“No one is chomping at the bit more than I am to get this done, and we’re really, really close to having the first five exams completed.” – Kevin Musick, President, IMSA Board of Directors on the anticipated release of IMSA’s new certification exams.

In late January, I caught up with Section Leaders representing almost all regions of IMSA in North America, during a Section Leadership Update. While we discussed important matters including leadership nominations and awards, the primary topic was of course, IMSA’s new certifications. Earlier this month, we launched our new Fiber Optic certification in collaboration with the Fiber Optic Association which aligns with our mission of providing certifications that reflect the current situation in public safety and traffic management. But now, I’m excited to announce that our first five new certifications are almost ready for beta testing and we plan to release them in full by early March. They include:

  • IMSA Traffic Signal Technician I
  • IMSA Traffic Signal Field Technician II
  • IMSA Work Zone Temporary Traffic Control Technician
  • IMSA Signs and Pavement Markings Technician I
  • IMSA Roadway Lighting Technician I

The process has been fairly smooth, but it has taken longer than we anticipated because of the availability of subject matter experts (SMEs) and volunteers to participate, particularly during the holidays. Those experts have been extremely generous and gracious with their time, but they all have lives away from IMSA and early on we determined the only way to be successful was to bring the SMEs into a room and have them work on the questions in person without distractions.

As we discussed in the Section Leadership Update, Beta testing is the last major hurdle to completion and four of the five exams are already loaded in to the learning management system (LMS) ready to release to the testers. We need approximately 50 volunteers to take each of the five exams during the Beta test and if you’re reading this, you may well be a candidate. It’s a crucial part of the process, ensuring the integrity of the accreditation and establishing a passing score. On a more granular level, we’ll actually look for trends, like many people selecting an incorrect answer on a particular question, more likely a reflection on our wording than the volunteer’s knowledge of the subject matter.

We addressed two other important issues during the meeting. The first was making sure the Section Leaders and Exam Moderators have access to information to build their education programs for each certification. We will be releasing elements of the Detailed Design Documents that are the baseline for each accreditation, and training materials will likely evolve as each new certification matures.

The second issue focused on the next five certifications. While releasing the first certifications is a milestone, there is no time to take our foot off the gas. In fact, the next series has already been chosen and the process for building new tests is already underway.

Those certifications are:

  • IMSA Traffic Signal Tech II Construction
  • IMSA Traffic Signal Inspector
  • IMSA Signs and Pavement Markings Technician II
  • IMSA Transportation Center System Specialist I
  • IMSA Traffic Signal Senior Field Technician III

As discussed during the Section Leadership meeting, we’re already considering which new certifications will follow. Our board will meet in February to do a deep dive. Our longer-term goal is to create a regular cadence for releasing new certifications with our members, their employers and the industry in mind. As I’ve said all along, this is about putting our technicians in the middle of the public safety and traffic management landscape and arming them with the appropriate skills to manage their jobs while positioning them for career advancement.

Thanks for your patience, and for many of you, your help during the process of building these new tests. I’m confident they’ll be worth the wait.