OPI Tester Certification

Certification as an ACTFL OPI Tester acknowledges a tester’s ability to elicit and rate oral proficiency interviews with a high degree of reliability.

ACTFL Certified OPI Testers:

  • Conduct OPIs within their own academic institutions for internal purposes such as placement, graduation requirement, research, and program evaluation.
  • Measure student and program outcomes through Advisory testing.
  • Conduct Advisory testing that can be upgraded to official status through the Academic Upgrade option.
  • Assist with setting program goals and evaluation program outcomes.
  • May conduct official ACTFL testing through the ACTFL’s test administration partner, LTI (if recommended by ACTFL and if there is a testing need).

Need a certificate for licensure?

Many State Departments of Teacher Credentialing require those applying for World Language and Bilingual Teacher Credentialing to demonstrate a specific minimum proficiency level in speaking and writing through an official ACTFL certificate. This requirement is fulfilled by taking the appropriate ACTFL Assessment(s). The ACTFL Tester Certification is not required.


  • Valuable professional learning experience that enriches approaches to world language teaching and learning
  • Access to web-based ACTFL testing resources
  • Invitations to tester meetings and other select tester events
  • Priority recruitment for other ACTFL assessment initiatives

OPI Certification Workshops

The path to OPI certification begins by participating in an OPI Assessment Workshop or Modified OPI Assessment Workshop. Workshops hosted by ACTFL are held multiple times each year online.  You may sign up as an individual for these workshops, or you may have your school, university, district, or consortium arrange to host their own private workshop.

  • For Individuals: ACTFL-hosted virtual workshops are scheduled multiple times throughout the year. View a current list of workshops.
  • For Institutions: ACTFL institutional workshops can be arranged with a school, university, district, or consortium. Learn more.

* Prerequisites: Affiliation with an academic institution as defined by ACTFL, undergraduate degree in a related field, minimal proficiency level of Intermediate High in the language training.

Certification Prerequisites

To apply to become a certified tester or rater, candidates must meet the following general prerequisites:

  • Affiliation with an accredited academic institution as defined by ACTFL*
  • Possession of an undergraduate degree in a related field
  • Minimal proficiency level of Advanced-Mid for Limited Certification and a Superior for Full Certification in the language of training.

*An academic institution is an accredited school, college, or university where foreign languages are taught. The term affiliation with an academic institution is defined as a current faculty and/or staff member who is involved in the instruction or evaluation of language students. Private language companies that offer translation services or language testing do not qualify under ACTFL’s definition of an academic institution. Private for-profit companies also do not qualify.

OPI Certification Types

Candidates can apply for one of two types of OPI certification:

  • Full OPI Certification requires a candidate be able to demonstrate a speaking proficiency of Superior. This certification will allow you to rate interviews officially from Novice to Superior.
  • Limited OPI Certification requires a candidate be able to demonstrate a minimum speaking proficiency of Advanced Mid. This certification will allow you to rate interviews officially at the Novice and Intermediate levels. This certification tends to be most useful to educators who teach in programs with proficiency goals in the novice and intermediate ranges.

Certification Advancement: Those with a limited certification may apply for full certification after one year of being an ACTFL OPI tester in good standing. Candidates must have a speaking proficiency level of Superior on file and must attend an advancement workshop.

OPI Certification Process

After the workshop, tester candidates may apply for certification. In order to be certified as an ACTFL OPI Tester, candidates must successfully complete the following steps:

  • Attend an ACTFL OPI or MOPI Workshop
  • Apply for OPI certification within 60 days (see Submitting an Application section below)
  • Demonstrate one’s language proficiency as evidenced by an official ACTFL OPI in the language of certification (Personal OPI)
  • Prepare and submit recorded interviews and rating rationales
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct ratable samples and to rate reliably
Document 2x
PDF - OPI Certification Process Packet View PDF

View the OPI Tester Certification Information Packet (PDF).

Submitting an Application

Individuals who have completed an OPI Assessment Workshop within the last 60 days may apply for OPI Tester Certification:

1. Online: Access the online certification application. (Login required)

2. By mail or fax: Download the PDF application, complete it, and send to:

ACTFL – OPI Tester Certification
1001 North Fairfax Street
Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: (703) 894-2905

For assistance or questions, attend one of our weekly online office hours, visit the FAQ page or contact us.

Refund Policy

Application fees for ACTFL OPI Tester Certification are non-refundable except under extenuating circumstances that are approved by ACTFL and provided that no portion of the certification process has already been initiated by the applicant. Cancellation notices must be submitted in writing or by email within 45 days from original notice of processing of the application. If approved by ACTFL, a $50.00 processing fee will be deducted from the application fee to issue a refund to the applicant.

OPI Certification Phases

Once your application for certification has been approved, certification activities take place in four phases.

  • Phase 1 - Listen & Rate Activity: Complete listen and rate activities that will allow candidates to compare their ratings to official ACTFL ratings. Candidates must demonstrate an ability to appropriately apply the ACTFL Speaking Proficiency descriptors to the rating process in order to move on to phase 2.
  • Phase 2 - Guided Interviews: Candidates conduct live mentor-guided Oral Proficiency Interviews. This phase is designed to provided candidates with detailed feedback on elicitation techniques. Candidates must be able to apply mentor feedback during phase 3.
  • Phase 3 - Independent Interviews: Candidates conduct OPIs at a variety of proficiency levels and sublevels independently; independent round interviews are submitted for review and feedback by the candidate’s mentor. Candidates must apply mentor feedback during phase 4.
  • Phase 4 - Certification Interviews: Candidates conduct a last round of OPIs at mentor-specified proficiency levels. These OPIs will be evaluated and will determine whether a candidate is recommended for certification.

ACTFL OPI Tester Certification is awarded for a four-year period. At the end of that period, all testers must re-certify.

Personal OPI Scheduling and Results

Prior to application, candidate will be responsible for providing a current proficiency certificate. Candidates have the option to purchase the Personal OPI directly through Language Testing International (LTI) advisory OPI through their institution. If an advisory OPI is obtained initially, the advisory OPI must then be sent to LTI for second-rating and certification via the Candidate Institutional Upgrade program. A copy of your proficiency rating certificate must be attached to your application in order to be accepted into the program.

To obtain a personal OPI certificate, please schedule your assessment through LTI. For instructions on how to purchase an OPI assessment please click here or contact LTI at support@languagetesting.com for assistance.