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The FCRA Advanced Certificate: A Primer

There are a host of background screening companies out there for you to choose from. Some have various credentials or accolades, like the FCRA Advanced Certificate. Others don’t.  It’s a forest of choices that make it very difficult to pick an individual tree.  If you are in the market for a partner to help you perform background checks, you might feel a little overwhelmed.

Reviewing a company’s licenses and certifications may be helpful. If you have a few companies in mind, consider reviewing each organization’s credentials. There are many licenses and certificates available to such businesses that will give you some idea of their credibility and respectability.

One of the certificates to consider is the FCRA Advanced Certificate. If you haven’t heard of it, you probably aren’t alone. Luckily, we’re here to help you understand FCRA basics and what this accolade means for you and your search for pre-employment screening.


Before we can talk about a certificate that supports your adherence to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), it’s probably a good idea to take an overview of the FCRA Advanced Certificate itself. Passed in 1970, the FCRA is federal legislation that was intended to protect consumers from inaccuracies and errors in their files with reporting agencies.

The act stipulates that a consumer has the right to know what information has been collected about them by reporting agencies. As a result, this allows them access to one disclosure at no cost every year. If these reports contain inaccuracies or incorrect information, the FCRA Advanced Certificate allows the consumer the right to dispute these matters. Furthermore, it also provides for legal action against reporting agencies that violate the FCRA. Finally, the FCRA limits access to consumer files to only those with a valid need-to-know about the contents of those files. If the information in their records is somehow used against them, it requires that a consumer must be informed.


It is also beneficial to review the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the organization that grants the FCRA Advanced Certificate. The NAPBS, formed in 2003 as a non-profit organization, acts as an advocate for background screeners. They also hold their members to a higher standard.

The stated mission of the NAPBS is “To advance excellence in the screening profession.”

The association has developed accreditation and certification procedures to promote the best of their members. One of those procedures is the reason you have read this far.


The NAPBS developed the FCRA Advanced Certificate Program to acknowledge their members that display particular dedication to complying with the legal and professional standards of the FCRA. The applicant organization must attend a live seminar or participate in six webinars. Ultimately, they must pass a written exam to obtain the FCRA Advanced Certificate. Applicants have two opportunities to pass this exam. If both attempts fail, they must attend the seminar or webinars again. The certificate is good for two years. To renew it, you must pass the exam again by the end of your granted certification period.


If you’re outsourcing your background screening, we salute your decision. This is a wise way to save long-term money and guarantee your legal standing. However, during your search, we recommend that you use the FCRA Advanced Certificate as a benchmark. The NAPBS has done businesses and individuals an excellent service by establishing standards to judge a screening company. For the record, we at CNET Technologies have NAPBS accreditation and hold their FCRA Advanced Certificate. However, while we may not be the right choice for your business, we do hope you respect the standards to which we follow. Learn if we’re what you’re looking for by downloading our free guide to selecting the best pre-employment screening service.

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