OPI Certification Process

Frequently Asked Questions

OPI Tester Certification Header

The following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is updated a few times a year. The categories in which people tend to have questions include:

  • Certification Workshop information
  • Certification Requirements & Timelines
  • The Personal OPI Requirement
  • Certification and Recertification Timelines
  • The Certification Practice Round
  • Language Testing International – Employment as an Official ACTFL OPI Tester
  • ACTFL Tester Training Sites
  • Should I register for the Full Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Assessment Workshop or for the Modified Oral Proficiency Interview (MOPI) Assessment Workshop?
    • The Full OPI Assessment workshop is appropriate for all educators. If you primarily teach and test students at the Novice and Intermediate levels, the MOPI Workshop format can also meet your needs.
  • Can I register for an ACTFL OPI or MOPI Workshop online?
    • Yes. ACTFL offers a range of in person and online workshops throughout the year. You can find more information here.
  • What is included in the workshop registration fee?
    • The workshop registration fee includes workshop attendance, full participation in all workshop activities, and workshop materials. The fee does not include travel, housing or meal expenses nor does it include the certification application fee.
  • What form of payment does ACTFL accept for workshop registration fees?
    • ACTFL accepts personal checks, institutional checks and purchase orders, VISA, and Mastercard.
  • What should I do if no language-specific section is available in my language of specialization?
    • If your language of specialization isn't offered you would need to enroll in the Mixed Languages offering. The course is presented in English, but there are opportunities to do activities in your language.
  • Is it necessary to be an ACTFL member in order to attend an OPI or MOPI Workshop?
    • No, membership is not required for workshop attendance. However, reduced registration fees are available to ACTFL members. It is possible to become an ACTFL member and to register for a workshop at the reduced fee at the same time.
  • My colleagues and I are unable to travel to attend an ACTFL sponsored workshop. Is it possible to hold an OPI or MOPI workshop at my institution?
    • Yes. ACTFL arranges on-site ACTFL workshops at individual schools. For more information, contact workshops@actfl.org
  • What is the workshop format?
    • Attendees meet each day for large group presentations followed by language-specific break-out sections of ten participants with one trainer. The majority of the day is devoted to hands-on activities including: a) observation of demonstration interviews; b) rating practice; c) individual practice testing; and c) group and trainer critique and feedback.
  • What are my options following the workshop?
    • Workshop participants who wish to pursue ACTFL OPI Tester Certification may apply to the program to be able to provide advisory OPI ratings within their institution after certification has been achieved.
  • What are the pre-requisites for certification?
    • In order to apply to become an ACTFL OPI Tester, you must meet the following 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.
  • Who are the trainers?
    • ACTFL OPI trainers are highly qualified language faculty and educators who are nationally recognized experts in the area of oral proficiency assessment. OPI trainers are certified by ACTFL.
  • How long does it take to become certified?
    • The maximum amount of time to complete certification is one calendar year from the completion of workshop training. There is no minimum amount of time required to complete the certification process. The sooner one completes all the requirements, the shorter the certification process. A motivated candidate can obtain the certification within six months.
  • How long is ACTFL tester certification valid?
    • OPI Testers are certified for four years, after which time all testers must recertify to maintain their certification.
  • What are some of the benefits of becoming an ACTFL certified OPI Tester?
    • ACTFL certified Testers are a critical resource to their institutions in the areas of language assessment, curriculum, and instructional practices. Certification as an ACTFL OPI Tester is recognition that an individual understands and can apply the principles and concepts of proficiency testing with consistency and reliability.

      Certified ACTFL Testers are authorized to conduct OPIs and assign advisory ratings within their own academic institutions. They may also participate in the official ACTFL Testing Program through LTI, the ACTFL Testing Office.
  • I’m sending you a link to my personal OPI results. Can you access it at the link LTI provided me?
    • https://tms.languagetesting.com/CandidateSite/individualTestTracker.aspx
      No. Please note that ACTFL does not have access to your personal OPI result. The link will only work for you. Once the personal OPI test is completed, you will receive a message by email (as below example), with your own specific username and password in order to access the result.

