Certification Maintenance

Certification Maintenance

Certified Archivists must recertify every five years, either by re-taking the examination or submitting a petition listing their participation in and contributions to the profession.

Helpful Links

Recertification Templates and Forms
Recertification Definitions and Special Instructions
Archival Recertification Credits (ARCs)
Credit List of Common Activities

Option A: Recertification by Examination

Certified Archivists who recertify by examination will take the same examination as applicants who are certifying for the first time. This exam is offered once a year at the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting and concurrently at four geographically dispersed sites and any “Pick Your Site” locations where five or more archivists apply to take the exam. (Learn more about upcoming sites.)

To recertify by examination, fill out the Recertification by Examination Form by the deadline. Recertification applicants pay no exam fees and do not need to submit any documentation in addition to their application.

Recertification by examination has several advantages:

  • Universal credential. Certification by examination allows archivists to remain certified even during periods of unemployment or while otherwise unable to pursue professional development.
  • Minimal fuss. Examination is the fastest and easiest way to recertify. Most persons complete the examination in less than two hours.
  • Minimal paperwork. All Certified Archivists are forever qualified to sit for the examination.
  • Self-evaluation. The certification examination allows you to compare your professional knowledge to a consensus view of current archival standards.

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Option B: Recertification by Petition

The petition option uses a credit system to reward professional experience, continuing education, and contributions to the profession such as attendance at archival meetings, participation in workshops, presentation of papers, and service on archival committees. Petitioners have five full calendar years to earn credits toward their recertification.

The petition for recertification consists of two parts: (1) 2017 Qualifying Experience Document and  (2) The 2017 Recertification by Petition Online Form, summarizing the credits claimed for each section of the petition as well as the Declaration, which you will digitally sign.

Additional tools you may find of use include the Recertification Definitions and Credit Values (ARCs)document, which combines the definitions and explanations of each type of qualifying activity with the number of credits each activity provides, and the 2017 ACA Recertification Petition Worksheet contains spaces for petitioners to compile their information not only for this year but as a tool between certification years. The spreadsheet will automatically tally the credits included in column D. We hope that this will help petitioners as they continue to recertify. However, this spreadsheet is for your use only. Do not upload the spreadsheet with your online form.

Claiming archival recertification credits is done on the honor system; unless a question arises, you do not need to submit evidence of your activities. Applicants must demonstrate a variety of professional activities to qualify for recertification by petition. The petition form should be submitted by the exam deadline in the year recertification is due.

You might find it helpful to review the list of past programs that were pre-approved for archival recertification credits on our ARCs page. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of activities that can be claimed for credits, just those that applied for pre-approval.

Recertification by petition has several advantages:

  • Archival specialization. Recertification by petition allows you to specialize in particular aspects of archival practice without keeping up-to-date on the entire scope of the profession, as you would need to when taking the examination. This is an advantage for people who are relatively settled in a career and ready to specialize.
  • Academic archivists. The scope of activities for which recertification credits may be earned includes writing and research activities particularly well suited for archivists working in an academic setting.
  • Continuing education. Archivists who are able to attend archival workshops and conferences will be given credit for these activities.
  • Professional service. Archivists who volunteer to serve on committees or run for office in local, regional, or national archival organizations can earn credits for their service.

For more detailed information about recertifying by petition, please review the Recertification Definitions and Special Instructions.
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Credit List of Common Activities

Many petitioners often have the same questions about activities and the amount of credit received. This list will expand as needed, so if you still have a question, please notify Tara Z. Laver,  Regent for Certification Maintenance at certificationmaintenance@certifiedarchivists.org.

History Day Judge D.3.c. Professional Service-Contributed Service-Other 2 credits
Item Writing Workshop Volunteer B.3.c. Education – Attendance at archival seminars, workshops, institutes, and webinars as follows 5 credits [because of the prep work involved beforehand]
Proctor for ACA Exam D.3.c. Professional Service-Contributed Service-Other 2 credits
Volunteer at ACA Information Table (2 hours) D.3.c. Professional Service-Contributed Service-Other 1 credit
Webinar (under 2 hours) B.3.e. Education – Attendance at archival seminars, workshops, institutes, and webinars as follows 1 credit
Workshop (2-6 hours) B.3.d. Education – Attendance at archival seminars, workshops, institutes, and webinars as follows 2 credits
Workshop (1 day, more than 6 hours) B.3.c. Education – Attendance at archival seminars, workshops, institutes, and webinars as follows 5 credits
Workshop (2 days) B.3.b . Education – Attendance at archival seminars, workshops, institutes, and webinars as follows 10 credits
Workshop (3 days or more, less than 2 weeks) B.3.a. Education – Attendance at archival seminars, workshops, institutes, and webinars as follows 15 credits

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You must maintain your annual dues, but regardless which certification maintenance option you choose, there is no recertification fee.
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Because of the way the certification year is administered, the certfication period for an archivist who passed the exam (given in late summer in conjunction with the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting) will begin the following January. The archivist will then have five calendar years in which to earn credits toward recertification and will participate in recertification by examination or petition the following year. For example, if you passed the exam in August 2011, you would have from January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2016 to earn credits. You would then either submit your petition by May 31, 2017, or take the examination when it is given in 2017.

If you are recertifying by petition in 2017, only the credits earned between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016 will be counted.

Certified archivists who are due for recertification will be notified by email in December, again when recertification materials are made available in January, and periodically through May 31. To ensure notification, make sure your dues are up to date and ACA has correct contact information for you, especially email.

If you were provisionally certified when you passed the exam and later attained full certification after one year of full-time professional work, your timeline will vary, depending on what time of year you become officially certified. If you have any questions about when you are due to recertify, please contact the Regent for Certification Maintenance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I count my ACA membership on my petition?
A. Individual membership, per year, in any international, national, regional, or local archival organization that has regular meetings or publications and formal membership roles. In addition, membership in ARMA and ICRM is also accepted for credit. The latter national and international organizations are not divorced from archival concerns and membership offers opportunities to participate in activities that relate to the archival domains or to receive publications that include articles on archival issues. Membership in regional records management groups, however, does not confer any credit, nor does membership in the Academy of Certified Archivists. A maximum of five (5) points per year may be claimed for a maximum of 25 for a five-year petition.individual membership.

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