Streamlining and cost reduction for IPC certified trainer certifications

Continuing improvements/ changes in the IPC certification programs were recently announced.  IPC is in the process of releasing a Certified Standards Expert program for those individuals that want or need the instructor level certification but are not going to actually certify others.

Additionally a scheduled roll out of instructor materials for certification classes being available as a download through your account.  No more DVD/CD with the power points and other instructor info, just log into your account and what you need will be available right there.   Once fully implemented (Late April through May according to IPC) this will be a much more convenient (if you have access to the internet) way to keep your presentations updated and available when and where you need them.  Some pricing changes are involved as you will no longer be buying the $300 plus DVD/CD; that cost will be included in your certification/recertification tuition.  Unfortunately you will no longer have the option not to purchase the materials and you will be paying for the updated materials at every re-certification, regardless of whether the revision has changed or not.

Let me know if you have questions or need help with setting up a class, scheduling a class, finding an instructor and technical standards/criteria based.

Recent IPC Announcement for Instructors Nov 2018

Of extra special notice is the last paragraph.

Dear Certification Colleague:

Temporary CIS Updates

As discussed in the training committee meetings and the Hot Topic webinar in October, IPC implemented some temporary measures to address operators enrolled in the CIS program. The CIS program was originally designed for inspectors, supervisors, technicians, and engineers, yet a significant portion of CIS candidates are operators. The Essentials program was not built for the operators. Therefore, IPC is temporarily providing instructors with the ability to bypass the Essentials training, or to decide which sections of the training to review with their students. We believe by granting the instructor the ability to control which content is taught, we can create a better education experience for the student.

SUGGESTION: In order to provide a better educational experience for these students, instructors will temporarily be able to bypass the Essentials training and decide which sections of the training to review with their students.

As part of these efforts, EP&P exam has been removed from all CIS courses, and the policy and procedures questions that were previously in the EP&P exam, have been moved back into Module 1.

To provide instructors with more flexibility in their classes, we are also temporarily removing the restrictions on testing optional modules until module 1 is completed successfully. Certifications are still dependent on Module 1 being successfully completed.

SUGGESTION: We are also temporarily allowing students to complete optional modules before completing module 1. Students must still complete module 1 to receive a certification.

CIS Pricing

Over the last week, we have received some questions about pricing after the temporary relaxation of the Essentials requirement for the CIS program. However, the Essentials program represents only a small part of the costs on which the increase is premised. Over the last several years, we have received feedback from students, instructors, and the industry about areas where future improvement and investment were needed. As such, we have begun to invest in several improvements to Certification and Education, some of which includes:

·        A new flexible and expandable internal platform hosted on AWS

·        A distributed cloud architecture for improved global performance

·        A full time LMS Administrator

·        A psychometrician

·        Multiple additions to the certification customer service team

·        The Job Task Analysis Committee

·        Workforce development programs

As a non-profit designed exclusively to serve the electronics industry, IPC strives to meet the evolving needs of its constituents as efficiently and effectively as possible. Our proudly lean Certification and Education Teams will convert this relatively modest investment in new programs, platforms, and personnel into large improvements in the quality and timeliness of IPC products and services.

Scheduling Exams

Since the launch of EDGE 2.0, we have received many questions and issues surrounding scheduling exams on the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). As an international organization, IPC chose to utilize UTC as the baseline in our system because it represents the zero point for time zones globally.

Many instructors travel to different time zones to deliver training. As most PCs are set to the home time zone this creates a time conflict which we resolve by using a single time zone, in this case UTC.

The current UTC time is always displayed on the EDGE 2.0 home page as well as on the exam scheduling page. This is to aid you in converting the time from your time zone to the UTC time zone. Help and examples lists the different time zones along with how much time should be added to your local time to reach the UTC time.

Instructors are strongly encouraged to double check the time before the exam begins to make sure the time was scheduled properly. If needed, the time can be edited to make sure the students are not timed out of the exam prematurely. Instructors should also inform their students that when there is 30 minutes or less remining before the close of the test, a time clock will appear. This is the countdown before the close of the test. If the student will not complete the exam before the close time, they should alert the instructor immediately so that the instructor can edit the close time. Once the close time is reached, the exam will close, and the scores will be saved. If the student did not finish the test, they will need to wait for the cool off period (24 hours CIS/30 days CIT) before they can begin the test again.

Missed Question Review

Training and Certification are independent from one another.

Training Definition: The purpose of training is to ensure students obtain pre-determined knowledge and skills. In training, reviews of any missed questions are vital to a good training program.

