If you, like me and around 45% of the people employed as automation professionals, do not have a four-year technical degree (engineering, a science or mathematics degree, you can still apply to take the ISA Certified Automation Professional examination.
If you have the degree, you sail right through the qualification process. But for the nearly half of us who have some other degree, but who have been an automation professional for enough time, in enough positions, here’s what you have to do to prove that you’re worthy:
For applicants applying prior to 1 January 2007 who do not meet the four-year technical degree requirement, two references must accompany your application that document that you have held a position of responsible charge in the automation field for at least two (2) years. One of the references must be from your direct supervisor. Responsible charge relates to the span or degree of control an automation professional has to maintain while excercising independent control and direction of professional automation work, and to the level of decisions being made.
Now, here’s the rub:
Responsible charge does not refer to management control or administrative functions such as accounting, labor relations, or marketing.
The way I read this, because I held a marketing position at the time I was on the product development team at TN Technologies that won an R&D100 award for an innovative sewer flow meter, I am ineligible.
The way I read this, because I was a salesman at the time I helped Dave Johnson at Marin Water design one of the first PLC controlled compound loop disinfection systems ever built, I’m ineligible.
The way I read this, because I was a salesman at the time I also designed integration projects up to six figures in value, I am not eligible for the CAP program.
The way I read this, because I was a consultant at the time I edited The Instrumentation Reference Book, 3rd Edition I am ineligible for the CAP program.
Even though I have been a working automation professional since 1974 (and before, since I worked summers in my dad’s instrument repair shop), because most of my job titles have been sales or marketing, I am ineligible for the CAP program.
Strikes me that there is something wrong with this picture, for me and 45% of ISA’s constituency and stakeholders.