1. Why do I need Certification?
  2. Who can become certified?
  3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?
  4. How do I apply for Certification?
  5. How much does it cost?
  6. What will be on the exam?
  7. How do I schedule my exam?
  8. How can I prepare for the exam?
  9. When do I get my exam results?
  10. How long is my Certification valid?
  11. How was the Certification developed?
  12. How is the Certification administered?
  13. How do I contact IAB Certification?
  14. How do members of International IABs participate?
  15. How do I verify that a person is an existing Certificant?
  16. How do I request a duplicate copy of my Certificate?
  17. How are Certification Decisions made?

1. Why do I need Certification?

The digital advertising marketplace grows more complex daily, making it more critical than ever to master the latest trends and changes.

This program ensures that Ad Operations professionals have the knowledge to make campaigns run efficiently. With the proliferation of more and more platforms and channels, ad units and formats, and metrics and tools, standardized skills are absolutely necessary to remain competitive.

2. Who can become certified?

The exam is designed for digital ad operations professionals with at least 2 years of relevant experience. See eligibility requirements here.

3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?

This is the first industry-led, professional certification program for the digital ad operations industry. While many training companies say they offer ‘Certification’, they often really mean a ‘Certificate’. ‘Certification’ is different than ‘Certificate’ programs in the following ways:

Certification Certificate
Results from an assessment process Results from an educational process
Awarded by a standard-setting organization Awarded by institutions
Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a set of standards by an exam Indicates completion of a course or series of courses other than a degree program
Standards set through industry-wide process (job analysis/task analysis) that results in an outline of required knowledge and skills Course content set by trainers
Has on-going requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time

Source: http://www.cfre.org/apply/certificate-vs-certification/

4. How do I apply for Certification?

Start your application here. If you meet our eligibility requirements, your application will be approved in 2-3 business days and you will receive a notification from [email protected] authorizing you to schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.

5. How much does it cost?

2015 Pricing IAB Member Non-Member
Exam Fee (includes a $50 non-refundable application fee) $500 $750
Retake Fee $125 $175
Cancellation fee
(with > 24 hours notice)
$0 (exam fee refunded)
Cancellation fee
(with < 24 hours notice,
i.e. “No Show”)

$75 ($95 if outside U.S. or Canada)

Recertification (includes $50 non-refundable application fee. Recertification costs are the same if you earn and submit Continuing Education credits or retake the exam.)



Additional Certificates $25.00 each

*Pricing subject to change

If you are interested in corporate rates for sales teams please email [email protected] with:

  • Your name and title
  • Company name
  • Number of sales people to be certified

6. What will be on the exam?

The two-hour exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions covering seven basic areas:

  1. Executing Campaign Launch
  2. Managing Live Campaign
  3. Managing Emerging Technologies
  4. Creating, Maintaining, and Documenting Product Offerings
  5. Managing Incidents
  6. Inventory Management and Integrity
  7. Managing Client and Partner Relationships

We recommend you download our Candidate Handbook and Digital Ad Operations Certification Exam Blueprint for more information here.

7. How do I schedule my exam?

The certification exam is offered at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States and select global sites. The exam is offered on a quarterly basis; registration is open year-around. Find a Pearson VUE testing center near you. Once your application is approved, you will have up to six months (or two testing windows) to schedule and take your exam. All scheduling needs, including rescheduling or cancellation, are completed with Pearson VUE via phone or online.

We recommend scheduling your exam as soon as possible to assure the best selection of testing locations and times.

2015 -2016 Testing Windows
Begins Ends
July 1, 2015 July 31, 2015
October 1, 2015
October 31, 2015
January 1, 2016 January 31, 2016
April 1, 2016 April 30, 2016

American with Disabilities (ADA) Accommodations:

IAB complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). To request special testing accommodations, please submit the ADA Accommodations Request Form along with supporting documentation to [email protected].

8. How can I prepare for the exam?

Preparation Materials
We recommend you download the Candidate Handbook and Exam Blueprint here.

9. When do I get my exam results?

Exam results are given immediately at the testing site along with a brief diagnostic report on each of the exam categories. The Commission on Certification will send you an official notification of pass/fail status by email within four weeks after the testing window closes. Successful candidates will receive a printed certificate by mail shortly after.

