CPWA Certified!

5 weeks after sitting for the CPACC exam (end of December), I received an e-mail congratulating me on passing the Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Concepts (CPACC) certification exam, established by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). What a great way to end my work week! Once again I’d managed to exceed the pass score (and my expectations) with a score of 731 on a scale of 200-800.

At the end of 2018 I began my certification journey, starting with the WAS exam. Setting aside 100 days to study to be a Web Accessibility Specialist, I claimed my WAS certification in May 2019. I was ecstatic and invigorated. If I could do that, maybe I could go ahead and fulfill my desire to go all the way for CPWA (Certified Professional in Web Accessibility) by studying for the CPACC. I’d have to take a break over the summer to put focus back on other parts of my job. My intentions didn’t waiver, and I received support, once again, from my employer to study for and take the CPACC exam in mid-December 2019.

45 days of self-directed study, working through Deque’s CPACC certification courses, asking questions to experts, and digging through online resources truly paid off when it came to achieving my ultimate goal. During that study I felt that the generalized information wasn’t as easy to consume as the technical information, and that I may just fail on the second half. Despite my ups and downs, I persevered in determination.

Special thanks, once again, to so many who helped me get this far:

  • IAAP for giving me another opportunity to further my education and improve my craft,
  • the Alaska State Libraries, Archives, & Museums for supporting my continuing education,
  • the State of Alaska webmasters and our ADA coordinator who cheered me and expected so much of me,
  • my friends with disabilities who openly received more of my questions,
  • my family for being supportive and understanding that this is something I needed to spend time on at home,
  • Deque University for awarding me a scholarship, enabling me to take their courses, and
  • the Twitter, Slack, and LinkedIn web a11y (accessibility) communities for answering my questions and cheering me on; there are just too many names to mention without leaving someone out!

I wish I could list all the specific individuals that cheered and encouraged me all the way, but I’d feel bad about leaving out a name.

If you’re still considering getting certified at any level… do it! Not so much for the certificate, but for the chance to deepen and broaden your own understanding of web accessibility and people with disabilities. Do it to make yourself a better web designer and developer. You can do this. Stay motivated, understanding that the more you know and practice, the more you’re helping build a better web for everyone.

I am now Amy Carney, Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA), and I am still learning. Web accessibility is my passions, so contact me through my blog if you have web accessibility questions or want to share your own lived experience. Or just say “hello” to me on Twitter where I talk about this stuff a lot. For now, I’ll be out here, doing the work, and hoping to inspire a few other people to join in, helping to change minds and policies. And maybe even do some celebrating after this huge accomplishment.

6 thoughts on “CPWA Certified!”

  1. Great work! And, thank you for making this blog – I just started reading it. I’m planning on getting certified this year. 🙂


    1. Thank you for your kind words! And you are welcome. It’s been an added bonus meeting others who are getting certified. How is your studying going?


  2. Congratulations. Keep on the great work with this blog. Despite the challenges I am overcoming to keep at it, I’m still motivated to become a certified professional in web accessibility. I think one of the challenges is finding the online communities to network on a regular basis (once a week or something like that).

    Any suggestions?


    1. Hi, Mark! Thank you so much. I’ve found the Web A11y Slack group (web-a11y.slack.com) has been great for asking questions of all types. If you send your email through my contact form, I’ll send you an invite from Slack.


  3. Hello
    Congratulations on your achievements!
    And thanks for creating this blog.

    I intend to become an accessibility tester, and I am not aiming at fixing or designing the web applications myself .

    I am not a programmer , so no knowledge of coding. Please advice where do I start!
    Is preparing and taking up CPACC first better or just the “Web accessibility QA testing” course from Deuque or should I directly plunge into WAS?

    Also Please advice if there are any support groups for same or resources you would suggest.

    Thanks in advance


    1. Thank you!

      There are trusted tester certifications, dependent on your location, that are separate from IAAP certifications. Personally, I’ve looked at preparing for the Section 508 Trusted Tester certification.

      That being said, Deque coursework is fantastic for learning! Trying to aim for WAS with no prior HTML or JS knowledge may prove to be very challenging, and is usually not recommended by IAAP. CPACC is a good start when learning about people with disabilities and advocating for them. It’s not necessarily web-focused, so I’m not sure if that’s your endpoint.

      Whichever journey you take, I wish you the best of luck!


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