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?

Advertising buyers and agencies told us that they wanted an industry benchmark for digital sales professionals, to ensure a deeper level of trust in the process of creating digital media packages.

The Digital Media Sales Certification was created to fulfill this demand. It provides a standard for advertising salespeople to demonstrate their general knowledge and commitment towards their trade and provides a higher credibility for buyers. Candidates achieve credentials, knowledge, and confidence in how they do their job. Certification enhances their marketability in the industry.

2. Who can become certified?

The exam is designed for media and sales professionals with at least 2-5 years of relevant experience. See eligibility requirements here.

  • Digital Media Salespeople
  • Traditional Media Salespeople
  • Other Digital Advertising Professionals

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

This is the first industry-led, professional certification program for the digital media 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 Members Non-Members
Exam Fee Effective January 1, 2015 (includes a $50 non-refundable application fee) $500 $600
Retake Fee (if candidate does not pass the first time) $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)

Re-certification (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 four basic areas:

  1. Comprehending the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
  2. Selling Digital Media
  3. Managing Digital Advertising Campaigns
  4. Analyzing Campaign Performances

We recommend you download our Study Guide and Candidate Handbook for more information here. Once your application is approved you can download a Practice Exam with a full answer key.

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 (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 Testing Window
Begins Ends
August 1, 2015 August 31, 2015
November 1, 2015 November 30, 2015
February 1, 2016 February 28, 2016
May 1, 2016 May 31, 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?

  1. Preparation Materials
    We recommend you download the Study Guide, Candidate Handbook and Exam Blueprint here. A 25-question Practice Test is available to all candidates after their application has been approved, and will be included in your acceptance email.
  2. Training
    In most cases training is not a pre-requisite for taking the Certification exam. However many candidates have found that a class helps them prepare. We have gathered list of professional trainers here if you are interested.

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 four exam categories, which can be printed for you at the testing site. The Commission on Certification will send you an official notification of pass/fail status by email within four weeks after the testing window closes.

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
  • BBC Worldwide
  • Break Media
  • Buzz Media
  • CBS Interactive
  • CNN Money
  • Collective
  • Comcast Spotlight
  • Condé Nast Media Group
  • Disney Interactive Media Group
  • Everyday Health
  • Freewheel
  • Gannett Company Inc.
  • Goodway Group
  • Google
  • Hearst Digital Media
  • Hulu
  • IDG
  • Liberty Advertising
  • Live Intent
  • Mojiva
  • NBC Universal
  • Operative
  • Real Media Group
  • Rodale
  • The 614 Group
  • Time Inc.
  • Tremor Video
  • Triad Retail Media
  • Undertone Networks
  • Univision Media Networks
  • USATODAY.com
  • Viacom Media Networks
  • WhitePages

12. How is the Certification administered?

The IAB Digital Media Sales 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.

Companies with Certified Sales Staff Include

See what they're saying

Yahoo has made IAB Certification requisite course work for the sales organization. IAB Certification shows a commitment to continued learning in the ever changing digital landscape. Ultimately growing sales revenue starts with trust and IAB acts as a cornerstone of that foundation.

 —David Dembowski, Category Sales Director - CPG, Yahoo

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

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

view all testimonials ›


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


View our Commission on Certification.