Competent Person, Qualified Person, or Qualified Course Professional

“What kind of Person are you?” A challenge course manager should understand the distinction between what the ACCT standards define as a “Qualified Person”, a “Competent Person”, and a “Qualified Course Professional”. This knowledge can help to inform decisions regarding whether or not someone employed in-house is capable of performing certain tasks at an operation, like training, inspection, and maintenance or if it would be more appropriate to hire a challenge course professional who is.



Competent Person

A person possessing the skills, knowledge, experience, training, and judgment to perform assigned tasks or activities satisfactorily as determined by the employer, industry standards, or authority having jurisdiction. A competent person acts under the supervision of a qualified person.


Qualified Person

An individual who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing; or who, by possession of extensive knowledge, training, and/or experience in the subject field; has successfully demonstrated ability in design, analysis, evaluation, installation, inspection, specification, testing, or training in the subject work, project, or product, to the extent established by this standard.



Qualified Course Professional

The standards then go on to further define specific types¬†of Qualified Persons that work for vendors (i.e. a PVM) in the challenge course industry. A Qualified Course Professional (QCP) is an individual who delivers installation, inspection, training, and/or certification testing services. The QCP may be employed by a course vendor or operate such an organization. There are four types of QCP’s defined by the ACCT standards, and each has its’ own set of minimum qualifications, experience, and training:

  • Certification Trainer/Tester
  • Installer
  • Inspector
  • Designer

A vendor should have a minimum of one Qualified Person who shall act in a lead position for any of the types of services (i.e. training, inspection) being performed. One person may be able to fill multiple, or all of these roles, for a vendor. In addition, a vendor may have any number of Competent Persons who work under the direction, mentorship, and supervision of the Qualified Person. Competent Persons sent in to the field shall conduct services as assigned and as fully fits their training and experience.


While the QCP guidelines refer to employees of vendors, they are commonly also interpreted as an appropriate way for individuals or course operators to evaluate their level of qualifications.