Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So what do I do now?

A primer for those currently studying for the ACE exam:

ESA is changing the ACE exam. A new content outline for the ACE has been announced and a new exam will debut on January 1, 2014.  If you are one of the several hundred people who either have recently applied or are thinking about applying to become an ACE, you may be wondering how you'll be impacted.  This blog post is designed to help you figure that out.

If you have already applied:
All current applicants are either awaiting their first test attempt or have already tested at least once and are awaiting a 2nd (or 3rd+ attempt at the ACE exam). Regardless, the following holds true and creates a "must test by" date for each applicant:
  • All applicants must test within one year of their application's acceptance, and 
  • Those who did not pass their ACE exam must wait at least 3 months but not more than 12 months to retake the ACE exam.
If your "must test by" date is December 31st or sooner, then you will test on the existing exam. If your "must test by" date is on or after January 1, 2014, you will test on the new exam. There is a retesting form to be filled out.

If you have not applied but are going to this year:
The new applications are going to be for a three-year period. As soon as an applicant passes their exam they will be ACE-certified for the balance of those three years.  So the sooner that you take and pass the exam, the longer you get to rest on your well-earned laurels.

The new application rates are simply the same fees that exist today broken out over three years.  Those who apply between now and the end of 2013 will have two options for application.
  • A single-year application is how the program exists today and is still a valid option for the remainder of 2013. If the applicant passes their exam in the first three quarters of the year, their ACE certification remains in force for the duration of that calendar year. If they pass in the 4th quarter of the year, their application fee also covers the ACE certification for the coming year. This application is via PDF and is online here.
  • New applicants will also (very soon) have the option to complete a three-year application. Upon acceptance of the application, a "clock" will start ticking off the three years. An applicant can take the exam as many times as they are able/need to within the three year window (following the guidelines above). In theory, a person can take the ACE exam up to twelve times this way (if they wait exactly the required three months minimum between exams). However, if the full three years elapse and the applicant has not passed the exam, the application automatically expires and a new application would be required to pursue ACE certification.

If you have not applied yet and are going to wait until next year:
Starting on January 1st the only option for applying to become ACE certified will be the three-year application described above in the 2nd bullet point.

If you are already an ACE:
The only ACEs that this won't apply to are those that take and pass the ACE exam from October 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 (4th quarter). Those folks will be current for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014.

For everyone else, there are two options. Both use the same renewal form (found here).

  • Renew for one year (2014).  If you choose this option you are paying for just 2014 and do not yet need to file CEUs.
  • Renew for 2014-2016. If you choose this option you are paying for three years and you will need to file CEUs.
Starting in 2015 the single-year option will go away and all ACE renewals will be for a three-year period.

If you are a former ACE or former ACE applicant:
You can reapply for ACE at any point. Your prior ACE-applicant or ACE status would neither help nor hinder your application. All applications will always be reviewed on their own merit.

If you have questions about the ACE process, contact me (Chris Stelzig) the Director of Certification for ESA.