Certification Definition: The purpose of certification is to validate the knowledge and skills an individual possesses against a predetermined criterion. In certification, missed questions are not reviewed.

Trainers should go through the training material, the content of the standards, the hands-on skill building, and any other necessary reviews prior to the CIS or CIT candidate attempting the exam.

During the exam, instructors may not, “help” the candidate in any way. A certification exam is a pass/fail determination of the student’s knowledge, skill, and ability. If the candidate understands the content and the techniques well enough to meet or exceed the measurements as set by the certification committee, that student should pass the exam.

An Amendment to JSTD-001 has been released by IPC


IPC J-STD-001G, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies is recognized worldwide as the sole industry-consensus standard for soldering processes and materials. Section 8, Cleaning and Residue Requirements of the standard has been significantly changed with the release of IPC J-STD-001G-Am1. Of significance is where the use of the 1.56 μg/NaCI equivalence/cm2 value for Resistivity of Solvent Extract (ROSE), with no other supporting objective evidence, is not considered an acceptable basis for qualifying a manufacturing process.

Purchase IPC J-STD-001G-Am1 with IPC-WP-19A

The J-STD-001 committee formed a working group of subject matter experts to determine the “next generation” of ionic contamination requirements. The result of this working group is the release of IPC J-STD-001G-Am1, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies Amendment 1. Included with this standard is IPC-WP-019A, An Overview on the Global Change in Ionic Cleanliness Requirements. The amendment provides the changes to Section 8 Cleaning and Residue Requirements and the white paper is provided to explain in detail the changes with additional language for clarity of the changes.

For many assemblies, ROSE testing is no longer a sufficient enough test regimen to predict acceptable levels of ionic residues. ROSE is to be used for “process control” and no longer used for “product acceptance”. Qualifying the solder and/or cleaning processes are a new requirement found in IPC J-STD-001G-Am1.

The committee fully understands the significance of the changes to the standard with the release of this amendment. Therefore, they have provided the white paper IPC-WP-19A which offers many examples of how both large and small companies can meet the new requirements of the IPC J-STD-001G-Am1.

Purchase IPC J-STD-001G-Am1 with IPC-WP-19A

For a better understanding of the changes to J-STD-001G-Am1 we are providing a video Section 8 Explained We hope this video will answer your questions on the changes.


Please contact with unanswered questions.

IPC Certification Moving toward accreditation.

Having the IPC certification is basically a certification that the passing student is a subject matter expert (SME).  Trainers are no longer going to see or know exactly what questions their students have missed, but now they will need to judge there own performance by how well the students understand the information in each section by the questions asked during the exam and the exam scores for the individual modules.  Similar to other certification programs such as the exam for a medical license, a pilot’s license, or even an exam such as the SAT or ACT for college entry. The student  does not receive the questions missed in the review. If any review is offered, the candidate may receive areas of missed topics, but no questions or answers are presented.


jstd terminal workspace setupTrainers are now required to train.  Many companies have the misconception that you need an instructor when you are not actually going to certify workers to the IPC standard.  The instructor certification does require the individual to understand the document more completely, but many instructors get that level of understanding from actually teaching a class.  Just because an individual can pass the instructor exam, doesn’t mean they are necessarily more familiar with the document or that they could even conduct an IPC training class.  All the documents (JSTD-001, IPC-A-610, WHMA-620, IPC 7711/7721, IPC-600 etc ) that have certification programs clearly state that on the job training is acceptable until the worker can obtain certification.  The best way  to look at this is, the specialist are allowed to provide on the job training, not certification, and if you are not going to actually provide certification you don’t really need an IPC CIT.  I have certified hundreds of IPC Specialist and many of them, because of their use of the document day to day are as knowledgeable as many of the instructors.  I highly recommend if you are not going to use your trainer to provide certifications, and your contracts are not written such that a certified trainer is required,  consider IPC Certified Specialist certifications.  Certified trainers that do not complete at least one class per year are now required to take the full class over again, they are not eligible for re-certification classes.  Full certification classes are typically twice the price of re-certification classes and more than twice as long.

Trainers can expect to see questions changing and hopefully questions on exams that are more about proper use of the document and content interpretation, not just word for word straight from the text.  We, trainers, should concentrate on helping the students understand navigation and interpretation skills with some real examples and discussions of what the criteria is really indicating or requiring.

