IAB Digital Media Sales Certification: FAQs

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  1. Why do I need Certification?
  2. Who can become certified?
  3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?
  4. How do I apply for Certification?
  5. How much does it cost?
  6. What will be on the exam?
  7. How do I schedule my exam?
  8. How can I prepare for the exam?
  9. When do I get my exam results?
  10. What Exclusive Benefits Do IAB Certification Holders Receive?
  11. How long is my Certification valid?
  12. How was the Certification developed?
  13. How is the Certification administered?
  14. How do I contact IAB Certification?
  15. How do members of International IABs participate?
  16. How do I verify that a person is an existing Certificant?
  17. How do I request a duplicate copy of my Certificate?
  18. How are Certification Decisions made?
  19. What happens if I fail the exam?

1. Why do I need Certification?

Advertising buyers and agencies told us that they wanted an industry benchmark for digital sales professionals, to ensure a deeper level of trust in the process of creating digital media packages. The Digital Media Sales Certification was created to fulfill this demand. It provides a standard for advertising salespeople to demonstrate their general knowledge and commitment towards their trade and provides a higher credibility for buyers. Candidates achieve credentials, knowledge, and confidence in how they do their job. Certification enhances their marketability in the industry.

2. Who can become certified?

The exam is designed for media and sales professionals with at least 2-5 years of relevant experience. See eligibility requirements here.

  • Digital Media Salespeople
  • Traditional Media Salespeople
  • Other Digital Advertising Professionals

3. What is the difference between ‘Certification’ and a ‘Certificate’?

This is the first industry-led, professional certification program for the digital media industry. While many training companies say they offer ‘Certification’, they often really mean a ‘Certificate’. ‘Certification’ is different than ‘Certificate’ programs in the following ways:

Certification Certificate
Results from an assessment process Results from an educational process
Awarded by a standard-setting organization Awarded by institutions
Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a set of standards by an exam Indicates completion of a course or series of courses other than a degree program
Standards set through industry-wide process (job analysis/task analysis) that results in an outline of required knowledge and skills Course content set by trainers
Has on-going requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time

4. How do I apply for Certification?

Start your application here. If you meet our eligibility requirements, your application will be approved in 2-3 business days and you will receive a notification from [email protected] authorizing you to schedule your exam with Pearson VUE.

5. How much does it cost?

IAB Members Non-Members
Exam Fee Effective January 1, 2015 (includes a $50 non-refundable application fee) $500 $600
Retake Fee (if candidate does not pass the first time) $125 $175
Cancellation fee (with > 24 hours notice) $0 (exam fee refunded)
Cancellation fee (with < 24 hours notice, i.e. “no show”) $75 ($95 if outside U.S. or Canada)
Re-certification (includes $50 recertification application fee) $175 $225
Additional Certificates $25.00 each

If you are interested in corporate rates for sales teams please email [email protected] with:

  • Your name and title
  • Company name
  • Number of sales people to be certified

6. What will be on the exam?

The two-hour exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions covering four basic areas:

  1. Comprehending the Digital Advertising Ecosystem
  2. Selling Digital Media
  3. Managing Digital Advertising Campaigns
  4. Analyzing Campaign Performances

We recommend you download our Study Guide and Candidate Handbook for more information from our Study Resources. Once your application is approved you can download a Practice Exam with a full answer key.

7. How do I schedule my exam?

The certification exam is offered at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States and select global sites. The exam is offered on a continuous basis; registration is open year-around. Find a Pearson VUE testing center near you. Once your application is approved, you will have six months from your acceptance date to schedule and take your exam. All scheduling needs, including rescheduling or cancellation, are completed with Pearson VUE via phone or online. We recommend scheduling your exam as soon as possible to assure the best selection of testing locations and times.

American with Disabilities (ADA) Accommodations: IAB complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). To request special testing accommodations, please submit the ADA Accommodations Request Form along with supporting documentation to [email protected].

8. How can I prepare for the exam?

  1. Preparation Materials We recommend you download the Study Guide, Candidate Handbook and Exam Blueprint from our Study Resources. A 25-question Practice Test is available to all candidates after their application has been approved, and will be included in your acceptance email.
  2. Training In most cases training is not a pre-requisite for taking the Certification exam. However many candidates have found that a class helps them prepare. We have gathered list of professional trainers here if you are interested.
    • IAB Online Digital Media Sales Exam Prep now available – learn more here. Disclaimer: IAB Exam Preparatory Courses do not guarantee passage of the IAB Certification Exam. Please see IAB Certification Policies regarding training.

9. When do I get my exam results?

Exam results are given immediately at the testing site along with a brief diagnostic report on each of the four exam categories, which can be printed for you at the testing site. The Commission on Certification will send you an official notification of pass/fail status by email within four weeks after the testing window closes.

