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Editor's Note:

On March 11, the IAPP officially rolled out the new CPE policy and ended the blackout period. A previous version of this article reported the new policy launched March 7, but has since been updated to reflect the changes. 

Those who have been to the IAPP website might have noticed the banner scrolled across the top alerting them to a Certification Platform Blackout. The reason? Starting March 11, the IAPP rolled out improvements to the recertification policy and process in an effort to simplify and streamline the certification maintenance.

During the blackout, no changes or additions to exams, certifications or continuing privacy education credits were possible. The blackout helped prepare for improvements to the IAPP certification platform and the implementation of a new CPE policy.

Previously, those with certifications were required to submit 20 CPE credits in total – 10 from Group A and 10 from Group B. Where Group A CPEs were specific to an individual’s certification, Group B CPEs were more general privacy applications. For instance, if an individual has a CIPP/E certification, 10 Group A credits would focus on data protection and privacy in Europe, while Group B CPEs could be considered general education applicable to one’s certification. This has led to some confusion.

Under the new policy, certified individuals simply need to submit 20 CPEs per certification. That being said, it is understood that there can and will be CPE crossover for those with multiple certifications. Thanks to this overlap, it would be rare for those with multiple certifications to be required to obtain 20 unique CPEs per certification. As the new policy states, “Individuals with more than one IAPP certification are able and encouraged to apply CPE credits to as many of their IAPP credentials as they see fit, as long as they believe the continuing education is relevant to those credentials.”

Come March 11, visitors to the website will also find CPE Central, a searchable, filterable database of all CPE-eligible IAPP content to help identify opportunities. Individuals are now able to search by designation, credit amount and content type and will show whether the content is free or purchasable. All CPEs acquired through the IAPP will be automatically applied to its appropriately designated certification. Understanding the IAPP is not the only source for CPEs, the update will also reveal a redesigned self-submission form, allowing individuals to submit one form for multiple certifications.

Also starting March 11, non-members who have an IAPP certification will see the annual maintenance fee of $125 changing to a one-time $250 certification fee. Rather than creating unnecessary confusion around when fees are due during an individual’s certification term, the one-time fee is hoped to provide ease and peace of mind for the individual and will cover the whole certification term.

Lastly, those with multiple certifications may have experienced confusion over remembering separate term dates for each certification. If an individual has six certifications, that’s six separate end dates and requirements to keep track of. During the blackout, the IAPP aligned multiple dates into a new unified date. To do this, the next applicable end date will be applied across all certifications for those with multiple certifications. If this leads to a turnaround of CPE requirements in less than one year, those CPE requirements will be waived. Going forward, if an individual adds a new certification, it will adopt the individual's initial end date. Again, if this change results in a person having less than one year to fulfill the CPE requirements, that requirement will be waived.

Previously, the IAPP reached out to certification holders when they were 90 days away from having their certification suspended, alerting them to either a fee requirement or a CPE deficiency. Under the new system, certification holders will be contacted quarterly to update them on their current CPE status. Designed to help certification holders better understand their account and keep requirements top of mind, the new policy and process are intended to streamline the user experience and reduce confusion. Understanding this is a transition process, the IAPP is ready and willing to work with people to make adjustments should the need arise. 

1 Comment

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  • comment Jeff Nicol • Feb 28, 2019
    As a holder of multiple IAPP certs, it has not been easy to stay on top of CPE requirements... Multiple renewal dates, Group A vs. B, which Group A category should a given CPE to apply to? Not fun. Thank you to the IAPP for re-thinking the CPE requirements for synchronizing the certification renewal dates. Tracking and managing CPEs will be a lot easier going forward.