PPAI is currently updating its certification program to provide a better overall learning experience for industry professionals. The program redesign is based on feedback from members who have been through the program, including members of the PPAI Certification Committee.

To ensure a smooth transition for all members in pursuit of certification or certification renewal, the Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS), Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) and Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) programs are currently in a blackout period. The new versions of the TAS and CAS will be launched June 29, while the new MAS program will be rolled out August 31.

For industry professionals who are currently working toward earning the TAS certificate or the CAS or MAS designation, the Professional Development department is prepared to assist them during the transition period. Industry practitioners who are close to sitting for the exam should reach out to the Professional Development team at certification@ppai.org. Staff can provide alternatives during the first several months of the transition to the new certification program.

Individuals who are working to keep their certifications current will not be affected by the transition. The recertification requirements remain at 25 CAS or MAS credits every three years. Individuals still need to complete the application to have their transcript reviewed to ensure their certification is renewed, but the application process for recertification is now available online here.

Highlights of the new certification program include:

  • The TAS certificate will have a structured program with identified online offerings to complete. The courses have been identified specifically for individuals who are new to the industry to provide them a solid foundation to start their education in the promotional products industry. The program will have 7.5 credits of course content with a short quiz of three to five questions following each course.

  • The CAS will be comprised of 25 credits of identified course offerings that are to be completed with the passing of a quiz for each course. In addition, those working on their CAS will need to complete 25 credits of elective CAS or MAS courses. Professionals seeking to earn their CAS will have new requirements to start in the program, which include completing the TAS and presently working in the promotional products industry.

  • The MAS will be similar to the CAS, with 25 credits of identified course offerings that are to be completed by passing a quiz at the end of each course. MAS candidates will also need to complete 25 credits of elective MAS education and one industry service credit. Professionals seeking to earn their MAS will need to hold a current CAS and have three years of experience in the promotional products industry.

Jennifer Crowfoot, director of professional development at PPAI, says there will no longer be one comprehensive test after completing all of the course credits. Instead, shorter quizzes are offered incrementally. “The main reason the changes are to reflect adult learning principles that allow learners to be measured throughout the program,” she says.

Additionally, individuals with a current MAS can now apply CAS or MAS credits toward their recertification. This change, says Crowfoot, was made in order to recognize that numerous new ideas, processes and content are brought to the industry each year, and these new elements may initially be presented at the CAS level. PPAI wants to ensure that lifelong learners who want to maintain their MAS have the option to pursue learning opportunities that are important to them, regardless of credit level.

“All credits currently on industry professionals’ transcripts will apply toward their progress in the program as well,” Crowfoot adds. “They will not lose credits for any course they have already taken. For those who have taken a course that now requires a quiz, they will need to complete the quiz but will not be required to watch the session over again. Otherwise, all other completed courses will go toward fulfilling the elective course requirement.”