining assignment requires excellent concentration and observation, surreptitious note-taking skills, and the ability to blend in with the clientele of the restaurant. The forms often require lengthy comments over multiple sections and interactions with up to six or seven employees. Excellent writing skills are a must, including the ability to organize information into concise, sequential narratives. This course reviews the ins and outs of fine dining assignments and provides advice on the best way to complete them successfully.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

 

Airports I – Concessions
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Automotive I – Sales
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
Automotive Sales mystery shops are commissioned by automotive manufacturers and sometimes by the dealerships themselves to measure and understand dozens of points for the end-client. Specifically, this course offers a base-line understanding of automotive sales mystery shops, why these are important to automotive clients and the characteristics of a great independent contractor who can file accurate and complete reports while doing so with minimal disruption to the dealership being assessed.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Automotive II – Service and After Sales
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
This certification provides the tools and information needed in order to succeed as an independent contractor assessing automotive sales associates. Specifically, what this course does is give you a base-line understanding of automotive sales mystery shops, why these are important to automotive clients and the characteristics of a great independent contractor who can file accurate and complete reports while doing so with minimal disruption to the dealership being assessed. This course covers more “regular” automotive sales mystery shops. There are some shops that require use of a lease vehicle or recruiting independent contractors who may have mechanical issues with their vehicles; however, this course does not cover these scenarios.

You must complete the core courses and Automotive I before taking this course.

Banking & Financial Institutions I
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
Financial Institutions, large and small, domestic and international, rely heavily on mystery shoppers to maintain a high level of sales and service standards, as well as to ensure strict governmental compliance. This course reviews the basic types of shops that many large-scale and regional/community banks often contract for, as well as the types of skill sets necessary to be successful at these shops, which tend to be some of the most lucrative paying in the industry.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Brand Standards Auditing
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
Much the same as a “reveal shop”, brand auditing is somewhat similar, except that the auditor will announce upfront that he or she is there to conduct an inspection of the store’s compliance with the mandatory brand standards which the franchisor and/or corporate office are expecting to be in place. This course gives an overview of the industry, the requirements needed to be a successful auditor, and the paths to find auditing work.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

 

Casinos
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
This course provides a baseline understanding of how to conduct casino mystery shops, what management and ownership are looking for in the shop experience, and the characteristics of a great evaluator who can file accurate and complete reports while doing so with minimal disruption to the business. Casino shops typically measure many aspects of the property beyond the gaming area. The successful completion of this course will earn you a certification in Casinos which will identify you to companies as a professional who has learned the intricacies of these shops.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Hotel and Resort I Mystery Shop
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
Hotel and Resort I certification provides the tools and information needed in order to succeed as an independent contractor assessing hotel and resort entities. Specifically, the course gives a base-line understanding of hotel and resort mystery shops, why these are important to these types of clients and the characteristics of a great independent contractor who can file accurate and complete reports while doing so with minimal disruption.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Introduction to Retail Service Providers and Merchandising
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Luxury Mystery Shopping
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
How an evaluator accurately observes, records, and ultimately transmits information to the client via the Mystery Shopping Service Provider is critically important to the success of each research program. The purpose of this course is to give you the tools and information needed to succeed as an evaluator assessing companies in the luxury space. 

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Property Management I
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
This course gives you the tools and information needed in order to succeed as a Property Management independent contractor. How an independent contractor accurately observes, records and ultimately transmits information to the client via the Service Provider is critically important to the success of each research program. Property Management independent contractors have become more popular in the last ten years or so; it is a highly competitive market and companies insist on well-trained and superior customer service.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Retail I
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
This course is a general overview of the retail industry and includes reviews of history, terminology and common shop types in their retail mystery shop reports. Since your observations can impact bonuses, new operating procedures, even an employee’s tenure with the location shopped, you must be sure you get all the required observations accurately observed and recorded. This covers Understanding Retail, Common Retail Shop Steps, Terms, and Definitions and Customer Service Focused Retail.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Retail II
Plus: $35 | Subscriber: $45
Go deeper into the realm of Retail Auditing and Merchandising and how to produce the best work with this continuation of the Retail Certification course. This course gives you a baseline understanding of retail auditing, why retail audits are important to the client and the characteristics of a great retail auditor who can file accurate and complete reports while doing so with minimal disruption to the business being audited.

You must complete the core courses and Retail I before taking this course.

Retail III
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45
Go deeper into the realm of Retail Auditing and Merchandising and how to produce the best work with this continuation of the Retail Certification course. This course will provide the tools and information to succeed as an independent contractor in assessing sales staff performance and compliance standards in a retail setting on behalf of manufacturers.

You must complete the core courses, Retail I, and Retail II before taking this course.

Telephone & Online
Plus: $35 | 
Subscriber: $45

This certification will provide you with hints and tips on how to correctly conduct Telephone and Online Mystery shops and provide good quality feedback to MSPs and their clients. You may well think you don’t need this one, however, making a telephone call and purchasing, or inquiring, online is not as easy as it might seem from an objective, well-prepared evaluator point of view.

More and more companies are conducting inquiries via Telephone or Online shops, plus many onsite shops may contain a Telephone or Online element as well these days as Omnichannel shopping becomes more and more important.

You must complete the core courses before taking this course.

Video Shopping I
Plus: $75 | Subscriber: $85
This course covers the basics of conducting hidden video mystery shops, particularly in the industries of new homes, multi-family (apartment) homes, automotive and education. This introductory course covers a basic overview of how video works, client expectations during a video shop, camera positioning, common errors and the laws surrounding the recording and use of hidden video. The prerequisites for completing the Core Courses which are typically required before enrolling in this course are temporarily waived at this time.

Video Shopping II
Plus: $75 | Subscriber: $85
This course is a practical hands-on lab in which students role-play and experiment with hidden video equipment in order to master the use of and receive feedback on, their demonstrated handling of the equipment. Students must submit a sample video shop in order to become MSPA Americas Video Shopping II certified. Students are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they have it, but it is not a requirement of the courses. Due to the nature of the instruction, this course is only offered on-site at ShopperFest and other MSPA live training sessions. Prerequisite: Video Shopping I

This course is available each year at ShopperFest and sometimes throughout the year in major cities. Notice of upcoming events will be sent to your email address on file and to all certified Video I independent contractors.