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|Frequently Asked Questions About WCAA Certifications and the Exams
Q: What are the criteria to become certified by the WCAA?
In order to be considered for certification, each applicant must submit five photographs demonstrating knowledge in the area requesting certification. As part of the determination, pictures of projects must be included with the initial package. Each photo/project must be one which is covered in the area of study. For instance, for the CWTW, one photo might be of a roman shade with the appropriate safety devices; for the CWTC, one photo might be one demonstrating proper proportion and/or scale. These photos will not be returned so please be sure you have a copy for yourself. In addition, you will be asked to describe your business, experience and any educational programs, seminars, webinars, etc which you have attended to strengthen your experience. You can view more information on recertification on our Certification page.
Q: Do I need to be a member to purchase the Certified Window Treatment Consultant (CWTC) or Certified Window Treatment Workroom (CWTW) certification materials?
No, you do not need to be a member to purchase and hold our designations.
Q: Is certification in one of the WCAA areas a requirement for membership?
WCAA Certification is not a requirement for membership, but it is strongly encouraged. Becoming certified in your area of expertise establishes you as an expert in your field, shows that you are motivated to learn and demonstrates that you understand the standards required to deliver a quality product.
Q: Once certified, am I required to keep the certification current?
Yes. Lifelong learning is
an important part of the soft furnishings industry and allows consumers
to build trust in the quality and expertise of the soft furnishings
industry in general, and you, specifically. Certification requires continuing education in business and your specialty area - 10 credits every two years after the initial two years of certification. If your certification lapses after two years, you will be required to retake the test to keep your certification current. You can view more information on recertification on our Certification page.
Q: How much do the programs cost?
There is a non refundable application fee of $50 for NEW certifications only. That fee is good for one year from date of application and covers reviewing the 5 pieces of documentation, communication with the member, and administrative duties.
The study guide for each certification may be purchased as a one time download for $35 or $50 buys hard copy mailed to your address. Replacement copies are charged the same as initial copies.
There is a test fee of $175 per certification for the initial sitting. If you are not successful in your initial exam sitting, you may retake the test for a $75 fee within 3 months of initial testing, or a $175 fee if you choose to retake the test more than 90 days after the original try.
Q: Once I've completed my studies and am ready, how do I take the exam?
The WCAA has invested in a state of the art online testing system. Once your application is approved you will receive login information for the testing system. When you are ready, all you will need is an internet connection to sign into the exam testing system. You take the exam at the time of your choosing. Our preferred browsers are Internet Explorer, Google and Firefox.
Q: When I register for one of the programs, do I have to take my exam within a certain period of time?
Once you are registered, you have up to a year to prepare for the exam. Once you are ready to take the exam, simply sign into the tester using the log in and password supplied when you purchase the certification.
Q: What if I miss the deadline and don't get to my exam within the year?
Contact National office at 888-298-9222 and we can offer you an extension. There are fees associated with the extension.
Q: Do I need to do anything special to take the exam on-line?
When you purchase the certification, your package of materials comes with a letter outlining your user name and password for the exam. You will also have received an email from National Office with this information. If you have misplaced these things, you can call the WCAA National office at 888-298-9222 or email us at email@example.com and we will provide them to you.
Q: How long is the exam?
You are allotted 2.5 hours to complete your exam.
Q: Do I need to complete the exam in one sitting?
Yes, you do. Once you begin the clock starts on your 2.5 hours and you must complete the full exam in that time period.
Q: What is the format of the exam?
Each exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions, true-false questions and other similar types of questions.
Q: Can I use my books, notes, study guides or a crib sheet during the exam? Is it open book?
The exam is closed book. No aids are allowed.
Q: What score do I need to achieve to pass the exam?
You need to achieve at least an 80% or better to pass.
Q: What do I get when I pass?
You get a certificate that identifies you as a CWTC or a CWTW, a special lapel pin, a press release template and logos to use on your website and business cards.
Q: How long is the initial certification valid and is there a fee to keep my certifications current?
The initial certification period is two years. You may recertify in two year increments by submitting proof of continuing education and the fees below.
Certification renewal is $75 for each certification areaQ: What do I have to do to keep my certification current?
There are a variety of activities you can take part in for each specialty area, as well as general business activities. These include attending tradeshows, doing book reviews, attending hands-on workshops and writing how-to articles. For more information on recertification credit options please visit our Certification page.
