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How do I obtain the OCA application form and what is the fee?

how to apply for oca certification

Applications (click here ) and work experience verification forms (click here ) can be obtained online, or an application form and additional information on the OCA can be obtained by contacting the program of Workforce Education and Development at The Pennsylvania State University (814) 863-0804.  It is important that candidates be informed that the Penn State testing center provides services only to those individuals residing in the Penn State service area, or individuals planning to teach in vocational schools located in the Penn State service area. Indiana University of Pennsylvania serves the western region of the Commonwealth; Temple University serves the eastern region. When preparing an application packet, the following guidelines must be followed.

All parts of the application must be completed.

Use additional sheets to provide detailed information, if necessary.

The application must be NOTARIZED.

The fee for the regularly scheduled Spring, Summer and Fall testing programs is $400.   Only certified checks or money orders payable to The Pennsylvania State University will be accepted.   If the applicant desires an individual or emergency evaluation to be conducted at a time other than the scheduled Spring, Summer or Fall cycle, the assessed fee will be $700.   In cases involving a licensure occupation, where a valid license serves in lieu of the examination, the assessed fee for the evaluation of credentials shall be $150.

Candidates MUST notify the test center coordinator of their withdrawal 48 hours before the commencement hour of their assessment.   Accordingly, the testing institution shall refund the candidates' fees, minus any unrecoverable expenditures.   Candidates canceling their attendance to any scheduled written, performance or committee review exam will not have their testing fees refunded unless notification is made to this office 48 hours prior to the scheduled administration.   The exam will not be rescheduled until the next testing cycle.   If cancellation procedures are not followed, rescheduling an exam will require a new OCA application and a second $400 fee.   Rescheduling fees for either portion of an exam not cancelled in advance are as follows:

Performance only -- $300

Written only -- $200


A photocopy of a diploma or an official transcript must verify education.   Official transcripts of all schoolwork must be mailed directly to the testing institution by the issuing agency. Where

the GED examination applies, a photocopy of the GED certificate is acceptable.

Former employers, as well as the candidate's present employer must verify work experience.   Employers must provide information such as dates of employment, hours worked per week, specific duties, responsibilities, and the degree of satisfaction the candidate rendered as an employee.   Documentation to verify employment experience may include copies of past federal income tax reports and/or Social Security verification of employment information.

Applicants who own or operate their own business must provide a minimum of six letters of verification--four from customers, and two from suppliers.   The letters should indicate the extent of the business and the applicant's specific occupational competency with dates, when the service was rendered.   In addition, applicants should submit a brief (one page) NOTARIZED statement describing their business including dates and the specific nature of the work performed.

Examination/Evaluation Dates

Examinations are scheduled three times each year.   Generally, March or April, June or July, and October or November.

The written examination takes approximately three hours to complete, and usually consists of 180-220 multiple-choice questions.   This portion of the examination is usually administered at Penn State University, on a Saturday morning.

The performance examination consists of a series of skill assignments designed as an opportunity for the applicant to exhibit the skills and craftsmanship of the occupation.   This portion of the examination requires from four to five hours to complete, and is administered in a shop/laboratory in a vocational-technical school located within the Penn State service area.

Examination results--Candidates will be notified of the examination results approximately six to eight weeks following the examination date.   Notification of the examination results to any person other than the candidate is prohibited, unless the candidate authorizes release (in writing) of the information.


Candidates failing to satisfactorily complete the OCA may apply for a re-examination.   Retesting is required in only the portion failed, i.e. written test (re-examination fee $200) or performance (re-examination fee $300).   However, candidates will be required to:

Obtain additional hours of wage earning work experience and/or formal study in the occupational area.

Submit a request for a re-examination together with verification of the additional work experience and/or formal study.

Submit an additional fee for the re-examination.

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