      Dear XXXX,
      The rating for the language assessment you took on xx/xx/xx is now available.
      Click on the link below to view the rating and print a certificate.
      Username: xxxxx
      Password: xxxxx
      Language Testing International, Inc.
      The ACTFL Testing Office
      800-486-8444 extension 0
      (Outside the US: 914-963-7110 extension 0)

      Because the personal OPI link is specific to you, ACTFL does not have access to it. You are provided with a username and password from LTI which you can use to access the link. You should download your certificate and forward it to ACTFL via email.
  • I did my personal interview a couple weeks ago, but I haven't got any feedback.
    • As mentioned above, ACTFL does not have access to your results. If, however, you did not get an email from LTI, please write to them at support@languagetesting.com
  • Here is my application form to schedule test with LTI. Please schedule it for me.
  • My personal OPI score is S (Superior). Can I now start testing?
    • You must complete your entire certification process (all four certification phases) and obtain your certificate before you start testing.
  • I would like to retest for the OPI to see if I can achieve ‘superior’. Am I supposed to pay $139 or $100? Could you please let me know what to do to continue?
    • ACTFL must approve the retest, and if granted, you are responsible for any fees associated with retesting through LTI.
  • I assumed that working with LTI would keep my certification valid.
    • Testing with LTI does not keep your certificate valid. In addition to working with LTI you must also attend norming events and your record with LTI must be consistent.
  • I already took an OPI test in 2009, can I still use it for my OPI certification?
    • Personal OPI results are valid for 2 years. Unfortunately, you cannot use a personal OPI that was done in 2009 for this certification program. To move ahead with your certification program, you need to schedule a new OPI test.
  • I took a workshop three years ago and I signed up for the OPI certification process, but I never finished. I would like to resume now. How can I do that?
    • The certification process should be completed within one calendar year. If you took the workshop less than 2 years ago, then you are eligible to take an online refresher course rather than retaking the full workshop. If more than 2 years have passed since the time you completed your workshop, you will need to retake the workshop and start the certification process again.
  • I have signed up online for my OPI certification. I made the payment and sent in my Resume. It has been 2 weeks. I have not heard back from ACTFL. Have you received my payment? Is there something wrong?
    • We handle hundreds of applications every week so please be patient. Also, please note that should there be a delay in processing we will be sure to extend your application and certification deadlines to accommodate that delay.
  • I am doing the official practice round now, but I cannot find a way to submit the grids for the evaluation. Would you be kind enough to let me know what I should do?
    • In the practice round, rating grids are not required. The rating grid sheet is provided to you for practice purposes only. You will need to submit rating grids in Phases 3 and 4.
  • Can I request an extension of the 45 days that is given to me at start of the practice round?
    • The 45-day deadline is only a suggestion. We do recommend that you stick to the order listed in the timeline (below) so as not to face delays later in the process. Certification Process should be completed within one year from admission to the program. Trainees may progress through Certification activities faster than suggested timeline provided below:
      1. Complete OPI or Modified OPI (MOPI) Assessment training workshop
      2. Apply for OPI Tester Certification within 30 days of completing workshop
      3. Complete Personal OPI and Rating Activity within 45 days of notification that application has been processed
      4. Complete Guided Interviews within 45 days of passing Rating Activity
      5. Conduct and submit Independent Interviews within 75 days of completing Guided Interviews. Trainee will receive Feedback on interviews within additional 60 days.
      6. Conduct and submit Certification Interviews within 60 days of completing Independent Interviews. Results of Evaluation will be returned to Trainee within 60 additional days.
  • I sent an application to Language Testing (LTI) to schedule a test. I have not heard from them. It has been 2 weeks. What should I do?
  • I have prepared my interview recordings with OPI Rating grids and Certification Interviews Submission Form. Can you please send me the instructions on how to email the materials?
    • Instructions are sent to you in the enrollment email and are can be found here.