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ISA Certification Programs Can Position Employees and Employers to Succeed

This post is authored by Terrence G. Ives, President of ISA 2013.

In today’s tough economy, many employees are searching for ways they can stand out from the crowd, both strengthening their hold on their current jobs and boosting their prospects for career advancement. On the other side of the coin, employers—facing tight hiring budgets and fierce marketplace competition—are expecting that workers have the proven experience and skills to safely and effectively perform required job responsibilities.

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Amid this backdrop, certification programs play a pivotal role in meeting the needs and objectives of both workers and the companies that employ them. Certification provides a formal recognition of individuals who have demonstrated proficiency within, and comprehension of, a specialized body of knowledge at a particular point in time. Generally, qualification criteria for such programs include specific requirements of education, experience, and examination. ISA offers two outstanding certification programs: the Certified Control Systems Technician® (CCST®) program—offered in three levels with increasing qualification requirements—and the Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) program.

CCSTs calibrate, document, troubleshoot, and repair/replace instrumentation for systems that measure and control level, temperature, pressure, flow, and other process variables. CAPs are responsible for the direction, definition, design, development/application, deployment, documentation, and support of systems, software, and equipment used in control systems, manufacturing information systems, systems integration, and operational consulting. Both programs are increasing in popularity. In 2012, new applications received for CAP were 28 percent higher than in 2011, and the highest level recorded since the establishment of the program. In the CCST program, new applications received in 2012 were 10 percent higher than in 2011. It’s evident that automation and control professionals and technicians and their employers are recognizing the value and benefits of these programs. For employees, CAP and CCST certification:

  • Distinguishes individual achievement, knowledge, and experience
  • Provides third-party endorsement of professional skills and knowledge
  • Documents professional credibility and provides recognized proof of ability
  • Improves career options and opportunities
  • Encourages life-long learning and professional development
  • Enriches self-image and self-confidence

For employers, CAP and CCST certification:

  • Delivers documented evidence of employee qualification and capabilities
  • Provides an unbiased employee assessment tool for advancement and hiring decisions
  • Supports development of a better-trained and experienced workforce
  • Encourages employees to attain high standards and remain on the cutting edge
  • Promotes safe, efficient, and high-quality work practices
  • Enhances company image both internally and externally

Take note of important CCST and CAP application deadlines in May 2013 If you are interested in taking a CCST (Level I, II, or III) or CAP exam, please be aware of some upcoming application deadlines and exam changes. In regard to the CCST program, all levels of the CCST exam will be changing July 2013 to reflect updates to the content domains and test requirements as outlined by a recent CCST job task analysis study. The last day to pass a current version of a CCST exam is 30 June 2013. To sit for the current versions of the CCST Level I, II, or III exam, you must submit your application by Wednesday, 15 May 2013, and if approved, take the exam before the 30 June 2013 deadline. After the May application deadline date, all applications received, regardless of the level, will be for the new versions of the CCST exams. Visit ISA’s CCST web page for more details. If you’re planning to apply for the CAP exam, the application deadline for the next CAP exam window (Window 2: 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014) is also Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Visit ISA’s CAP web page to learn more. I encourage all ISA members and all automation and control professionals and technicians to take advantage of these great professional development opportunities. Remember, they are only available through ISA. If you have any questions, please contact ISA customer service at or +1 919-549-8411.

Certified Automation Professional, CAP, Certified Control Systems Technician, and CCST are registered trademarks of ISA.

About the Author
Terrence G. Ives is the third-generation president and owner of Ives Equipment Corporation in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, a process control manufacturing representative and stocking distributor. Terry has been actively involved in ISA leadership for many years. He has held numerous positions at the local and Society level including Society Treasurer, Executive Board Parliamentarian, Finance Committee Chair, Investment Committee Chair, District 2 Vice President, and Philadelphia Section President and Exhibit Chairman. He received a bachelor of science degree in industrial systems engineering from Ohio University.

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