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.
Trainers 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.