About IAAP Certification

The Process of Creating a Professional Certification
Goals of the Certification Program
The Structure and Scope of the IAAP Certification Program

IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC)
IAAP Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS)
Nature of the Certification Examination
The Qualifications of the Certification Team


IAAP Announces Launch of Accessibility Certification Program.  Accessibility Certification Program press release.

The Process of Creating a Professional Certification

Professional Testing (IAAP’s exam development partner) outlines the critical steps necessary to develop a valid and reliable examination.

Access the full certification process outline.

Goals of the Certification Program

The IAAP certification program aspires to the following goals for accessibility certification:
  • To define what accessibility professionals are expected to know.
  • To increase the quality and consistency of the work performed by accessibility professionals.
  • To provide accessibility professionals with a credential as evidence of their commitment to the accessibility field, and of their competence within the field.
  • To provide employers, the accessibility community and the public with a metric to measure and assess the accessibility competence of current and/or prospective employees.
  • To provide colleges, universities, and vocational programs with clear educational outcomes and a curriculum outline for teaching accessibility.
  • To strengthen the community of practice among accessibility professionals.

The Structure and Scope of the IAAP Certification Program

The IAAP will offer two levels of certification: a professional level credential, and subsequent technical level credentials.

Professional Level

  • Foundation Level: The Professional level credential is the entry level credential. It is the foundation upon which the Technical level certifications can build, however it is not a pre-requisite for the Technical level exams.
  • Broad and Conceptual: This level covers a broad range of topics within accessibility, and the exam will be rigorous, but the exam questions will be mostly conceptual in nature, rather than technical.

Technical Level

  • Technical Detail: Certifying at the Technical level requires detailed technical knowledge of the domain. For example, accessibility professionals are expected to evaluate the accessibility of existing content or objects according to published technical standards and guidelines, and provide detailed remediation recommendations. They are expected to know and use the relevant technologies, not merely be aware of them.
  • Multiple Technical Level Credentials: The IAAP was conceived as an organization for all accessibility professionals across a wide range of accessibility domains, such as accessibility of the web, software, multimedia, documents, consumer products, industrial design, transportation, architecture and the built environment, etc. The IAAP will develop multiple Technical level certification exams for multiple accessibility domains, depending on market demand.

IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC)

The IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) credential is IAAP's foundational certification, representing broad, cross-disciplinary conceptual knowledge about 1) disabilities, 2) accessibility and universal design, and 3) accessibility-related standards, laws, and management strategies.

Relevant domains for the CPACC credential include the web and other digital technologies, architecture and the built environment, consumer and industrial design, transportation systems, and any domain in which thoughtful design, policy, and management can improve disability access.

The CPACC is the ideal credential for those who manage and support accessibility, but who may not personally design, implement, or evaluate the technical details of accessible solutions. For those who do work at the technical level, IAAP will be working to create domain-specific professional credentials which build on the associate-level credential. The IAAP will add other technical professional certification credentials in other domains in accordance with market and professional demand.

IAAP Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS)

The IAAP Web Accessibility Specialist credential is intended for accessibility professionals who are expected to evaluate the accessibility of existing content or objects according to published technical standards and guidelines, and provide detailed remediation recommendations.  They are expected to know and use the relevant technologies, not merely be aware of them. 

The WAS is the ideal credential for those who personally design, develop, implement, evaluate, or manage the technical details of accessible web solutions. These specialists understand the tools and have the skills and abilities that are needed to incorporate accessibility into information and communications technologies. 

Nature of the Certification Examination

The IAAP wants accessibility professionals – and the employers who hire them – to recognize the value of IAAP credentials as a valid benchmark of a person’s accessibility knowledge and skills. To meet this goal, the IAAP will work closely with accessibility professionals and assessment professionals to design the exams and test their reliability and validity. The IAAP will monitor the outcomes and continually assess the effectiveness of the exams to ensure the trustworthiness of all IAAP credentials.

