Continuing Education Units and Certification Fees
The IIABC certification program has been operating since 1986, that is 30 years. The program started with a handful of members obtaining their agriculture irrigation certification, mainly to assist in getting plans approved through a government loan program. It was easy to track and did not take much time for the IIABC to manage. However, times change and the IIABC Certification Program now encompasses many types of design certifications (CID) as well as technician certification (CIT). We are now approaching 1000 certified individuals. How we managed the Certification Program in the past does not work well moving forward.
Many local governments, landscape architects and other clients now put the IIABC standards into their specifications. The HEIS system is another tool that is starting to be used. (See related article in this newsletter). The Certification Board is concerned that while we have many individuals seeking certification, many are not doing much to maintain their credentials once certification has been achieved. This is not sustainable and does not foster credibility when the program is looked at from outsiders. Every other certifying organization has implemented Continuing Education Units (CEU’s). It is the only way to verify that certified individuals make an attempt to keep up with changes in their industry.
Currently, a paper file is kept for all members that are certified by the IIABC. These files are important and they provide the current status and history of the individual’s exams and certifications. To make this system more manageable, all of these files have now been scanned and converted into an electronic version as well. This has been done mainly for security reasons as should the files be damaged or lost there is no backup. It has taken quite an effort to scan the existing files. Moving forward it will also take more effort to scan all new certifications. However, an electronic system is the right way to go.
Tracking certifications has become cumbersome, mainly because we put the onus on the company to provide us with the names of their employees that are certified. Quite often an employee will have left and moved to another company, or leave the industry entirely and the office will not have been able to update the files. The Certification Board would like to put the onus on the individual to maintain their certification status. This will require every certified individual to have an email registered with the IIABC. They will then be able to log into their own account, enter their CEU’s and conduct any other business as required. Further information will be provided in future newsletters on how CEU’s can be earned. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the direction and process at the AGM this fall.
Taking on these new initiatives is not possible in the long term with the current funding obtained from membership dues, course and certification application fees. The Certification Board has therefore asked the Board of Directors to implement an annual certification fee. The Board of Directors has accepted this request and the new fee will be implemented for 2018. The certification fee invoice will be sent to each certified individual by email. Only one fee will need to be paid. For a certified technician, it will be $25.00 annually. For a Certified designer, it will be $50.00 annually. A person holding more than one certification will only pay one fee, for example, if a person holds a CIT and a CID the fee would be $50.00. A company may wish to pay the certification fee for their employees but it will be the employee’s responsibility to make sure that the IIABC office has received the payment.
The Certification Fee will help to offset the following costs being absorbed by the IIABC.
- Scanning all certification files
- Developing and maintaining an online CEU system
- Hiring a temporary staff person to ensure CEU’s have been entered and the Certification Fee has been paid.
The Certification Board hopes that the membership will understand the need to move the program forward and take these steps to ensure the integrity, compliance and professionalism of our program.
Members can certainly contact members of the Certification Board or the Board of Directors on the direction being taken.