IPC has made an attempt to remove the responsibility of teaching the policies and procedures from the trainers to the web.  There is now an online presentation that the students can watch and be tested on prior to arriving at the training session.  Currently there seems to be a few navigational challenges to the process but hopefully with a little time and maybe a little more experience (on my part) it will be less of a challenge.  I play the presentation for the entire class on the first day and they take their individual test right then.

The new testing platform is great, works good and I have experienced very few issues once the student is registered and can sign in.  The registration/sign in process is still a little cumbersome.  There are good navigational features, pictures load fast etc.  There is a timeout feature that may catch you off guard.  Students can not leave the computer/tablet (ie not touch keyboard or move mouse) for more than 30 minutes or the system will close the exam and grade it.  This counts as one of the two attempts you are allowed.

More on all this soon for now this is quite a bit to think about, but feel free to call, text or email me with questions about IPC certification, document interpretation or soldering applications.

IPC Certification New pricing

The new IPC Certification platform has been released and along with that come some improvements, new pricing and new procedures to get used too.

The testing platform called EDGE2.0 does seem to work good.  My first class went reasonably smooth but as with anything new there were a few surprises.

A great improvement is that the students can now access there portal account easily and anytime they want.  They can see there past classes and most importantly their certificates.  They are now responsible for printing the certificate if they need a printed copy.  The instructor can not do this for them anymore.

The new pricing is

• The combination of the new IPC Policy and Essentials modules and the online exam for a specific
certification program will have a fee of $65/person. The IPC nonmember fee will be $85/person. – 1 retest of an individual module included.
• The same combination of modules mentioned above and the print test exam will have a fee of
$80/person. The IPC non-member fee will be $100/person. – 1 retest of an individual module included.

To access the portal now, trainers can still goto but trainers and students can go directly to EDGE2.0 at 

Also important is there is a new release of the Policies and Procedures which you will have to agree to when you first try to log in to the new system.  And if you are like me you will need to print new copies of the P-N-P for the students to use during class.

The new system has a new Enhanced Policies and Procedures module which the students can complete before the start of class.  This would definitely decrease the time of the certification if you can get your students to have this completed before the first day of class.  I foresee that most of my classes we will continue to this at the beginning of each class.  There is an online presentation and test associated with this module.  I project this presentation and the class goes through it as a group.  Then the students take their individual test.  It works pretty good, but some of the presentation still needs work.

Trainers you should definitely check the certification portal news link from time to time as it does have good information.

Happy Certifications and feel free to call text or email me with your questions.

IPC releases IPC-A-610 and J-STD-001 Revision G

Training materials have been released as well as the standards.

Keeping Pace with Electronic Technology Advancements

To address advancement in the electronics industry, two leading standards for the electronic assembly industry have been revised. IPC J-STD-001G, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies is recognized worldwide as the sole industry-consensus standard for soldering processes and materials. IPC-A-610G, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies, is a post-assembly acceptance standard used to ensure electronic assemblies meet acceptance requirements for the electronics industry.

Purchase the Standards Now:

Being released today are the redline documents for the two standards.

Purchase the Redline Documents Now:

Being released today are the training and certification materials for the two standards.

Purchase the Training/Certification Documents:
IPC Order Form for Training Materials (download .zip)
IPC-A-610G CIT to Train CIS Checklist
IPC-A-610G MIT to Train CIT Checklist
IPC-J-STD-001G CIT to Train CIS Checklist
IPC-J-STD-001G MIT to Train CIT Checklist

Need to know more before you buy the newly revised standards? Below you will find some of the significant changes made to each document for revision G.

Some significant changes to 610G:

  • The Standard Remains a Visual Quality Acceptance Standard
  • In the General Section – Significant Changes Were Made to Various Topics
  • Various Updates to Acceptance and Defect Classes Throughout the Standard
  • Through Hole Criteria is Updated
    • Supported Holes – Solder Conditions – Meniscus in Solder
  • Surface Mount Criteria Updated
    • Chip Components – Various End Cap Terminations
    • Butt/I Connections Completely Revised – New Figures and Tables
    • Surface Mount Area Array – Underfill/Staking

Some Significant Changes to 001G:

  • The “International Space Station Symbol” Replaces the “Space Shuttle Symbol” Throughout the Document
  • In the General Section the Following Topics Were Update
    • Scope and Purpose were Re-evaluated and Updated
    • New Section on Objective
  • Improved language for ease of readability and understanding Throughout the Document
  • Added Applicable International and Mil Documents
  • Wire and Cable Preparation
    • Added New Figures and Requirements for Various Wire Configurations
  • Added Criteria for various Surface Mount Components
  • Provides a New Dimensional Table for Flat Unformed Leads
  • Significant Changes Made to Product Assurance Section

If your business is in electronic assembly, you need IPC J-STD-001G and IPC-A-610G to keep pace with electronic technology advancements. For more information contact,

IPC Certified Trainers – Scheduling?

