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CAP Certification FAQs & Forms
 
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Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The CAP exam is based upon a professionally developed and industry vetted Body of Knowledge (BOK). The Body of Knowledge has topic specific Domains, each with a specific Performance Outcome (PO) and is worth a designated percentage of exam content. Performance outcomes are detailed, measurable goals based on current best practices across a myriad of industries, which commonly employ administrative professionals. They represent the central and most significant information, skills, and goals the candidate should know in order to pass the exam.

The domains are as follows:

  • Organizational Communications (25%)
  • Business Writing and Document Production (20%)
  • Technology and Information Distribution (15%)
  • Office and Records Management (15%)
  • Event and Project Management (12%)
  • Human Resources (8%)
  • Financial Functions (5%)

The percentages represent how much of the exam is dedicated to that particular topic.

Although membership is not required for certification, members receive significant discounts on the application and other materials.

CAP exam $375 members; $560 for nonmember

There are various ways to prepare for the exam, here are a few:

  • CAP Study Guide: print version $129 for members; $229 for nonmembers
  • CAP Preparation SmartBook
    • 3 month subscription $99 members; $150 for nonmembers
    • 6 month subscription $129 members; $209 for nonmembers
    • 12 month subscription $149 members; @239 for nonmembers
  • Study Groups – range from free to $150, these are facilitated by CAP designees.

Earning and maintaining your Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) is a three-step process. First candidates must meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application. Once approved, candidates must sit for and pass the CAP exam. After the credential is earned, designees must maintain it by fulfilling recertification requirements every three years.

Quick Guide to CAP Process:

  1. Register an account with IAAP
  2. Become a member - $150.00 (not required)
  3. Then register for the fall exam $375.00 for IAAP members; nonmembers is the fee is $560.
  4. There are a variety of ways to prepare for the exam, here are just a few:
    • IAAP CAP Study Guide
    • IAAP CAP Prep Smartbook
    • CAP Core Resource Textbooks
  5. You can either study independently or join a study group

With regard to preparation for the CAP exam, there are several ways to prepare, here are just a few:

  • Download the CAP Body of Knowledge (BOK) and take the time to review each domain, performance outcome, and sub-point. Highlight the areas you believe might be weak areas for you and use that information to map out your study plan. Creating a written study plan, no matter what methods of study you use, will help ensure you dedicate the time necessary to feel confident about taking the exam.
  • The CAP Study Guide is a great resource to get started with your studies. The CAP Study Guide was developed by subject-matter experts using the CAP Body of Knowledge. Keep in mind, most candidates need several resources to thoroughly prepare for the exam. Below you will find several links to additional resources as well as the CAP Study Guide.
  • Joining a study group is a great way to supplement your personal studies. You can find information about upcoming study groups using the CAP Study Groups
  • Practice CAP Exam - For those planning to sit for the CAP exam, this practice exam is an additional resource to help your test-taking skills within a timed multiple-choice computerized environment. This exam can be taken on your own computer and contains retired CAP exam questions. The structure of the practice exam is similar to the actual test, and must be completed within three and half hours. Two attempts are included. You can find this via http://learn.iaap-hq.org ‘CAP Preparation”.
  • Not all resource materials are equal. Some materials are designed to help you review content you previously learned while others are designed to teach you new content. For most candidates, a combination of review and teaching materials will be necessary to feel confident about taking the exam.

IAAP has a CAP Study Guide to assist candidates with their preparations for the certification exam, however there is no one source which will completely prepare a candidate. Certification exam assess a candidate’s competencies in a profession which are learned through a combination of education, years’ experience, and preparation on the topics covered in the CAP Body of Knowledge. The Body of Knowledge is the foundation for the exam, listing the Domains and Performance Outcomes assessed. The CAP Program recommends candidates use multiple resources and methods of preparation based on their individual education, background, and learning styles.

Should a CAP candidate not pass the exam, they need to resubmit an application and pay the exam fee of $375 ($560 nonmember) and take it during the next administration window.

Candidates may delay their exam to the next available testing period as long as the request is submitted directly to the CAP Program (certification@iaap-hq.org) at least 14 days before the testing period begins. A rescheduling fee of $150 shall be required.

Reschedule Form

The CAP and PACE are different types of credentials. The Certified Administrative Professional Certification follows the traditional certification model and is in the process of pursuing NCCA accreditation for its program.

Earning and maintaining your Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) is a three-step process. First candidates must meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application. Once approved, candidates must sit for and pass the CAP exam. After the credential is earned, designees must maintain it by fulfilling recertification requirements every three years.

The CAP exam is based upon a professionally developed and industry vetted Body of Knowledge (BOK). The Body of Knowledge has seven domains, each with a specific Performance Outcome (PO) and is worth a designated percentage of exam content. Performance outcomes are detailed, measurable goals based on current best practices across a myriad of industries, which commonly employ administrative professionals. They represent the central and most significant information, skills, and goals the candidate should know in order to pass the exam.

We also use a criterion-referenced standard to score the exam using a psychometrician and subject-matter experts. CAP is recognized by the US Dept of Labor as a credential for Administrative support personnel and is approved for military and government funding.

Please visit this page for a map of IAAP CAP approved testing centers.

You can find out if there is a location close to you by visiting this page, however the exact address will not be available until you schedule your appointment. Scheduling is coordinated through IAAP Headquarters and Assessment Systems, candidates should not contact independent testing centers.

The pass/fail cut-score is determined using a criterion-referenced method. The criterion-referenced standard (cut-score) is shown as a scaled score of 500. An exam score of 500 or higher indicates you have passed the exam.

An exam score of less than 500 indicates you have failed the exam. The same level of knowledge and skill is required to meet the pass point of 500 regardless of the examination taken by the candidate.

Most colleges and universities offer credit for prior learning for assessment-based certifications like CAP. Look for their "transfer of credit" or "credit for prior learning" policies on the web site or course catalog of the college or university you're interested in attending. Their procedures should be clearly stated.

IAAP lists known colleges who have specific credit equivalences for CAP here.

To receive college credit for certifications like Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), institutions many times ask for the certifying body to verify the credential. IAAP is happy to verify your CAP certification in good standing for a college/university. If you are a member of IAAP this service is free, for nonmembers it is $30. Please note: CAP designees must be actively certified (participating in recertification) for us to verify the credential.

CAP verification form

You are not required to be currently employed to sit for the CAP certification exam if you have administrative office experience within the past 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Most credentials outside of college/university degrees are not life-long credentials. They need to be maintained because they indicate a specific area of continued competency, which must be frequently refreshed and expanded. There are many types of credentials ranging from college degrees to certifications. The three most commonly confused are certifications, licenses, and certificates.

  • A certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence. Like most professional certifications, the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) is a voluntary process to recognize competencies and a continued dedication to maintaining these competencies through a recertification process.
  • Similarly, licensure tests an individual’s competence but is a mandatory process by which the government grants time-limited permission for that licensed individual to practice his or her profession.
  • In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program, such as CAP’s Organizational Management (OM), is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether the student achieved those objectives. Documenting continued professional development activities with a process for renewal of the certificate is very rare. Once granted, a process similar to recertification is not required.

Download the CAP Accreditation FAQs