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The purpose of this Soapmaker certification program is to encourage and promote the highest standards among handcrafted soap makers who are members of the HSMG by: a) Providing a criteria by which HSMG members can measure their knowledge and expertise of soapmaking. b) Creating a centralized repository where members engaged in the profession of Handcrafted Soapmaking may access industry-standard information and authenticated education about soapmaking processes and procedures. c) Providing a communication venue for members to share their expertise related to the production, marketing and advertising for their soap products. The HSMG Certification program benefits the handcrafted soapmaking industry as a whole by establishing an industry-wide standard of excellence that will endure and extend to all soapmakers.
Participants in the Certification Program will need to have a thorough knowledge of: Techniques for developing soap formulas Safety requirements Techniques for the use and storage of soapmaking ingredients and equipment Labeling requirements Environmental concerns Good manufacturing practices. Education and subsequent testing leading to three levels of certification will be offered for each soapmaking category (or method) (i.e. Cold/Hot Processed Soap and Melt & Pour Soap).
Certification Levels of Cold/Hot Processed Soap and General Requirements:
I. CP/HP Soapmaker: Individuals must comprehend the basic terms used in soapmaking, demonstrate the ability to formulate lye proportions in a given recipe for a minimum of three different oils in a formula by calculating given saponification values (using a SAP chart provided by the HSMG), understand safe handling/storage procedures for soapmaking supplies and equipment, know mandatory labeling of soap per universally standard guidelines, and use good manufacturing practices. II. CP/HP Advanced Soapmaker: Individuals must have achieved the CP/HP Soapmaker certification and be able to demonstrate a higher level of knowledge of the chemistry and terms used in soapmaking by showing competency in formulating, testing and evaluating their product; demonstrating their ability to not only diagnose but fix typical problems in the soap pot and having a general knowledge of common additives/colorants and their safe usage. The CP/HP Advanced Soapmaker will be specifically required to formulate, make and submit a recipe and bar of soap based on specific oils and guidelines as set forth by the committee for evaluation.
General Plan of the HSMG Certification Committee
III. CP/HP Master Soapmaker: To be certified at this level, a soapmaker must have achieved the level of CP/HP Advanced Soapmaker; prove to have an even higher level of knowledge of the chemistry and terms used in soapmaking and the ability to use that knowledge in formulating, testing and evaluating their soap. They will also be required to have an advanced understanding of the methods employed in all areas of soap making including mass-produced soaps as well as the ability to successfully produce both potassium and sodium based soaps and/or a combination of the two. To achieve the CP/HP Master Soapmaker level, the soapmaker will be specifically required to submit, prior to taking the exam, a recipe and sample of soap formulated and created utilizing a choice of ingredients as specified by the Certification Committee for evaluation.
Certification Levels of Melt & Pour Soap and General Requirements:
I. MP Soapmaker: Individuals must have a basic knowledge of making Melt and Pour soap using at least three different additives to the base, understand safe handling/storage procedures for soapmaking supplies and equipment, know mandatory labeling of soap per universally standard guidelines and use good manufacturing practices. II. MP Advanced Soapmaker: Individuals must have achieved the MP Soapmaker certification and demonstrate a higher level of knowledge of the chemistry and terms used in soapmaking by showing competency in formulating, testing and evaluating their product; demonstrating their ability to not only diagnose but fix typical problems in the MP and have a broad knowledge of common additives/colorants and their safe usage. The MP Advanced Soapmaker will be specifically required to 1) formulate the addition of a minimum of three different additives into a standard base; and 2) Produce at least three different bars of soap displaying the soapmaker’s expertise of a) Embedding object(s) into soap; b) Making multi-layered bar using at least three different colors; c) Use at least 2 different botanicals (herbs/additives) to change the texture of the soap base using the guidelines as set forth by the committee for evaluation. III. MP Master Soapmaker: To be certified at this level, a soapmaker must have achieved the level of MP Advanced Soapmaker; prove to have an even higher level of knowledge of the chemistry and terms used in soapmaking and the ability to use that knowledge in formulating, testing and evaluating their soap. They will also be required to have an advanced understanding of the methods employed in all areas of MP soap making including producing creative, custom soaps based upon unique demand/specifications. To achieve the MP Master Soapmaker level, the soapmaker will be specifically required to submit, prior to taking the exam, a recipe and sample of soap formulated and created utilizing a choice of ingredients as specified by the Certification Committee for evaluation.
