1. Shall there be a maximum of three attempts per year per applicant at passing the OMCA or OMCP exams?
OMCP currently limits exam attempts to three per year based on precedents set by other professional certification groups.
- Limiting exam attempts supports exam security.
- Three attempts may be too limiting for those for whom English is not their primary language, or for those who have test anxiety or disabilities that affect exam taking.
2. Shall OMCP require that all three exam components of the OMCP exam be successfully completed within three (3) months of the first exam date? Or shall OMCP require that all three exam components of the OMCP exam be successfully completed within six (6) months of the first exam date?
The OMCP exam consists of a base exam that tests conceptual skills across multiple disciplines and two subject matter exams of the applicant’s choosing that test practitioner-level knowledge in two disciplines. Online Marketing is a rapidly changing field. OMCP’s current working assumption is that three-months between taking the first component and the last component of the OMCP exam is optimal. OMCP assumes that allowing more than six months between exam components could lead to out-of-date or incomplete information in an applicant’s knowledge.
Pros for requiring that all three components of the OMCP exam be completed within three months of the first exam date:
- Updates to exams (whole or in part) may need to occur as frequently as every six months to stay in synch with changes in best practices.
- Extending the window for successful completion could present complications for both exam takers and exam implementation.
- Applicants may complain that courses taken in preparation for the exam did not cover critical areas of the exam.
- Topics and questions within the exam may change considerably from the time an applicant begins the exam and the time they eventually complete, which could lead to confusion and complaints.
Cons for requiring that all three components of the OMCP exam be completed within three months of the first exam date:
- Accessibility to proper equipment and a proper test-taking environment may be fairly limited for some applicants, introducing scheduling complications that might necessitate a longer period between exams.
- Needing to cover the fees for multiple attempts may limit how quickly some applicants can reschedule their attempts, and could also introduce scheduling complications that might necessitate a longer period between exams.
3. Shall the applicant’s certification date continue to be the date on which the applicant is approved for certification?
For many professional certification programs, the certification date is determined by successful completion of the certification exam. OMCP, on the other hand, allows requirements to be filled in the order that best suits an applicant’s education, career path, or status.
- Changing the current convention could introduce confusion for applicants.
- Completing requirements in any order (course, exam, experience hours, degree) may be more convenient for applicants in certain programs.
- Not having a consistent certification date for all could increase complexity and understanding around extension and re-certification.
4. Shall OMCP require that any course completed in partial fulfillment of initial certification requirements (not for PDUs) be fulfilled no more than twelve months prior to the date of certification?
Online Marketing is a rapidly changing field. OMCP’s working assumption is that allowing more than twelve months between certification requirements could lead to out-of-date or incomplete information in an applicant’s knowledge.
- By setting a time limit on fulfilling requirements OMCP can ensure that the certifications have more parity between professionals and that every professional has been exposed to and can work to current standards.
- Different registered education providers have different terms for their programs, with some implementing their programs across an academic calendar and others implementing theirs within shorter time frames, or even allowing applicants to self-pace towards course completion.
5. Shall OMCP maintain the current requirement, that PDUs must be completed no more than 90 days before one’s certificate expires? Or shall we extend the PDU completion date requirement to 6 months?
OMCP certificates expire after one year. PDUs (known in other certification programs as CEU, SEU, etc.) can be used to extend one’s OMCP or OMCA certification by one additional year. Currently PDUs must be completed within 90 days prior to certification expiration to be valid for an extension.
Pros for extending the PDU completion date:
- Extending the time prior to certification extension that an applicant can fulfill on PDUs could give more people a greater opportunity of using the PDU method for extending (versus renewing) their certification.
- This could allow more flexibility to users both in terms of costs to extend certification and as an alternative to exams, which are required for full re-certification.
- Completing 100 PDUs within 90 days can be challenging.
Cons against extending the PDU completion date:
- In a field that changes as quickly as online marketing, information that is six months old may no longer be current.
6. Shall the current list of PDU-Qualified activities approved for certification extension remain unchanged for the remainder of 2015, with the understanding that this list will grow?
PDUs can used to extend one’s OMCP or OMCA certification by one additional year. See the current list of PDU-Qualified activities at https://omcp.org/professional-development-units/
- Using PDUs for extension of certification is still relatively new. Leaving the requirements the same for now will allow us to see how the those requirements play out and where there may need to be adjustment, based on real-user experience.
- There are many reputable and well-recognized short courses and longer term certification programs, not yet recognized as PDU-Qualified, that are helping professionals stay on top of changing tactics and practices.
