Three years ago, on 26. of August 2020 I got Web Accessibility Specialist certified after weeks of waiting. To remain certified by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) one must either get enough Continuing Accessibility Education Credits (CAEC) or re-take the exam. I don’t have the problem of getting enough CAECs because I invest a lot of time in learning more about accessibility on a regular base – from attending webinars, conferences, taking courses and even writing this blog, so I got enough CAECs already last year, so I think that every professional should be able to collect enough CAECs with just minimal investment of their time.
It is required to earn 35 CAECs every 3 years to remain WAS certification, where time investment varies quite a lot, so to say 1 CAEC isn’t 1 hour but varies depending on the activity. There are a lot of pre-approved programs (opens in new window) that can bring CAECs and speaking at conferences, writing blogs and so on brings more points than just attending, which is logical to me.
CAECs make sure we are active
I would invest additional time into learning, teaching, promoting accessibility anyway, but remaining certified is admittedly a good motivation as well. Accessibility is ever-changing, so to be and stay professional we need to update ourselves and I like the idea that certificate requires continuous activities to stay certified.
WCAG 2.2 and current WAS
Some time ago I asked IAAP if we will need to re-take the exam when new versions of WCAG became standards but they responded that for now there are no plans. I suspect that it will be necessary when we get WCAG 3 if not sooner. WCAG 2.2 is not revolutionary, so I guess it’s totally fine, and I am sure professionals will look into new success criteria and update themselves. CAECs help with that as well.
Staying certified isn’t a guarantee but still communicates activity
Certification is certainly not a guarantee on the same level as higher education, but before accessibility gets enough attention in academia we need certification as an indication at least. Keeping certification is for sure also an indication of at least some continuous activity as we need to have enough CAECs to remain certified.
I am aware of the up- and down-sides of certifications of all kinds and am also aware that some accessibility veterans dislike certification like WAS. In some points of views I agree, but I still support certifications more than think they don’t have any value and remain convinced that it helps me to be and to stay certified. It helps a bit to promote accessibility and it helps a bit to keep me updated. It also helped me to know where I needed to learn more about accessibility and until people against certifications offer better alternatives I am totally for the certification, even after agreeing about the less positive aspects.