A certification program has been designed and field tested in Latin America that assesses individual professionals against six competencies defined as central to the effective practice of the ecosystem approach. The program promotes high standards of competence, professional growth, and ethical conduct. It is designed for both young professionals at an early stage in their careers and senior practitioners with wide experience. The program offers additional benefits through opportunities for dialogue among peers, analysis of experience in a diversity of settings, and networking. The first application of the program has resulted in the certification of eight senior and five associate coastal managers from eleven nations. This certification complements the certification for managers of marine protected areas operating in the Western Indian Ocean discussed in a companion article in this special issue.