7. Shall the OMCP certification requirement of “a post-secondary degree” be changed to “a post-secondary degree OR 5,000 hours of relevant experience within the past 8 years”?
Current OMCP certification requirements are:
- Pass the OMCP Exam
- Possess a post-secondary degree
- Attest to 1,000 hours of experience in the field and demonstrate successful completion of a course,
- Attest to 2,000 hours of experience (no course work required)
- A significant percentage of professionals in online marketing entered the field as it was emerging and did not attend a four year post-secondary program who would, thereby, not be eligible for certification.
- By increasing the work experience requirement we could potentially pull more of those people into the certification fold.
- OMCP strongly supports the value that an academic background brings to the professionalism of the field.
- In some industries, professionals who possess a post-secondary degrees are more likely to advance to leadership roles and to have greater influence within their industries. If a post-secondary degree is not required, the OMCP certification may be perceived as not having parity with other professional certifications that require such a degree.
8. Shall the number of experience hours in the online marketing field, required for OMCA (associate-level) certification, be increased from the current requirement of 600 hours to require 900 hours of experience?
OMCA is an entry level certification. Current OMCA requirements are:
- Pass an OMCA exam
- Possess a secondary degree or equivalent
- Successfully pass an approved course within the past 6 months
- Attest to 600 hours of experience in the field (no course required)
- By setting the experience bar slightly higher for OMCA certification, more applicants will have a broader context for how online marketing is used in the real world and may therefore be more successful at passing exams and performing in the field than those who have less experience.
- Because online marketing is now being taught and embraced in academic programs, requiring fewer experience hours for associate certification may enable a larger number of new graduates to certify as they complete academic programs/internships, if the experience requirement is left at 600 hours.
9. Does Marketing Automation have enough industry relevance to support its inclusion as its own online marketing discipline or should it become part of the Email Marketing discipline?
Although some registered education providers may offer Marketing Automation as a course or as an addendum to email marketing, Marketing Automation is not currently a core discipline in the OMCP exam.
Pros for inclusion of Marketing Automation as its own discipline:
- For companies who can invest in lead generation and nurturing, marketing automation has begun to subsume straight email marketing as a tactic of choice. Professionals seeking certification from those companies may find inclusion of traditional email marketing a waste of training time and seek training and certification specifically in Marketing Automation elsewhere.
Pros for inclusion of Marketing Automation with Email Marketing:
- In online marketing, many new tactics evolve from existing tactics. Introducing the new discipline of Marketing Automation into the current Email Marketing discipline may serve to introduce people who are certifying in email marketing to the new discipline before their companies demand it. This could mean OMCP certified email marketers could demonstrate to their companies that certification courses give them an edge by staying ahead of the curve and providing insight into evolving disciplines and approaches.
Cons against inclusion of Marketing Automation as its own discipline:
- Introducing new disciplines requires new infrastructure support (faculty, curriculum, exams) from registered education providers and requires a basic set of best practices and standards that are defensible and robust. Registered education providers and OMCP need to have the resources in place before spinning off any new discipline.
Cons against inclusion of Marketing Automation with Email Marketing:
- Marketing automation’s emphasis is on the sales-cycle and on relevant and personalized conversations between known leads. It requires additional skills and tools as compared with traditional email marketing. Trying to cover both in one course may prove daunting or may short change one approach or the other.
10. Shall the following list continue to represent the core disciplines covered by OMCP for exams and competency standards for the remainder of the calendar year 2015?
- Conversion & Landing Page Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing (included within OMCA and OMCP Base exams only)
- Mobile Marketing
- Paid Search Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Marketing
- Web Analytics
Professionals in the field concurred in our last Role Definition Study that these are currently the primary disciplines for online marketing.
- These disciplines have emerged naturally over the past years of evolution in the field.
- These disciplines have been vetted.
- Curriculum and exams have been created and tested for these disciplines.
- Registered education providers have demonstrated that they have available to them a superior faculty pool with extensive real-world experience in these fields.
- As an ever-evolving field Online Marketing should demonstrate its currency by adding new disciplines as soon as possible when they emerge.
11. Shall the fee structures of $275 Registered Education Provider application fee and $2,000 minimum course review remain in place for the calendar year 2015?
The fees for REPs reflect those fees that current REPs pay.
- Keeping fees as they are until the end of this calendar year could stabilize the requirements and expectations for Registered Education Providers and allow OMCP to determine rate changes based on real-world feedback.
- Raising fees might ensure that only training providers with proven track records would apply for registered education status and possibly improve the overall program.
- Reducing fees could mean that more REPs serving a broader constituency could come on board, and increase certification, introduce greater competition among training providers, and possibly improve the overall program.