Accessible Document Specialist

About ADS
Chart Your Path To Certification
Prepare for ADS Exam
Maintaining ADS Certification

IAAP ADS Digital Badge

About the Accessible Document Specialist (ADS) Credential

The IAAP Accessible Document Specialist (ADS) credential is intended for accessibility professionals who have the ability to create accessible electronic documents and remediate inacccessible electronic documents. For the purposes of the IAAP ADS, electronic documents may be created in authoring tools that are word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, or desktop publishing programs. Accessible document authoring and remediation processes should follow published technical guidelines and best practices. The ADS credential represents an ability to express at a minimum an intermediate level of experience designing, evaluating, and remediating accessible documents. Awareness of how to properly guide and consult others for process, workflow, and policy development for accessible documents is also expected of the minimally qualified candidate.

The technical-level credential is exam is not intended for beginners or those without regular hands-on experience in authoring or remediating accessible documents across formats. Knowledge of automated processes alone will not provide the background necessary to successfully achieve the ADS credential. Hands-on experience and knowledge of authoring and remediating documents across platforms, as well as understanding the contextual implications for end users of assistive technology, are all required.

Who should take the ADS Exam?

The ADS is the ideal credential for accessibility practitioners and specialists with a minimum 1-2 years' experience who function in one of many team roles related to accessible document authoring, remediation, training, policy, and advocacy of accessible document solutions. The ADS is ideal for people who author, remediate, evaluate, or manage accessible document projects, and services. The ADS is created around the ability to recognize and identify issues in accessible document structure, ability to explain what is missing or incorrect, understand accessibility and usability evaluation, along with contextual understanding of the impact on readers, the ultimate the end-user. This exam is not intended for beginners or those without regular hands-on experience or exposure to these elements of document accessibility.

Knowledge of automated document remediation tools and accessibility checkers alone will not provide the background necessary to successfully achieve the ADS credential. Hands-on experience and knowledge of structural elements for accessible documents, PDF/UA, The Matterhorn Protocol, and WCAG 2.1 standards, and contextual implications for end users of electronic documents are all required. Please review the ADS Content Outline and ADS Body of Knowledge (opens a PDF) to ensure that you have experience in most of the ADS Content Outline.

ADS Exam candidates may be in or aspire to reach these roles their career:

  • Accessibility professionals in the areas of higher education, marketing and communications, library science, graphic design, and whose job requires in-depth knowledge of ICT accessibility standards and regulations.
  • Document remediation teams
  • Accessible media service providers
  • Higher education and government digital media managers
  • User experience designers and testers
  • Technical quality assurance (QA) professionals, QA teams and evaluators
  • Accessibility and compliance teams and managers
  • Web content managers and administrators
  • Project, program, and senior ICT managers overseeing initiatives or organizations that focus on digital media accessibility as a key component of their work.

Chart Your Path To Certification

Learn about each certification program, exam locations, exam sessions and applications, payment options and more starting with our Guide To Certification.

Prepare for ADS Exam

IAAP has compiled a list of resources and materials to help you prepare for the ADS exam. Visit our Prepare for ADS page to access all exam preparation resources. 

Maintaining ADS Certification

The ADS Certification is valid for three years and can be renewed by earning 35 Continuing Accessibility Education Credits (CAECs).

ADS Frequently Asked Questions

IAAP has pulled a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding the ADS exam, application process, fees, and other inquiries.  If you can not find the answer to your question on our Certification Guide page, or our Prepare for ADS page, or ADS FAQ page, please email or call +1-678-426-7645 with any questions on the certification process.



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