IPC Certified Standards Expert (CSE) and Senior Certified Standards Expert (SCSE)

What is an IPC Certified Standards Expert?

  • The Certified Standards Expert (CSE) is a subject matter professional with a high level of knowledge and understanding of a specific IPC standard or group of standards. The role of the Certified Standards Expert may vary by organization, but the CSE will be able to: 
    • Act as a subject matter expert for their organization, answering standard related questions, providing support to various levels of the organization, and, interpreting the standard for their organization.
    • Judge organizational conflicts in opinion of a viewed condition.
    • Act as the intermediary between the organization and IPC staff and/or industry experts on standards questions.
    • Update the organization on the latest standards and best practices from industry.
    • Provide feedback to standards committees on updates to the process for inclusion in the standards.
    • Interface with designers and process engineers to develop assembly processes.
  • The Certified Standards Expert (CSE) program is divided into two levels:
    • Certified Standards Expert (CSE)
    • Senior Standards Expert (SCSE)

What does the CSE certify?

  • The CSE program confirms that an individual has demonstrated the level of knowledge and understanding required to act as a subject matter expert for a specific IPC standard including:
    • IPC-A-610
    • J-STD-001
    • IPC/WHMA-A-620
    • IPC-A-600
    • IPC-6012
    • IPC-7711/IPC-7721
  • The IPC Certified Standards Expert (CSE) possesses the ability to:
    • Navigate the IPC standard quickly and efficiently
    • Identify relevant sections of the standard to address specific questions 
    • Act as a subject matter expert on all matters related to the standard
    • Apply the standard to specific company needs

How does this certification differ from the IPC Certified IPC Trainer (CIT)?

  • The CIT program is designed for classroom instructors. It confirms that an individual has the technical and pedagogical knowledge and skills required to train individuals in the IPC Certified IPC Specialist (CIS) program.
  • A CIT must host at least one IPC course per calendar year.
  • A Certified Standards Expert (CSE) is not required to train.

Who can provide the IPC CSE training program?

  • The IPC CSE training program must be conducted by an MIT that is, at the time of the training, certified as a Master IPC trainer in the specific standard being taught.

Who can offer the IPC Certified Standards Experts (CSE) certification

  • Only IPC Training Centers may offer training and testing for the IPC Certified Standards Experts (CSE) certification.
  • Locate a Training Center near you

How is the IPC Certified Standards Expert (CSE) exam structured?

  • Candidates for CSE certification must successfully complete three exams:
    • The Enhanced Policy and Procedures Exam
    • General Knowledge Exam
    • Standard Endorsement Exam

What is the General Knowledge Exam?

  • This exam assesses an individual’s knowledge of the following areas:
    • Component Identification
    • General Terms and Definitions
    • Order of Precedence
    • Document Handling
    • Classification
    • Measurements, Units, and Applications
    • Definition of Requirements
    • Appendixes
    • Requirements Flowdown
    • Health and Safety
    • Personnel Proficiency
    • Acceptance Requirements
    • Assembly Requirements
  • The General Knowledge Exam is a closed-book test with 30 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must complete the exam within 1-hour

What is the Standard Endorsement Exam?

  • The Standard Endorsement Exam assesses a test candidate’s understanding of a specific standard. The test candidate selects the standard at the time of registration.
  • Exam questions focus on:
    • Comprehension of standard content
    • Structure of the standard
    • Ability of locate information in the standard
  • The Standard Specific exam is an open-book test with 70 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must complete the exam within 2.5 hours

What are endorsements and when do they expire?

  • Each standard to which a CSE certifies is called an endorsement. Endorsements are specific areas in which an individual is certified. In the case of the CSE, each endorsement represents specific standards to which an individual is certified.
  • Certified Standards Experts must obtain at least one endorsement to earn their CSE certification but may obtain as many additional endorsements as they chose.
  • Endorsements do not have a separate expiration date. Since endorsements are attached to a certification, all endorsements to a certification expire on the same date as the initial certification regardless of when the endorsement was added to the CSE certificate.

When a current CSE recertifies, does this automatically extend the expiration dates of all endorsements?

  • Yes. Current CSEs that recertify, prior to their certification expiration date, automatically extend the expiration date of all endorsements.
  • Since endorsements are attached to a certification, all endorsements to a certification expire on the same date as the initial certification regardless of when the endorsement was added to the CSE certificate. When a certification is extended through the recertification process, then all endorsements are also extended.