The Qualifications of the Certification Team

The certification process at IAAP is in good hands with our headquarters and volunteer leadership team. Here are abbreviated biographical sketches of some of the key players:

Paul Bohman, PhD, Chair of the IAAP Certification Committee

Dr. Paul Bohman has been the Chair of the IAAP Certification Committee since its inception and has steered the process through the formative stages, from the initial concepts to the more concrete proposals currently under consideration. He is also Director of Training at Deque Systems, a web accessibility software and consulting company based in the Washington DC area. At Deque he has created the Deque University platform, which is a custom learning management system for teaching web accessibility, and has personally created or overseen the creation of a complete web accessibility curriculum of online self-paced courses. He also travels frequently to provide instructor-led training on web accessibility to clients.

His doctoral dissertation investigated web accessibility in the higher education curriculum in three different countries, and his doctoral studies included extensive training in research design, assessment design and evaluation, statistics, learning and instructional theory, psychology, sociology, and social justice.
Previously Dr. Bohman taught web accessibility at George Mason University, participated in the creation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, and was a founding member of WebAIM with Cyndi Rowland. At WebAIM, Dr. Bohman created a full web accessibility curriculum (at that time based on WCAG 1.0), some of which is still available on the WebAIM site. He also created the WebAIM listserv, which continues to be one of the most active groups on the internet for discussing web accessibility.

Dr. Reed Castle

IAAP’s partners with Professional Testing Inc. an independent testing company that provides assistance with exam development, administration, and scoring. Professional Testing develops, administers, and maintains licensure and certification examination programs. Professional Testing staff guide the exam development activities and have extensive psychometric and test development experience.

Dr. Reed Castle is the leads the exam development activities from Professional Testing. Dr. Castle has over 25 years of experience in psychometrics and exam development and has assisted with development in with a multitude of examinations over his career. In his current capacity, he oversees and provides consultation to a variety of clients by directing psychometric services with respect to credentialing examinations and providing NCCA and ANSI/ISO 17024 accreditation assistance. He successfully evaluates client needs to implement best management practices Dr. Castle has his PhD in Quantitative and Qualitative Methods with an emphasis in Measurement, Statistics, and Research Design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters in Educational and Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Measurement and Statistics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Bachelors in Psychology from University of Missouri-Columbia.

The Certification Committee

The Certification Committee is the governing body of the professional certification program. Their mission is to assure a comprehensive level of knowledge through certification in the accessibility profession. The Certification Committee is responsible for establishing the policies and procedures that guide the professional certification program.

The Certification Committee is comprised of experts from across the accessibility industry. The Committee represents multiple areas of accessibility to ensure that all interests are represented.

The Certification Committee consists of the following individuals:

Paul Bohman, PhD, Director of Training, Deque Systems, Inc. (Chair)
Arlington, Virginia, USA

Katie Haritos Shea, Senior Accessibility Subject Matter Expert (WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA)
Oakton, Virginia, USA

Allen Hoffman, Office of Accessible Systems & Technology, Department of Homeland Security Washington, DC, USA

Jay Cardinali, Worldwide Accessibility Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Orlando, Florida, USA

Ken Nakata, Director, Accessibility Consulting Practice, Cryptzone
Seattle, Washington, USA

Valorie Sundby, Web Accessibility Specialist, Self, Modis - 5280 Solutions
Littleton, Colorado, USA

Nigel Lewis, CEO, AbilityNet
London, United Kingdom

David MacDonald, President, CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Cristopher Broyles, Director of Digital Accessibility/Chief Accessibility Officer, Perkins School for the Blind
Boston, Massachussetts, USA

Christian Vinten-Johansen, IT Manager, Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pennsylvania, USA

Kevin Prince, IT Accessibility Consultant, Access1in5
Christchurch, New Zealand

JoAnne Juett, Integration Specialist, HighPoint Global
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Susan Hewitt, Senior Accessibility Specialist, Deque Systems
Austin, Texas, USA

Beth Crutchfield, Vice President, Policy and Program Services SSB BART Group
Richmond, Virginia, USA

IAAP is a member of ICE (Institute for Credentialing Excellence) 

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, or ICE, is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations and individuals who work in and serve the credentialing industry.  ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community.

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