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Promoting Professionalism in the RFID Industry

The International RFID Institute will offer its first certification exam at RFID Journal LIVE! 2014.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 19, 2014

For the past 20 months, I have been working with a group of dedicated professionals from the radio frequency identification industry to develop a roadmap for standardized certification exams, to promote professionalism in the RFID industry. We established the International RFID Institute and solicited feedback regarding the roadmap from members of the RFID community, including end users, systems integrators, hardware and software providers, and academics (see International RFID Institute Prepares Certification Program and RFID Institute Seeks Subject-Matter Experts). We then revised the roadmap to incorporate their input. The institute is now preparing to offer a beta certification exam at RFID Journal LIVE! 2014, our annual conference and exhibition, being held on Apr. 8-12, in Orlando, Fla.

This exam is for the first of four levels of certification we hope to create. The first level, the RFID Institute Certified Associate, would indicate to those hiring someone with the credential that the candidate has a fundamental knowledge of the different types of RFID systems and how they are used in business and consumer applications. The second level, the Certified Professional, also covers all types of RFID systems, but in more depth. The credential holder would have demonstrated a deep understanding of the different types of RFID systems.

Illustration: iStockphoto
The third level, the Certified Specialist, includes several exams, each focused on a specific type of RFID technology. It's designed to show that the certification holder has the detailed knowledge and skills to deploy the particular type of RFID technology for which he or she is credentialed. The aim is to get beyond textbook knowledge of RFID and demonstrate that the person understands and can address deployment issues.

The fourth level, the Certified Expert, is designed to highlight the level of knowledge achieved by someone who has passed all the Certified Associate, Professional and Specialist exams, and thus demonstrated the ability to deploy any type of RFID system.

The institute has drafted and approved a process for creating exams, which ensures the process is fair, rigorous and repeatable. For the first associate-level exam, we created a blueprint, solicited feedback from the community, revised the draft and approved it. We are now accepting questions from subject- matter experts. Then, other experts will edit and assemble the questions into the initial version of that exam.

The main goal of offering the first certification exam at LIVE! 2014 is to test the exam's validity. We want to ensure that all questions are worded accurately and clearly. If not, we can revise as necessary, as well as change the content and format based on feedback from test participants. If the exam changes substantially, participants will be able to retake the exam within 12 months, free of charge. (Registration details for the exam will be posted on the RFID Institute website shortly.)

While RFID technology has become more reliable, it is still far from plug and play. As RFID adoption becomes widespread across many industries during the next 10 years, 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 people who can ensure successful RFID deployments, and certificate holders will be more likely to land jobs.

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