For how long is the CSE certification valid?

  • The certification expires two years from the date on which the individual successfully earned their certification by completing all requirements.
  • There are no extensions for the certification expiration date.

What is a Senior Certified Standards Expert?

  • A Senior Certified Standards Expert possesses the same knowledge, skills, and abilities as a Certified Standards Expert.
  • A Senior Certified Standards Expert must possess extensive knowledge in the IPC standards development process, the use of IPC standards, and the application of IPC Standards in the electronics industry.

What are the requirements to earn a Senior Certified Standards Expert (SCSE) credential?

    • Possess a current CSE certification.
    • Hold at least three active CSE certification endorsements, submit application and pay the application fee.
      • As part of the application, the individual must:
        • Submit a resume detailing 10 years of experience in the electronics industry in a role that utilizes IPC standards regularly.
        • Submit a letter from current employer on letterhead identifying their current role, length of time in the role, and how their role utilizes IPC standards. If self-employed, a candidate may submit a personal statement on their company's letterhead providing a description of the current role, the type of work done by their company, and how they utilize IPC standards.

Other Questions Answered

Can I retake an exam if I fail?

  • Yes, test candidates that do not attain a passing score on their first attempt may retake one or more of the three required exams. Candidates must wait until the next day to reattempt the Enhanced Policy and Procedures Exam. Candidates must wait for a minimum fourteen days before retaking the General Knowledge and/ or the Standard Endorsement exams.

Is there a charge to retake an exam?

  • Test candidates may retake (after the appropriate cool down period) the Enhanced Policy and Procedures Exams once after a failure with no additional cost.
  • Test candidates may retake (after the appropriate cool down period) the General Knowledge or Standard Endorsement exams but would need to register through the Edge 2.0 platform for a retest. The additional fees for the retests are $65 for IPC members and $80 for non-members. The retest fee would cover one or both exams (depending on which exams the tester failed).

Is an IPC Certified Standards Expert (CSE) required to take all three exams to certify to an additional standard? 

  • No. Existing CSEs do not have to retake the Enhanced P&P and General Knowledge exams to certify to another standard.
    • To certify to an additional standard, an existing CSE is only required to successfully complete the Standard Endorsement Exam for that standard.
    • Each additional standard to which a CSE certifies is an additional endorsement.

Do I have to complete a training program to become an IPC Certified Standards Experts (CSE)?

  • While advisable, CSE candidates are not required to enroll in a training program. Please see the section on Challenge Tests in the IPC Policies and Procedures document for more details.

How does an IPC Certified Standards Experts (CSE) recertify?   

  • A CSE may recertify using one of the following methods:
  • Testing: Complete the CSE General knowledge test, the IPC Policies and Procedures test, and the Standard Endorsement Exam. The Standard Endorsement Exam can be any currently available endorsement and is not limited to previously earned endorsements. 
  • Committee Participation: CSE’s that have participated in IPC standards committees may opt to complete the CSE Recertification Application, pay the recertification fee, and provide a letter from the committee’s staff liaison attesting to their participation in lieu of testing.
    • The CSE must provide documentation attesting to at least 20 hours of committee participation to utilize this recertification method. The 20 hours of committee participation must occur during the certification period.
    • A CSE may only utilize this recertification method if they participate in a technical committee which corresponds with an endorsement they have earned.
  • Senior CSEs may recertify utilizing the same criteria as the CSE, but with the following additional requirements:
    • If a Senior CSE is recertifying through either the testing or committee methods, they must also submit the a Senior CSE Recertification application form.
      • The Senior CSE Recertification application must be accompanied by an updated resume and a letter from their current employer on company letterhead indicating their current role and their continued use of IPC standards.
  • A CSE may recertify up to 6 months prior to the expiration of their certification. CSEs that recertify within this six-month window will automatically extend their current certification for two additional years from the initial expiration date.
    • For example, if a certification expired June 20, 2018, and individual may take the re-certification exam up to six months prior to the expiration date. For the purposes of this example, the re-certification exam was taken April 12, 2018. The individual passed, extending the certification expiration date from June 20, 2018 to June 20, 2020.
Knowledge

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