Q: How many continuing education credits must I take?
WCAA requires successful completion of 10 credits during the two-year recertification period. Four credits must be in business and the remaining credits in the specialty area. The credits have different values, so you can break them up into 6 credits the first half of the period and 4 the second, or 5 and 5, 7 and 3, etc. We don't recommend, however, waiting until the last month of the two-year period to complete all 10 credits. For more information on recertification credits please visit our Certification page.
Q: May I count continuing education credits I've already accrued outside of this time period?
No, you may not 'bank' credits from one reporting period to the next. You may only count those hours taken during the specified two-year reporting period. The only exception is if you've passed your certification exams before January 1, 2010, and you attended Inspire 2011, you may include appropriate show-related credits for the January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013 reporting period.
Q: My clients don't seem overly concerned if I'm certified. Why should I to to the trouble of becoming certified and keeping up my credits?
Perhaps your clients care more than you think. One of the best things you can do is educate them about your certification and the new things you learn to stay current with your certification and the window coverings/soft furnishings industry, and then demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge. The more your clients know about your achievements, the more you'll set yourself apart from your competitors. Posting the WCAA certification logos on your website and printed promotional materials will help you gain credibility with your clients.
Q: Who are approved continuing education credit providers?
Your continuing education is more about what you learn rather than where you learn it. WCAA will recognize continuing education coursework (courses, workshops, distance learning programs, conferences, seminars, webinars, etc.) from a variety of providers, including WCAA Industry Partners and other industry-related organizations (e.g., ASID, IDS, NKBA). To view more information on recertification credit options please visit our Certification page.
Q: Is there any limitation on the subject matter of my continuing education?
Yes and no. The opportunities for continuing education are vast within the business and specialty area sections. These activities are clearly defined in the recertification documents.
Q: What if I've completed an activity that isn't on the list of approved activities and I want to use it to fulfill my requirement?
We're open to exploring other types of activities to complete your business and specialty area credits. If you encounter or think of something you believe would be a good type of activity, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What records will I have to keep?
It is the responsibility of each certified WCAA member to maintain personal files documenting successful completion of all continuing education credits. WCAA requires an education credit form and defined documentation (per recertification document) for each activity submitted for credit. This documentation (the recertification submission form and supporting documentation) should also be maintained by you for four years from the date of credit completion. If you are selected for an audit, you must present WCAA with any additional detailed information requested. To view the recertification documents visit our Certification page.
Q: What is the cost for the continuing education program?
Recertification is required every two (2) years. Recertification for members is $75. Non member recertification is $95.
Q: What is the recertification period?
The grid below defines the re-certification dependent upon your original certification date.
Q: What if there are special circumstances that prevent me from earning my credits?
The WCAA may grant an adjustment to the requirement for poor health, certified by a physician; a specific physical or mental disability, certified by an appropriate health care professional; extended duty with the armed forces; or for extreme hardship, which, in the WCAA's judgment, makes it impossible for the member to comply. Requests for an adjustment to the continuing education requirement must be made no less than three months before the end of the current reporting period. This request must be sent to email@example.com.
Q: I just completed my certification and am in my first reporting period. Do I immediately need to begin taking continuing education?
The grid will define when your recertification cycle begins.
Q: Who gets audited?
A random audit of WCAA-certified members will be held during each recertification cycle to check for compliance.
Q: What will I have to provide if there is an audit of my continuing education records?
If you are selected for an audit, you must present WCAA with a printed copy of the Continuing Education Credit Form for each activity plus any supporting documentation completed during the reporting period being audited.
Q: What if I fail to complete the required number of credits by the end of the reporting period?
The WCAA, at its discretion, may issue you a conditional extension (probationary period) during which you will be required to remedy the continuing education deficiency. If the requirement remains unmet during the next reporting period, your certification status will be discontinued, and you'll need to pay for, retake and pass the appropriate test to regain your certification status.
Those who are found to be not compliant with the credits and annual maintenance fees, will have 60 days to complete the paperwork for the recertification cycle and pay any delinquent maintenance fees. At the end of the 60-day period if all criteria have not been met, then certification will be revoked and you will be notified. To reinstate certification, you must take the appropriate exam again. If all criteria are met within that 60-day period, you will maintain an active status with certification.
Q: If I don't recertify, may I still be a member of the WCAA?
Your basic WCAA membership will not be affected by your certification/recertification status.
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