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What is a Specialty Certificate?
Congratulations! You’ve earned your CAP, which is a huge accomplishment. But knowing you like we do, you are probably thinking “What can I do next?”

The CAP specialties are not only a great way to earn your required recertification points, but they also are a fantastic way to build on the knowledge you gained earning CAP; they take a deep dive into a specific content area, proving a mastery in that area. IAAP encourages all CAP designees to earn specialty certificates that align with their job duties and/or future career goals.

Earning a specialty certificate is quite different from earning a certification. A certificate is awarded for completion of an educational program to gain knowledge in a specific area; a certification is awarded following an examination which follows rigorous development protocols, is psychometrically validated, and is delivered through a third-party testing service. Credentials require recertification to remain active, whereas specialty certificates do not.

We offer multiple specialty certificates that rotate yearly. Here's a list of all the certificates we have offered to date:
  1. Human Resources (HR)
  2. Meeting and Event Planning (MEP)
  3. Organizational Management (OM)
  4. Project Management (PM)
  5. Records Management (RM)
  6. Technology Applications (TA)

Specialties are offered in two formats: an eight-week online course and in-person trainings. Currently, the Organizational Management (OM) specialty certificate is only offered via online format.

For more information about the OM eight-week online program, please visit our Organizational Management webpage. For more information about our rotating in-person specialties, please visit the CAPstone website.

How to Display Your Specialty Certificates

Historically, specialty certificates have been added to the certification designation of each designee. However, as we add new specialties, signatures and designations can become quite long and cumbersome.

We know that you are proud of the specialties you have earned and the work you put into obtaining them, as you should be. The Certification Administration Committee has set the below policy regarding displaying specialties, effective January 1, 2020, for a streamlined process:

Specialty certificates are not certifications and should be not treated or communicated as such by designees or IAAP regions/branches. Since the specialty certificate program has expanded, IAAP will no longer display earned certificate designations in your IAAP profile designation field or include them on any material or communicators from headquarters or the Foundation. This change supports the integrity of the accredited CAP and aligns with industry standards of credentialing.

If you have a specialty certificate, the following rules/information apply:

Starting January 2020, you will receive a digital badge for each specialty certificate earned as a CAP designee. If you earned a certificate prior to January 2020, digital badges are available upon request.

 Badge ribbons are available to certificate holders during Summit, CAPstone, and Academy for Leadership Development. However, IAAP will not print specialty certificate information on conference badges.

Active CAP designees, and expiring CAP designees within the 30-day grace period, can view their specialty certificates displayed within their personal IAAP Profile and the searchable CAP database. To display certificates within SocialLink, IAAP members are encouraged to create a personalized message footer.

Active CAP designees are welcome to list specialty certificates on resumes, business cards, and social media posts. However, the designee must denote the earning as a certificate. Further, failure to maintain a CAP designation will result in the revocation of all specialty certificates.

Examples of specialty certificates include: Human Resources, Records Management, Technology Applications, and Meeting & Event Planning.

Note: The current designation protocol for non-IAAP websites, business cards, and resumes is to list your certification (CAP) first and any certificate initials in alphabetical order, set off by commas only.

Example - Jane Doe CAP, HR, MEP, OM, PM, RM, TA

However, future iterations of this policy could result in the retirement of this protocol. To keep abreast of any developments, continue to read all emails from IAAP Certification.


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