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The Privacy Advisor | IAPP Seeking Accreditation for Certifications Related reading: Notes from the IAPP Editorial Director, April 19, 2019


The IAPP announced today it has applied for accreditation of its CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM and CIPT certifications through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This process, IAPP President and CEO Trevor Hughes, CIPP, said in an email to all members and certificants, will come with some changes to the certification process, both as required by ISO and in response to long-standing feedback.

The biggest change longtime IAPP members will notice is that, as of July 1, 2015, the Foundation exam will no longer be required for any of the IAPP certifications. Rather, each certification will have a new, longer exam that is more custom-tailored to the job being done by those holding the certification.

“These changes,” Hughes wrote, “are a reflection of the feedback that we’ve been hearing from our membership on the content and format of our programs, as well as an opportunity to best position them to receive accreditation.”

Why accreditation? “Being recognized by the international accrediting body as the global benchmark will raise the profile of the profession itself,” Hughes wrote, “and give IAPP credential-holders even greater value and recognition in the privacy field and beyond.”

For those already holding credentials, nothing will change. The accreditation will apply retroactively. If you’re considering certification, you now have the option to either study for and take the Foundation exam, along with the specific credential’s exam, or you can wait until after July 1 and take one consolidated exam. As the new exam is longer and takes more resources to administer, the pricing will essentially be a wash between the two current exams and the consolidated new exam.

The CIPP/G and CIPP/C credentials will be next in line for accreditation, Hughes wrote.

The IAPP will be posting a FAQ page on its website for those of you who have questions regarding these testing changes and the process of accreditation in general.


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  • comment Brenda • Feb 11, 2015
    I purchased online training and textbook for the Foundations exam 2 weeks ago and have hardly had a chance to use them in such a short time.  Will people in my situation be given a refund or purchase credit so that our funds can be used for the new certification regime?  I am excited about becoming certified but rather disappointed that my very recent investment may now be rendered relatively useless (although the information is always good).
  • comment Pegah • Feb 11, 2015
    Hi.  Any idea when new study material will be available?  Or would the current textbook and study material be sufficient for the July 1 exam?  Thanks!
  • comment Rosa • Feb 11, 2015
    I have the same inquiry as Brenda, I too just bought the Foundations study material a couple weeks ago and planned to take the Foundations exam in March before I did a study abroad program in Europe this May/June. However, I'd prefer to use that investment towards the actual certification. Going along with Pegah's inquiry as well, do they know yet if it is useful to keep the study material and apply it towards the new single-exam certification?
  • comment Marla • Feb 11, 2015
    Hi! Marla, here, the Training Director at the IAPP. I'm happy to answer your questions about preparatory materials. We strongly recommend reading the Foundation textbook and taking Foundation training whether you take both the Foundation and Designation exam now, or the single exam for your chosen Designation after July 1.
  • comment Brenda • Feb 12, 2015
    I would LOVE to take all the training that I can possibly get, so I agree with your "recommendation" in theory; however, I am not independently wealthy and my limited funds can only go so far.  I hope that IAPP will consider providing a discount/ credit for people in my situation to apply when purchasing training for the new exam, once available.
  • comment Marla • Feb 12, 2015
    Hi, Brenda!
    The new certification exam is a longer exam, but draws on the same content currently covered in its body of knowledge and our training materials. As a result our existing training materials will prepare you for both the current exams or the single exam offered after July 1.
    Please feel free to reach out via email ( to discuss further.
  • comment Michelle • Feb 15, 2015
    Hello, I am currently preparing for the Foundation exam. I am working toward the CIPP/C designation, I have noted above that this credential will be next in line for accreditation. I am just trying to formulate the best plan of action for preparation. Will this process take much longer then July 1st, and should I just take advantage of all the extra preparation time and wait for the consolidated exam for the CIPP/C destination. In reviewing the inquiries below I am assuming even with the consolidated exam, I should still purchase the same materials I would as if I were writing the two individual exams. Any thoughts or suggestions, would be greatly welcome. I am very excited about my receiving my certification as my professional role already encompasses many areas of privacy.
    Thank you for your time and valued input.
  • comment Doug • Feb 17, 2015
    Hi Michelle, I'm Doug Forman, the Certification Manager at the IAPP. We'll be happy to answer your questions and provide guidance on your pursuit of the CIPP/C. Please contact Maresy Zelie at and she'll be able to answer your questions; or call 603-427-9200 and ask to speak to Maresy. Thank you!