ATA Certification Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the rationale behind the continuing education requirement?
A: The continuing education component was one of the key recommendations put forth in Michael Hamm’s 2000 review and report on the Certification Program. (Just a little bit of background for those of you not familiar with Michael Hamm or the report—Mr. Hamm was commissioned in 2000 to conduct a review and evaluation of our credentialing program. He was hired for his knowledge and expertise as a former manager of a national certification program of certification organizations for eight years and a consulting practice specializing in meeting the needs of credentialing organizations.) Many of the recent improvements to the program are based on his recommendations. He argued that he “is not aware of any profession that does not expect some continuing education or professional development to adequately maintain one’s skills. Most certification programs usually state that certification is offered for a 3-5 year period and certificants must either pass another examination or show some evidence of continuing education/professional development to retain their credential.”
Mr. Hamm’s recommendation was made to enhance the ATA credential and benefit all certified members. It shows that maintenance of the credential is based on more than simply passing an exam and continuing membership in ATA.
Q: Why aren’t current credential holders grandfathered into the system?
A: If this were done, it would create basically a two-tiered and unequal system and dilute the meaning of the credential for members and for people who hire translators. The meaning of a credential, must be transparent and consistent in order to have value to the outside world. If there is a requirement for continuing education, it should apply to all.
Q: Is there an age cap to this requirement?
A: The Board of Directors voted to set an age cap of 60 on this requirement. You are therefore exempt from the requirement and all you need to do is provide proof of being 60 or older at the time the points are due, you will not need to accumulate them. In other words, anyone who is 57 or older at the beginning of a period to accrue points, will not have to accumulate continuing education points in order to maintain his/her credential. He/she will only have to offer proof of age once, not every three years.
Q: If I am certified in more than one language combination, do I have to accumulate additional points for each credential?
A: No, members need to accumulate 20 points during each three-year period no matter how many certifications they have earned.
Q: Can I earn points before I am notified that I passed the certification exam?
A: No. Only certified ATA members can earn CEPs.
Q: Do I have to earn these points to keep my voting membership and the ability to vote in ATA elections?
A: No, these points are part of a program to support the certification/certification credential. If you do not earn the required amount of continuing education points, you will loose your certification/certification, but you will still be a voting member of ATA and can continue to vote in ATA elections.
Q: As I look at the list of ways to earn CE points on the ATA website, I disagree with some of the entries in the categories and I think some worthy activities have been overlooked. Can the current system be changed?
A: This is a new system that began January of 2004 and there will be periodic review with changes made in the future. We don’t want to do them haphazardly or piecemeal and create a continually changing system, but if you have specific suggestions, please contact Certification Program Manager and your suggestions will be passed on to the appropriate committee of the Board of Directors.
Q: Can I send in individual pieces of the required information as I gather them?
A: No, a candidate must organize all documentation and submit it when notified by Headquarters.
Q: What is the actual process?
A: The actual process began as soon as you become certified. You should keep a record of all activities that earned you continuing education points. Certified members will be notified three years after they become certified that they must provide a record of their continuing education points. Headquarters will send out notification six months in advance to remind individuals and allow time for them to gather records.