Update on Accreditation Program: January 2013

As 2013 begins, I am writing to bring you up to date on the accreditation program and the plans we are making for its future within IABC. First of all, let me extend my sincere thanks to the many ABCs who have continued to support the program and our current candidates. You have contributed many hours to assess portfolios and mark exams, and I am grateful for your support.

As you are aware, there have been changes in staff at headquarters, but I want to assure you that the accreditation program is fully supported. Examinations are being held on time, and I want to thank Mary Boyle for all her efforts to support accreditation during the headquarters transition.

A meeting was held on November 10, 2012 in Chicago where an accreditation task force discussed a number of issues and options working with Michael Hamm, CMC, a certification professional. Below is a summary of the meeting. It covers a two-tier certification structure in line with the global certification standard ISO17024 and a new governing body for the program. This plan will be discussed at the IABC International Executive Board meeting on February 7, 2013.

Please send any thoughts and comments regarding the program to recognition@iabc.com. Thank you for continued support of this important work.

Gloria Walker, ABC, FRSA
Chair, IABC Accreditation Committee

Summary of discussion

The vision for the certification program is: “The global standard for communication professionals”

The mission is as follows:

  1. Establish the global standard for communication professionals
  2. Establish and maintain credibility for the global standard
  3. Recognize individuals that meet the global standard

The following principles were proposed:

  • The term certification will be used for all new programs that are in fact certification programs. The current use of the term accreditation sends confusing messages to stakeholders since accreditation usually refers to a process of developing standards and a recognition process for organizations such as colleges or hospitals rather than people.
  • There will be no membership requirements linked to certification programs since this is a tying arrangement that has nothing to do with competency. Also, strong certification programs usually focus on a profession rather than the membership of any single organization.
  • The reengineered certification program will include an independent governing body with a specified relationship to the IABC Executive Board.

Two new levels of certification are proposed – the Certified Communication Professional (CCP) and the Certified Strategic Communication Professional (CSCP).

Certified Communication Professional (CCP)

Eligibility requirements for CCP should include the following:

Eight years of composite communication experience which could be achieved in various ways including the following:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and four years of acceptable communication experience
  • An Associate’s degree or equivalent and six years of acceptable communication experience
  • Eight years of acceptable communication experience Note: Acceptable communication experience must be demonstrated by the applicant and this means experience related to the global standard.
  • Provide an affirmation statement from an employer or client in the case of a consultant. This statement will describe the applicant’s communication experience and skills related to the global standard. Applicants will request this statement, but it must be sent directly from the employer/client to IABC.
  • Provide a current CV/resume.
  • Sign a statement indicating that the applicant has read both the IABC Code of Ethics and the global standard, and that each attests to compliance with the Code of Ethics. It will be noted that violations of the Code of Ethics may be grounds for potential revocation of certification status.
  • Successful completion of a multiple choice computer-based examination taken at proctored test sites.
  • The certification will be good for a three (3) year period. Certificants will have to demonstrate acceptable completion of an approved renewal process that will emphasize professional development activities including formal continuing education and other options such as teaching, writing, research, and acceptable volunteer activities. There will be either an annual maintenance fee or a single multi-year renewal fee.

Certified Strategic Communication Professional (CSCP)

Eligibility requirements for the CSCP would include the following:

  • Maintenance of the CCP (mid-level) certification and three (3) years of experience in a management /leadership role.
  • Demonstration of 15 years composite experience which must include at least three (3) years experience in a management/leadership role.
  • Completion of all of the eligibility requirements for the CCP certification.
  • Attestation of knowledge of and compliance with the IABC Code of Ethics.
  • Successful completion of a multiple choice computer-based examination taken at proctored test sites.
  • The CSCP would have a three (3) year cycle within which certificants would be required to demonstrate successful completion of the renewal requirements and pay the required fees.

Certification Council

The program would require a new independent certification governing body to meet best practices requirements.