IAAPA to Launch New Certification Program
IAAPA Certification allows attractions industry professionals to distinguish themselves as highly knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled in the global attractions industry while also demonstrating their commitment to the profession. IAAPA is launching a new certification program, transitioning to an assessment-based certification model to bring the program to more industry members than ever before.
“The previous version of the IAAPA Certification program required members to earn hours by attending events, but the content and information each person consumed was different,” says Reno Deschaine, vice president of professional development at IAAPA. “This new program allows us to be consistent in how we award IAAPA Certification on a global scale to all of our members. We are consistently applying the same set of expectations to everyone who earns the credential.”
In partnership with the IAAPA Global Education Committee, the IAAPA Professional Development Team worked for two years to reevaluate and transform the association’s certification program. Through this new program, attractions industry professionals who wish to obtain an IAAPA Certification are required to fulfill experience and education requirements and pass an exam, rather than attend IAAPA or preapproved-partner events to accumulate credit hours.
“Applicants have to meet a certain threshold in terms of years of experience and level of education in order to be approved into the program,” Deschaine says. “Once we’ve reviewed the application to ensure requirements are met, applicants then have to sit for an examination to prove they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that align with the exam’s content, developed by the IAAPA Global Education Committee.”
The new IAAPA Certification program offers two professional designations: IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive (ICAE) and IAAPA Certified Attractions Professional (ICAP).
“Through ICAP, we want to emphasize that our industry is made up of professionals who represent a variety of areas, including IT, finance, safety, and food and beverage,” Deschaine says.
With the retiring of the previous certification program’s IAAPA Certified Attractions Leader (ICAL) and IAAPA Certified Attractions Manager (ICAM) designations, individuals who had earned the ICAL credential will be granted the ICAE designation, while individuals who had earned the ICAM credential will be granted the ICAP designation.
Exams will be proctored online and offered in various time windows throughout May and September this year. The tests vary depending on the certification credential a member aims to earn. The ICAE exam is completed in one sitting and includes case studies with tools and resources to help answer questions related to the presented scenarios. For the ICAP designation, candidates can choose from two routes for the exam—either taking the entire assessment at once or breaking up the exam’s five domains into separate tests.
“We want to help people who might be apprehensive about a large exam or those who know they have strengths and weaknesses in different domains and want to continue to study them,” Deschaine says. “We will allow them to take a test for each individual domain, one at a time—the micro-credential route. Members earn their ICAP after successfully completing all five micro-exams.”
Upon passing their designated exams, successful candidates earn their certification credentials and are then required to maintain their certification by accumulating professional development Continuing Education Units (CEUs) over a multiyear period. If certified professionals don’t earn the specified number of CEUs, they will lose their designations and have to start the certification process from the beginning.
“Momentum for IAAPA Certification is quicker than it’s ever been, and we’re seeing an upswell of interest from our members,” says Deschaine. “It’s great to see this multiyear project finally come to fruition as a way to make our certification program available to a broader base of IAAPA members.”