10. How long is my Certification valid?

Once you pass the exam, your certification will be valid for two years. A specific amount of continuing education and/or training is required to recertify. See Recertification Guidelines for more information. For questions, email [email protected].

11. How was the Certification developed?

IAB developed the program in partnership with Professional Testing Inc., a leader in certification program development in a number of industries and professions. Many IAB member companies also participated in developing the certification:

  • AOL
  • Carat
  • Disney Interactive
  • Facebook
  • FreeWheel
  • Google
  • Hulu
  • MediaCom
  • Mindshare
  • NBC Universal
  • Operative
  • Pandora
  • Pictela
  • PointRoll
  • The Rubicon Project
  • Theorem Inc.
  • Tribune Digital
  • Universal McCann
  • Univision
  • YouTube

12. How is the Certification administered?

The IAB Digital Ad Operations Certification is governed and administered by the Commission on Certification. The Commission on Certification is responsible for all decisions related to certification. The certification program operates separately from other IAB programs, products and services.

13. How do I contact IAB Certification?

You can email our Certification team at [email protected].

14. How do members of International IABs participate?

IAB works alongside International IABs to offer the Certification program for their members. Please reach out to your local IAB about participation and information on registering.

15. How do I verify that a person is an existing Certificant?

The Certification Department of IAB shall release the name and certification status of certificants who have successfully completed the Digital Certification examinations and who have met all certification requirements, upon request. Please email Certification Department of IAB at [email protected] with the candidates full name, company and title.

16. How do I request a duplicate copy of my Certificate?

Certificants can request a duplicate certificate or request a new certificate due to name change by emailing the Certification Department of IAB at [email protected].

17. How are Certification Decisions made?

The Certification Commission Policies guide all decisions on certification and are disclosed in the IAB Certification Program Policy Manual.  Certification personnel are required to follow the procedures in administering and operating the certification program. See IAB Certification Policies.

Participating Companies Include

See what they're saying about Digital Media Sales Certification

Certification provides me greater trust and credibility with my agency and client partners when discussing campaign implementation, analytics & measurement.

 — Benjamin Streeter, Account Executive, Sony Pictures/Crackle

I saw a job posting online recently that required this certification... That speaks volumes to me.

 —Chip Dillard, Digital Media Operations Manager, Comcast Spotlight

People are impressed and as it demonstrates a high level of competency in our industry.

 —Vincent Dunleavy, Account Executive, NBC Universal Digital Entertainment

My employer thinks it helps us stand out from the competition. My clients have found it more interesting that I have the certification over my agencies.

 —Nicole Hart, Account Executive, DailyCandy

Everybody is excited that there is an industry standard and that Yahoo! is willing to invest in our training outside the company.

 —Michael Shipley, Account Director, Yahoo!

It has given me additional credibility with my peers in the digital media field. I explain it to advertisers as something that makes my company and the services we provide stand apart from our competitors.

 —Alison O'Brien, Digital Product Manager, The Roanoke Times

I believe that by having the Digital Media Sales Certification that my clients and colleagues put more trust and value in my opinions and recommendations.

 —Steve Horn, Digital Account Executive, NBC Interactive

This education is needed, especially for former print sellers.

 —Brian Mitchell, Sales Director, Time Inc.

I have received positive feedback in response to the fact that I am certified from the marketplace. It provides a certified person greater respect in the industry and trust.

 —Kelly Iannaci, Sr. Account Manager, Disney Interactive

I have received accolades through LinkedIn.

 —Kevin DeSchaaf, Account Executive, BBC

Agencies have appreciated that my company mandated that our entire team of sales reps become certified. It shows that we mean business and are investing time and interest in being a reputable and strategic partner they can trust.

 —Annie Merriman, Account Executive, Collective

I think it is a fantastic way to elevate yourself in a highly competitive sales industry. I've also really appreciated the learning community, built up around the linked in group as well.

 —Jennifer Postlethwait, Manager, NBC Universal

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What's the difference between Professional Certification and a Certificate? Click here.


View our Commission on Certification.