Scheduling, I’m not sure if anyone really enjoys scheduling, but if you do maybe you should become an IPC Certified Trainer.  Scheduling is very much a part of the process because you are generally pulling together staff from several different departments and sometimes different locations.  In my world, the traveling trainer world, the scheduling can make of break the deal.  I try to be as flexible as possible but last minute request for classes generally is not possible.

If you are a trainer at a fixed location scheduling can still be a challenge but there are a few ways to make it work for your staff’s schedules.  Here are of a few of the ways I have found to make the training schedule more flexible.

  1. Divide the training into 2 groups, group A and group B.  The class may be comprised of several people from several different departments.  In group A you want a few people from each of the different groups and then the others in Group B.  The training will be group A the first 4 hours of whatever shift you choose to conduct your training in and group B will attend the second 4 hours of the same shift.  This technique increases the overall time to complete the training but allows some coverage in each department while others from that department  are in training.
  2. Designate a IPC training day or couple of days each month. Example: the third week of the month on Thursday and Friday the class is held.  This spreads out the time to complete the certification, but allows less impact on your production output. Employees become accustomed to this being the training days and you have less absentees.  IPC begins a certification with the day the mandatory modules are completed and allows all the optional modules to be completed at anytime after that.  The certifications are good for 2 years to the last day of the month that the mandatory module(s) were completed.  Optional modules do not affect the expiration date.
  3. If your group of trainees is spread over two back to back shifts using method 1 above but training the last 4 hours of shift one and the first 4 hours of shift two allows employees not to have to change shift times just to get IPC certification.

I hope these few ideas help and feel free to share your creative scheduling of IPC training.

ESD Control for carts and mobile Equipment

Did you know…

“Drag chains/cables have been known to be unreliable for grounding mobile equipment. Due to the variability that may be encountered with resistance measurements on mobile equipment, it is recommended that the mobile equipment be moved slightly and the test procedure be repeated.”

From ESDA documents TR20.20 and TR53  

Carts and Mobile equipment presents the ESD Control Coordinator with several challenges.

  • If the cart fails the test to ground < 10^9 ohms Rtg and can not be brought into compliance, product riding on the cart should be in enclosed ESD shielding containers and the control program documenting this.  Cart should be label to this fact as well.
  • Drag chains alone are known to be an unreliable connection
  • The connection measurement to ground will vary as the floor varies
  • Conductive casters help but the system still relies on the cleanliness of the floor and floor readings.

Think about it, your operators that wear footwear for gorunding are required to test a minimum of once a day, should the carts also be tested?

It is highly recommended that carts when stationary be hard connected to ground with a ground wire.  A great solution to this is the Desco “magsnap” coil cord as it is a magnetic attachment and will connect to metal carts without any additional hardware.  Then the banana plug end of the coil cord simply connects to an extra banana jack that is frequently found at work stations.

I will continue to share these little tid-bits of information as I encounter them or remember them from past ESD Audits/Surveys I have preformed for customers.  If you would like to schedule an ESD Audit / Survey send me a request and lets “check-out” how effective your ESD control program really is.

IPC releases a new document.

IPC New Release: IPC-4552A

Performance Specification for Electroless Nickel/Immersion Gold (ENIG) Plating for Printed Boards


The IPC-4552A performance specification sets requirements for Electroless Nickel/Immersion Gold (ENIG) deposit thicknesses for applications including soldering, wire bonding and as a contact finish. The IPC-4552A is intended for use bychemical suppliers, printed board manufacturers, electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The IPC-4552A standard may be used to specify acceptance criteria to meet performance requirements in addition to those found in the IPC-6010-FAM Printed Board Performance Specifications. The ENIG deposit specified by using this document will meet the highest coating durability rating as specified in the J-STD-003 printed board solderability specification.


The IPC-4552A specification is based on three critical factors:

  1. The ENIG plating process is in control producing a normal distribution for nickel and gold deposit thickness.
  2. That the tool used to measure the deposit and therefore control the process is accurate and reproducible for the thickness range specified.
  3. That the ENIG plating process results in uniform deposit characteristics.


If any of these three critical factors are not met, then the deposit produced will not meet the performance criteria defined.


148 pages. Released August 2017.

Preview the table of contents .pdf file.

Hard copy:

Member Price: $80.00

Industry Price: $160.00