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.

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