Mar 17, 2014For the past 20 months, I have been working with a group of dedicated professionals from the radio frequency identification industry to create a nonprofit organization that would deliver standardized certification examinations, to promote professionalism in the RFID industry (see The Return of RFID Certification, Input on RFID Certification, RFID Institute Seeks Subject-Matter Experts and International RFID Institute Prepares Certification Program ). We set up the International RFID Institute in 2012, and developed a plan for a series of certification exams to demonstrate that credential holders had certain levels of proficiency. The institute is now ready to offer its first certification exam at RFID Journal LIVE!, our 12th annual conference and exhibition, being held on Apr. 8-12, in Orlando, Fla.
This first level, RFID Institute Certified Associate, is designed to enable companies hiring an employee with that credential to know that the candidate has a fundamental knowledge of the different types of RFID systems and how they are used in business and consumer applications. This essentially replaces CompTIA's now-defunct RFID+ certification, which was withdrawn two years ago (see Why the RFID Industry Needs a Certification Program).
The second level, RFID Institute Certified Professional, also covers all types of RFID systems, but in greater depth. The credential holder would have demonstrated a deep understanding of the different types of RFID systems. The third level, RFID Institute Certified Specialist, includes several exams, each focused on a specific type of RFID technology, and is designed to show that the certification holder possesses the detailed knowledge and skills to deploy the type of RFID technology for which he or she is credentialed. The aim here is to go beyond knowledge of textbook RFID facts and show that the candidate understands—and can overcome—deployment issues for each type of technology.
The fourth level, RFID Institute Certified Expert, is designed to highlight the level of knowledge attained by someone who has passed all of the Certified Specialist exams, as well as the Certified Associate and Certified Professional exams. It thus demonstrates the ability to deploy any type of RFID system.
The International RFID Institute has drafted and approved a process for creating exams, thereby ensuring that the process is fair, rigorous and repeatable. For the first exam (Certified Associate), we created a blueprint, solicited feedback from the community, revised the draft and approved it. Subject-matter experts, recruited from around the world, contributed questions for the test. Other subject-matter experts have been editing the questions and assembling them into the initial version of that exam.
Our main goal in offering the first certification exam at LIVE! 2014 is to test its validity. We want to determine if any questions are poorly worded and need to be revised. The certification committee charged with developing the exam might also change the content and format based on feedback from test participants. If the exam changes substantially, test participants will be able to retake it within 12 months, free of charge. (I don't expect that to happen.) Anyone wishing to take the test can register at our website, but seats are limited so don't wait.
As RFID adoption becomes widespread across many industries during the next decade, there will be a growing need for well-trained and experienced people to design and implement RFID systems. The International RFID Institute believes both end users and systems integrators will benefit from the certificate exams. Companies will feel confident they are hiring someone who can ensure their deployment will be successful, and certificate holders will be more likely to land a job.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.