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This certification program is designed to help QOL researchers specializing in community indicators projects obtain additional training and become officially certified in the field. The course involves learning five chapters of the course manual. Each of the five chapters (modules) are broken down into learning objectives, core concepts, summary, progress check, and answers to progress check. You can find more details about the course on the course description page along with information about the five modules and a full table of contents of the course manual. The course manual (pdf) will be emailed to you once your application has been reviewed and you are subsequently accepted into the program. Printed copies are available for an extra charge.

This course is taught by Prof. Dr. M. Joseph Sirgy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia, USA). He is widely recognized for his research in community quality of life. When the student has sufficiently prepared, the instructor will email them an exam which must be completed within twenty four hours of its receipt. Students are not required to pass the exam in one try, and are free to request more chances until they master the course material and pass.

Specific guidance about how to study for the exam is available online. Students also are free to contact the instructor with questions related to course materials and the exam.

There is one admission requirements for the certification program: a bachelor's degree in a field related to QOL. On completion of the course, the student is given a certificate. An example of the course certificate is available here. The fee for the certification program is US$700 (discounted to US$600 for ISQOLS members). This includes a PDF version of the course manual and, on successful completion of the certification exam, a course certificate.


  • Community planners 
  • Researchers working in nonprofit organizations  Consultants who want to specialize in community QOL indicators research 
  • Researchers in local government agencies who want to receive additional training in developing indicator systems related to a particular domain such as public health, the environment, etc. 
  • Academic researchers who are interested in developing research and/or teaching expertise in this area

To learn more about the certification program, watch this video overview presented by the course instructor, Dr. Joseph Sirgy.


Admission Requirements

Persons interested in applying for certification (Certified Community Indicators Researcher) must meet the following requirement:

  • At least a bachelor degree in a field related to community indicators research

Certification Program Fees

The fee for this Certification Program is US$700 (discounted to US$600 for ISQOLS members). This includes a PDF version of the course manual and, on completion, a course certificate.

Register for the Course

You may register for the course by printing out the application formbelow: 


and sending the completed form to

International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies
PO Box 118
Gilbert, AZ 85234

In addition to registering for the course, you must send us an official copy of
your academic transcript
. You will have to contact your university and make a request
to send your academic transcripts to the address above.

Student Testimonials:

Patsy Kraeger 

1. What made you decide to pursue the Community Indicators Researcher Certificate?

 PK:     I started to attend the ISQOLS conferences in 2014.   I saw Dr. Sirgy’s presentation about the benefits of the certificate in Seoul, Korea. My research interests focus often on the intersection of public policy and community.  I really felt that I was missing some of the theoretical structures and how to operationalize my work in this area.

2. How would you describe the course experience?

PK: The course experience is one that allows for a person to study at their own pace and then prepare the examination.  In my case, I would say that Dr. Sirgy was very patient with me because of several unexpected delays on my end.  Dr. Sirgy is available for questions. He also checks in to inquire about the process. I really appreciate not only his expertise but him!

3. How long did it take you to complete this certificate program? How many hours per week (on average) did you dedicate to the program? Were you able to balance your normal work/life activities alongside this certificate program?

PK:     Good question. I am probably an outlier on this question. I had two unexpected events that caused me to delay.  I will tell you one unexpected delay was that during a lightning storm, my computer was struck by lightning and having the data retrieved took some time.  Yes, that is a true story! My department lost two faculty members and workload increased. So I am not the best person to ask I will say that it is very important  to plan  to study the manual for  each section as you would for a class- 10/15 hours week on a section after  and then that same or more  for the examination case study per case study. I started and stopped so I had to go back and reread and re-prepare after the above unexpected delays.  So my tip here, do not overpromise completion timelines that you cannot make. I am embarrassed to say that I did this.  Do not start until you are ready or have appropriately carved out enough time to complete. The course is not onerous. Rather, it is a matter of being truly committed in real time to complete.

4. How did this certificate program impact and/or increase your knowledge of your field of study?

PK:     Currently, I am working on a book chapter for the forthcoming Phillips and Trevan Research Handbook for Community Development (Elgar Publishing) writing a case study for a city in the southeastern part of the United States that has a community indicators project.  The course allowed me to ask certain questions to professionals and the academic research partner that I might have missed.  The certificate has allowed me now to write a case study on this southern city’s program looking critically from both a theoretical and indicators perspective but the value of both subjective and objective validation of what the needs of the community actually are. In my case that I am working on for that handbook, I have found that there was no community validation outside of elites (community leaders, government leaders and the like) to see if the selected indicators actually capture what should be measured.

5. How do you feel this certification will enhance your career and/or personal expertise and knowledge?

PK:     It will make me a stronger researcher. It will allow me to develop a research portfolio in this area. 

6. Would you recommend this certificate to others? If yes, why?

PK:     Yes. For all of the reasons stated above. This certificate I believe is especially good for people with five or less years in the field.   Finally, thank you, Dr. Sirgy for the program and helping me stretch myself to be intentional about my learning in this field.

The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS)





P.O. Box 118

Gilbert, AZ 85299

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