Certification FAQ

What are the benefits of certification?

Am I eligible for certification?
  • Eligibility is based on Information and Referral work experience combined with educational background: 

How do I prepare for the exam?
  • Visit our study study suggestions page here.
Where can I take the exam?
  • The most common method is via online remote proctor. The exam can be taken remotely at virtually any quiet location, including your own home. If you are using the remote proctor option, here is some information on what to expect.
When can I take the exam?
  • The exams are offered throughout the year, you can register for any date that is least 30 days out from when you apply.
    Where do I apply?
    • Apply here for online testing with flexible scheduling.
    • Submit applications for in-person exams here.
    What is required to verify my eligibility?
    • A transcript or copy of a diploma are both acceptable to verify your academic eligibility, and can be submitted here.
    How do I submit an exam application on behalf of a staff member or colleague? 
    • Enter their name and email address in the “Registering staff members” field on the application form. They will need to verify their eligibility by submitting the form at https://www.informusa.org/exam-eligibilty 

    A screenshot of a messageDescription automatically generated

    Are there any changes to the recertification requirements? 
    • The recertification requirements remain the same: Completing a total of 10 training hours over your two-year certification cycle.
    How do I apply for recertification? 
    • Simply submit your training hours and payment here.
    How do I submit an exam application on behalf of a staff member or colleague?  Can I submit multiple applications with one transaction?  
    • Yes!  Once you have added one to your cart, simply click the "add another" button to continue.

    A screenshot of a shopping cartDescription automatically generated

    What is Inform USA Certification based on?
    The Inform USA Certification Program is based on established standards for the field of information and referral in addition to a psychometrically-based Job Task Analysis. The program identifies specific competencies and related performance criteria, which describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and work-related behaviors information and referral practitioners need to execute their duties successfully.

    What is the format of the exams?
    Each exam comprises 100 four-part multiple-choice questions. Candidates have two hours and 10 minutes to complete the exam.

    Are there provisions if English is not my first language?
    The exam is only available in English at this time. However, the proctor makes an English language dictionary available during in-person examinations if a candidate wishes to check the meaning of a specific word.

    What if I require accommodations?
    Inform USA complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable legislation by offering candidates with documented disabilities the opportunity to request necessary aids and services that do not fundamentally alter the assessment process. Please contact the Inform USA office to request assistance. Applications for accommodations must be submitted at least 45 days prior to your scheduled examination date. For persons with visual disabilities, the online test works with nearly all JAWS-type screen readers, although we will arrange a confirmation before the actual test.

    Will I learn my examination mark?
    We do not share individual marks. This is a normal practice in certification programs. These examinations are Pass or Fail. If you do not pass, you will receive a coaching report of how you performed in each area of the exam.

    How will I find out my results?
    You will receive your results by email within a minimum of 10 working days.

    What happens if I do not pass?
    You will be provided with a breakdown of your scores in the various subject elements within the exam. You can then re-take the examination for a reduced fee of $90 within 12 months of your original test (there is no need to resubmit educational back-up when applying for a re-take exam).

    How long does Inform USA Certification last?
    Your Inform USA Certification lasts for two years from the time you pass the examination. Every two years, you must apply for re-certification. You do not need to retake the examination to be re-certified but you must submit an application form that documents at least 10 hours of I&R training/professional development over that two-year period.

    What if I fail to renew my Certification?
    If you do not re-certify, then you lose your Inform USA Certification. If you wish to regain Certification, you must apply to take and, once again, pass the examination. There are certain circumstances in which flexibility can be extended -- for example, if someone has a serious illness/injury and is off work for a year or has taken extended parental leave -- providing the Inform USA office has been given this information at the earliest possible date, including a letter from your direct manager confirming the approved absence.

    Is there a complaints process?
    If any individual has an adverse experience, then please contact us at certification@informusa.org. If unsatisfied with the response, you may escalate the complaint to our Executive Director via info@informusa.org. Ultimately, an appeals process can be invoked if there is a perceived impact on an examination result. Note that an appeal can only be made on a matter of administrative error or oversight of the process. The merits or otherwise of the Certification process itself or of individual examination questions are not open for appeal. A three-person volunteer Appeals Committee appointed by the Chair of the Certification Commission handles all appeals. Their decision is final.