10. What Exclusive Benefits Do IAB Certification Holders Receive?

IAB Certification Holders receive exclusive discounts to events, conferences, a digital Adweek subscription and more. Learn more here:

11. How long is my Certification valid?

Once you pass the exam, your certification will be valid for two years. A specific amount of continuing education and/or training is required to recertify. See Recertification Guidelines for more information. For questions, email [email protected].

12. How was the Certification developed?

IAB developed the program in partnership with Professional Testing Inc., a leader in certification program development in a number of industries and professions. Many IAB member companies also participated in developing the certification:

BBC Worldwide
Break Media
Buzz Media
CBS Interactive
CNN Money
Comcast Spotlight
Condé Nast Media Group
Disney Interactive Media Group
Everyday Health
FreewheelGannett Company Inc.
Goodway Group
Hearst Digital Media
Liberty Advertising
Live Intent
NBC Universal
Real Media GroupRodale
The 614 Group
Time Inc.
Tremor Video
Triad Retail Media
Undertone Networks
Univision Media Networks
Viacom Media Networks

 13. How is the Certification administered?

The IAB Digital Media Sales Certification is governed and administered by the Commission on Certification. The Commission on Certification is responsible for all decisions related to certification. The certification program operates separately from other IAB programs, products and services.

14. How do I contact IAB Certification?

You can email our Certification team at [email protected].

15. How do members of International IABs participate?

IAB works alongside International IABs to offer the Certification program for their members. Please reach out to your local IAB about participation and information on registering.

16. How do I verify that a person is an existing Certificant?

The Certification Department of IAB shall release the name and certification status of certificants who have successfully completed the Digital Certification examinations and who have met all certification requirements, upon request. Please email Certification Department of IAB at [email protected] with the candidates full name, company and title.

17. How do I request a duplicate copy of my Certificate?

Certificants can request a duplicate certificate or request a new certificate due to name change by emailing the Certification Department of IAB at [email protected].

18. How are Certification Decisions made?

The Certification Commission Policies guide all decisions on certification and are disclosed in the IAB Certification Program Policy Manual.  Certification personnel are required to follow the procedures in administering and operating the certification program. See IAB Certification Policies.

19. What happens if I fail the exam?

Individuals who fail the exam may retake it; they must pay the retest fee each time: $125 for IAB Members and $175 for IAB non-members. Candidates who fail may retake the exam an additional two times. Candidates are not allowed to test within 90 days of their initial exam date. After a third failure, the candidate will be required to sit out two examination cycles (approximately 6 months) and reapply as a new candidate and pay all applicable fees.

Candidates are provided feedback on performance in each of the sections on the exam within four weeks of their exam month. The feedback is designed to help guide you to topics on which you should focus your study if you decide to retake the exam. See more about the Diagnostic Report for failing in Section 10: Policies of our handbook.


What’s the difference between a Professional Certification and a Certificate?

Companies with certified sales staff include
AOL, Collective, Conde Nast, Cox Media Group, Discovery, Expedia, Extreme Reach, IDG, NBCUniversal, The New York Times, Pandora, Time Inc., Triad Retail Media, Univision, Yahoo, Valasis and more!

See what they’re saying

    I found the exam and preparation stimulating and challenging. As such, I'm proud to be IAB-certified.
    —Mark Warlaumont Director of News and Digital Media Sales, Bright House Networks
    It’s a great program and would highly recommend it to my colleagues across the industry.
    —Rich Fimbres Senior Multimedia Sales Representative, Bloomberg Media
    It keeps you up to date on digital information and what is happening in the industry...
    —Cheryl Baeszler Digital Sales Manager, Cox Media
    The IAB Certification has allowed me to understand the standards set in place...
    —Jinger Guerrette Account Executive, Time Warner Cable Media
    I have marketed myself and the companies that I have worked for with my IAB Sales Certification...
    —Alison O’Brien Nexstar Broadcasting
    This is definitely a certification I am recommending to my peers...
    —Tracy Dedeaux Digital Sales Manager, WVUE Fox 8
    The industry needs this kind of certification...
    —Marcos Christensen Senior Director Latam South Cone, comScore, Inc.
    I have learned so much and I'm so thankful that my company felt this was important...
    —Mandilyn Thompson Account Executive, Time Warner Cable Media Sales
    This is a great program and helps distinguish certified professionals as the best in the business...
    —Anna Patterson Digital Media Specialist, Cox Media Group
    Becoming IAB certified was a goal of mine...
    —Farrah Shultz Digital Media Account Executive, Triad Retail Media
    I'm very happy to have gone through the program...
    —Rob Noonan Sales Director, Digital Shopper Marketing, Conversant Media

View all testimonials ›


Looking for Team Certification?

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