Upon approval of the overall plan by the general membership, the Certification Committee will a) Appoint sub-committees to establish the criteria and test questions for each level of mastery of the following subject matter beginning with the level of Soapmaker. Forumulating Techniques Safety & Handling/Environmental Labeling Requirements Good Manufacturing Practices Melt & Pour
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General Plan of the HSMG Certification Committee
Each sub-committee will be headed by a member of the Certification Committee which will henceforth be referred to as the Certification Steering Committee. The Certification Steering Committee’s purpose will be to oversee the overall direction and implementation of the Certification program and will be responsible for approving all sub-committee work before being presented to the HSMG Board of Directors. b) Establish web based resources and practice tests. c) For CP/HP, create a saponification chart to be distributed with appropriate exam packet for examinees.
The Certification Committee will formulate a list of test questions for each category and level of Certification and provide free practice tests via the HSMG Website for members to download and use prior to taking the Certification Exam at each category/level. Members may download as many practice tests as they like. Certification Exams will be given during the Annual Conference; however proctor testing will be available to those individuals who are unable to attend the Annual Conference. Proctor Testing: An individual may choose to use a proctor to take the Certification Exam. A proctor is an individual who agrees to receive the exam from the HSMG, administer them in an approved environment and return them to the HSMG. The proctor must verify that the individual completed the exam according to the specific directions of the HSMG. Examples of personnel who may be eligible to serve as proctors are: College or university personnel such as deans, department chairs, professors, librarians, or testing center personnel. Public or private school personnel such as superintendents, principals, guidance counselors, teachers. Other personnel such as civil service examiners, justice of the peace, public librarians or Sylvan Learning Center personnel. Friends, family and associates, regardless of their position are not allowed to act as proctors. To take a Certification Exam using a proctor, an individual must submit, thirty days before the scheduled exam date, an application as provided by the HSMG for approval of their designated proctor. The HSMG may approve or disapprove this proposal based upon the HSMG’s assessment of this proposal’s information. The member and proctor will be advised within 10 days of the scheduled test date of their decision. Any fees incurred by using a proctor are the sole responsibility of the member requesting the service. Once approved, the HSMG will provide a written Certification Exam along with any instructions for overseeing the exam for the proctor to administer to the member on the scheduled exam date. After completion of the exam, the proctor will mail, along with any other paper used by the member, the completed exam as per instructions provided to the proctor by the HSMG.
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General Plan of the HSMG Certification Committee
Exam Results: The President will appoint, subject to the approval of the board of directors, an official “exam grader” of all Certification Exams. The “exam grader” will be supplied with all test keys and full instructions on policy and procedure for grading and reporting test scores. A minimum score of 85% must be achieved in order to pass the exam, with notice to be given in the form of pass or fail. Results for “Pass” will be published on the HSMG Website. Results for “Fail” will be sent privately to members who did not attain a passing score. Members may take any Certification Exams as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score, however, the exam fee must be paid each time the exam is taken. A fee will be charged for taking the Certification Exam to cover the costs of administering the Certification Program. The fee will be set by the board of directors of the HSMG. Fee is to be paid prior to taking the exam. Certification Exam fees are non-refundable in event of failure, so members are encouraged to take full advantage of the free practice tests.
All exam questions will come from the Certification Committee based on literature selected by the Committee. The Certification Committee will provide a list (via the HSMG Website) of recommended reading for each level of certification and in the event that conflicting information is published, the committee will make/publish a determination as to the “preferred” method/approach. In some cases, information required for higher levels of certification may not be readily available; the Committee may then recommend/submit pertinent information in the form of articles for inclusion in the Quarterly Journal and on the HSMG Website.
Non U.S. Members.
The Certification Committee feels the directive of the HSMG is to develop and test the skill of the soapmaker rather than the regulations of any government or entity, therefore the Certification Committee will develop universal tests suitable for all HSMG soapmakers, regardless of where they reside. The Certification Committee will research and find commonality among all labeling requirements and when appropriate, include general information regarding export/import regulations.
Timeline for Implementation
October 1, 2007 April 1, 2008 Conference 2008 October 1, 2008 Conference 2009 Soapmaker Certification ready to implement Advanced Soapmaker Certification ready to implement Soapmaker and Advanced Soapmaker testing available on subsequent days. Master Soapmaker Certification ready to implement All levels of Certification testing available on subsequent days.
Soapmaker: $25.00 Advanced Soapmaker $50.00 Master Soapmaker $75.00
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