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

  • Publishers

  • VP Sales

  • National Account Managers & Directors

  • Senior Sales Reps

  • E-Business Managers

  • Directors

  • Marketing Managers

  • Business Development Managers

  • Print and Broadcast Sellers

  • Teams

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

For information on corporate/group certification email [email protected].

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. You can also download our Exam Blueprint. 

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. 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
  • Bloomberg
  • Break Media
  • Buzz Media
  • Carat
  • CBS Interactive
  • CNN Money
  • Collective
  • Comcast Spotlight
  • Condé Nast Media Group
  • Cox Media Group
  • Digitas
  • Discovery
  • Disney Interactive Media Group
  • ESPN
  • Everyday Health
  • Extreme Reach
  • Facebook
  • Gannett Company Inc.
  • Goodway Group
  • Google
  • Hearst Digital Media
  • Hulu
  • IDG
  • Liberty Advertising
  • Merkle
  • Mindshare
  • NBC Universal
  • Operative
  • Pulsepoint
  • Rodale
  • Rubicon
  • Theorem
  • Time Inc.
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Tremor Video
  • Triad Retail Media
  • UM
  • Undertone Networks
  • Univision Media Networks
  • USATODAY.com
  • Viacom Media Networks
  • Yahoo!

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 about Certification

I found the exam and preparation stimulating and challenging. As such, I'm proud to be IAB-certified.

 —Mark Warlaumont
Director of News and Digital Media Sales, Bright House Networks

It’s a great program and would highly recommend it to my colleagues across the industry.

 —Rich Fimbres
Senior Multimedia Sales Representative, Bloomberg Media

It keeps you up to date on digital information and what is happening in the industry...

 —Cheryl Baeszler
Digital Sales Manager, Cox Media

The IAB Certification has allowed me to understand the standards set in place...

 —Jinger Guerrette
Account Executive, Time Warner Cable Media

I have marketed myself and the companies that I have worked for with my IAB Sales Certification...

 —Alison O’Brien
Nexstar Broadcasting

This is definitely a certification I am recommending to my peers...

 —Tracy Dedeaux
Digital Sales Manager, WVUE Fox 8

The industry needs this kind of certification...

 —Marcos Christensen
Senior Director Latam South Cone, comScore, Inc.

I have learned so much and I'm so thankful that my company felt this was important...

 —Mandilyn Thompson
Account Executive, Time Warner Cable Media Sales

This is a great program and helps distinguish certified professionals as the best in the business...

 —Anna Patterson
Digital Media Specialist, Cox Media Group

Becoming IAB certified was a goal of mine...

 —Farrah Shultz
Digital Media Account Executive, Triad Retail Media

I'm very happy to have gone through the program...

 —Rob Noonan
Sales Director, Digital Shopper Marketing, Conversant Media

view all testimonials ›


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


View our Commission on Certification.