Professional Organizers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

There are no formal minimum educational requirements to become a professional organizer. However, a high school diploma is required to qualify for Certified Professional Organizer credential offered through the National Association of Professional Organizers. High school courses in English and business will be helpful for a future career as a professional organizer.

Postsecondary Education

While there is no requirement for postsecondary education, many professional organizers seek degrees in design or related fields. For those wishing to pursue a role as a professional organizer working with the chronically disorganized, individuals should seek secondary education or degrees in social work, psychology, or other fields related to mental health issues. As most professional organizers are self-employed, course work related to business is recommended.

Other Education and Training 

NAPO sponsors educational programs for new and experienced professional organizers, known as the NAPO University. The NAPO University offers live webinars, on-demand courses, and conference recordings. ICD likewise offers live and prerecorded subject specific classes as a component of the ICD Certification program which are available to those who don’t pursue certification. With the increased interest in professional organizing as a career, a number of private educational programs are now offered as part of interior design and decorating programs, as well as by those already established in business in the field. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

There are no licensing requirements for professional organizers. Likewise, certification is not necessary, but the Certified Professional Organizer credential provides credibility and a way to document advanced skills, knowledge, and experience. Certification is available from the National Association of Professional Organizers; this certification is granted to those organizers who have 1,500 or more paid hours (in a three year period) and have passed the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers (BCPO®) examination. Re-certification is required every three years. NAPO also offers specialty certifications in household management, life transitions, residential organizing, and workplace productivity.

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) provides five levels of certificates and certification ranging from a Foundation Certificate in Chronic Disorganization to specialized certificates focusing on aging, hoarding, attention deficit disorder, and chronic disorganization, to a Certified Professional Organizer—Chronic Disorganization Certification. Their offerings also include a Certificate of Study in Time Management and Productivity. ICD Certification requires membership in the ICD, as well as the completion of a series of tele-classes and exams.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

While no formal experience is required, professional organizers will benefit from on the job training and a minimum of one to three years of experience

The most important quality of a successful professional organizer is a passion for organization and order. Organizers should enjoy working with people and have patience in assisting those who require their services. In this field, neatness counts, but so does the ability to understand the needs and wishes of diverse clients, some with chronic disorganization issues. Good communication skills are critical. Attention to detail can make the difference between a good organizer and a great one. A flair for design and decorating is a plus.  

Many professional organizers are “hands-on” in installing organizational systems such as shelving, closet storage, etc., and in those instances they need to have skills and strength to do such installations. Professional organizers need to be familiar with different organizational products on the market, such as paper or digital filing systems, garage, kitchen or closet wall systems, and other useful materials.  

Most professional organizers agree that with more experience they get more jobs, have assignments with increased complexity, and can command a greater hourly rate and overall income. As most professional organizers are self-employed, it is essential that individuals who wish to have a career as a professional organizer are business oriented, with skills in areas such as accounting, bookkeeping, advertising, sales, promotion, billing, and purchasing.