Friday, May 9, 2014

ACE fees explained

We've had some questions come in to ESA about how the new fees for ACE work (see Questions #7 and 8 on this post). Here is my attempt to explain the process as succinctly as possible.

The old system (which went away on January 1, 2014) required an application fee and then --upon passing their exam-- most people had to renew their ACE again right away. The new structure flips that on its head and now most people will remain ACE certified and not need to worry about renewing their certification for several years after they pass the exam.  Overall the fees remain about the same for most people, so this change is not a fee increase -- it is a restructuring.

ACE application and renewal date rules:
  1. All applicants must take their exam within 1 year of the application's acceptance
  2. If unsuccessful, the applicant must wait at least 3 months but not more than 1 year from their earlier attempt
  3. All applicants must ultimately pass the ACE exam within 3 years of application acceptance or the application will expire
    1. If the application is accepted in the first half of the year it will expire on December 31st, two years hence
    2. If the application is accepted in the second half of the year it will expire on December 31st, three years hence
  4. Once an applicant passes the exam they are ACE certified until the end of the initial 3-year term.
  5. When it is time to renew the ACE certification, the renewal term is for 3 calendar years.
Everything that ESA does is based on the calendar year, however, which complicates this model a little bit. Applications accepted in Jan-June will be a little less than 3 years and applications accepted July-December will be a little longer than 3-years in terms of their ACE certification when they pass. Here are some examples of how this plays out:

(a) Example #1 - John's application is accepted on 2/1/2014 and he tests and passes his ACE on 9/1/2014. His application lifespan is from 2/1/2014 and he will remain ACE certified until the end of the 3-year term (12/31/2016) which is a few months short of the 3-year period.

(b) Example #2 - Jane's application is accepted on 8/1/2014 and she tests/passes later that month. Her application lifespan is from 8/1/2014 and she will remain ACE certified until 12/31/2017 (since she applied in the second half of the year). Her application lifespan is thus a little longer than 3 years.