Protecting information assets since 1989

Professional Certification: Part 1

Over the coming week we will be discussing professional certification in a two part informational series.


Records and information managers seeking to improve their professional knowledge, rate of pay, and area of responsibility might seek to acquire a professional certification. (These certifications would be in addition to any degree program). There are several possible certifications for information management professionals which fall into three broad categories of records management, archival science and library science. Records managers can receive some certificate programs for completion of specific courses, or can achieve full credentials as a Certified Records Manager administered by the Institute of Certified Records Managers. Additionally, there are various national certifications for Archivists – among them is the Certified Archivist credential which is administered by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

The ICRM (Institute of Certified Records Managers) is the certifying body for ARMA International (Association of Records Managers and Administrators) and NIRMA (Nuclear Information and Records Management Association). The ICRM is an independent certifying body which engages in their own test development, provides group and individual testing assistance and provides resources for study groups.

Records managers must qualify to sit for the examination. This qualification is based on a combination of education and professional experience. This combination ranges from as little as three years professional experience when combined with 4-year undergraduate college degree, to 11 years professional experience when combined with a secondary school diploma. Applicants must demonstrate professional experience in at least three of these areas: Management of a Records Management Program, Records Creation and Use, Active Records Systems, Inactive Records Systems, Records Appraisal, Retention and Disposition, Records Protection, Records and Information Management Technology.

Once qualifications to sit for the examination have been accepted, applicants may sit for each of the six parts of the examination. An examination fee for each of the six parts is required. Part one of the exam covers Management Principles and the Records and Information Management (RIM) program. Part two reviews Records Creation and Use. Part three focuses on Records Systems, Storage and Retrieval. Part four covers Records Appraisal, Retention, Protection and Disposition. Part five reviews Facilities, Equipment, Supplies and Technology. The sixth and final part of the examination is a case study given in essay form. The ICRM website provides detailed outlines of material covered in each of the five sections. (Parts 1-5 of the examination are multiple choice). Additionally, the ICRM encourages and assists in locating mentors for those who will be sitting for the examination. The web site also provides a 15-page study bibliography, provides assistance in the formation of study groups, and provides other information regarding testing opportunities and deadlines for form submission.

Continuing maintenance is an important aspect of the CRM certification. Unlike the CA designation which requires recertification every five years, the CRM designation is maintained in five year cycles of certification maintenance. Certification maintenance requires the accumulation of 100 continuing education hours in a five year period. The
ICRM has approved 10 areas of qualifying continuing education hours. No more than 30 hours may be accumulated in any single category. No re-certification examination is necessary as long as certification maintenance continues uninterrupted. The categories for maintenance are: College and University Courses (taken for credit or audit); Seminars and Conferences; Vendor Courses; Meetings Which Provide Educational Content; Employer-sponsored Educational Courses; Professional Society/Association Educational Activities; Teaching, Lecturing or Presentations; Correspondence Courses; Publication of Articles or Books; or Other Qualifying Activities.

This series is courtesy of PRISM (Professional Records & Information Services Management).

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