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About the Exam
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General Questions

What is an archivist anyway?

In brief, an archivist is a professional who specializes in the management of information for permanent usability. Archival work includes the classification, arrangement, preservation, migration, reformatting, description, and selection of all types of permanently valuable documents, data, and images.

What good is an archivist?

It depends on the value of your information. If your information is worth keeping around forever, then you need to have an archivist on your team. Archivists are specialized in ensuring that the information you keep will retain its connection to the context and provenance that provides its meaning. Archivists know how to make a information useful to people other than those who created it, and they know how to help you find the information you need using established research techniques and descriptive standards.


Why hire a Certified Archivist?

Only Certified Archivists can prove their skills meet a universal standard. When you hire a Certified Archivist, you know your employee has knowledge of the entire scope of accepted archival practice, not limited to the direct experience of past job performance. Certified Archivists are ready for any archival contingency that might emerge midway through a project.

Why become a Certified Archivist?

There are many different reasons:

  • to validate your education, experience, and skills
  • self-evaluation
  • to better compete in the job market
  • to demonstrate self-confidence, professional commitment, and personal initiative
  • to compare your knowledge and skills to a consensus national standard
  • to demonstrate the importance of professional involvement, maintaining an interest in profession-wide concerns, and contributing to the development of the profession as a whole
  • to show support for graduate archival education and professional archival standards.

What does certification cost?

The application fee is US$50. Because the fee covers only a portion of the expenses for processing the applications, we regret we cannot refund it if the applicant does not qualify to take the examination.

Persons who pass the examination and demonstrate the necessary qualifying experience then pay a certification fee of US$150. Provisional applicants pay this fee only upon qualification for full certification. Thereafter, members pay annual dues of US$50 (membership year is July 1 – June 30).

How long is the certification period?

Certification is for a period of five years. After 5 years, members may recertify either by petition or re-examination. Whether you choose to maintain your certification by petition or exam, there is never a recertification fee.  For more information, please visit the Certification Maintenance page.