Getting Certified in Records Management

During the course of consulting, we analysts are sometimes asked if TSLAC has a certification program for records management. The answer is that we don’t – we provide training through classes, workshops, and webinars for which you are given a certificate of completion, but we do not offer something that would be recognized as a professional certification in the field. However, there are several organizations that do offer such programs for those in records management to undertake to further their education and assert the skills learned in a professionally-recognized way. In this article, we’ll be discussing four of the most common RM certificates and certifications: the Local Government Archives and Records Administration certificate (LGARA), the Certified Records Manager (CRM), the Certified Records Analyst (CRA), and the Information Governance Professional (IGP).

GARA Certificate Program

The GARA certificate program is administered through the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, or NAGARA. NAGARA is a professional association committed to the advancement and improvement of federal, state, and local government records and information management, as well as the professional development of those working in the field. This certificate program was created to recognize the efforts and achievements of local government officials in procuring a RM knowledge base to help them more effectively care for and manage the records under their purview. 

To obtain this certificate, one must meet the following requirements: 40 hours of qualified study within 5 years of the date of the application, a minimum of 2 hours of training towards 7 of 9 listed core competency areas (Records and Information Management Basics, Physical Storage and Environments, Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity, Retention and Disposition, Advocacy and Outreach, Electronic Records and Information Management, Legal and Compliance Issues, Archives and Long-term Preservation, and Emerging Technologies – the remaining hours may be from any of the core competency areas), an optional but highly recommended state or local government-specific workshop on public records laws, a $50 application fee, and membership in NAGARA.  

CRA and CRM Certifications

The CRA and CRM certifications are both administered through the Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM). The ICRM was incorporated in 1975 in order to have a standard by which persons involved in the records and information management field could be measured, accredited, and recognized according to criteria established by peers in the profession. The primary mission of the ICRM is to advance and oversee the professional certification of records managers by managing the examinations and certification maintenance program given to qualified applications and certified persons. 

To obtain either a CRA or a CRM, one must first submit an application with supporting documentation demonstrating satisfactory education and professional work experience, along with a $100 non-refundable application fee. This page lays out what will qualify you to sit for the exam. After one has been approved, he or she can begin the process of taking a series of three or six exams necessary to earn the certification. If one is seeking the CRA designation, you will need to pass exams Part 2 (Records and Information Creation and Use), Part 3 (Record Storage, Retrieval, Conversion, and Facilities), and Part 4 (Records Appraisal, Retention, Protection and Disposition). If one is seeking the CRM designation, you will need to pass Part 1 (Management Principles and the Records and Information Program), Part 5 (Technology), and Part 6 (Essay Exam) in addition to Parts 2, 3, and 4. Each exam costs $100, and once you become a CRA or CRM, you will have to pay $200 annually to maintain your certification, as well as complete 100 hours of certification maintenance with continuing education every five years.

IGP Certification

ARMA offers the IGP Certification. ARMA’s mission is to empower the community of information professionals to advance their careers, organizations, and the profession at large. The pillars that guide this mission are: professional standard-setting and best practice frameworks; current news, events, and industry trends; a network of local chapters providing opportunities for continuing education, training, and leadership development; and certification preparation.

To obtain the IGP certification, one must apply to sit for an exam consisting of 140 multiple-choice questions, which must be completed within two hours and 45 minutes. The application fee is $599.00 for the certification. Applicants must meet the recommended candidate background and sign a Code of Ethics in order to qualify for the certification exam. The exam tests one’s knowledge in the content areas of managing information risk and compliance, developing an information governance (IG) strategic plan, developing an IG framework, establishing the IG program, establishing IG business integration and oversight, and aligning technology with the IG framework. If one passes the exam, the IGP certification is awarded for a period of three years, and certificate holders are required to recertify before the expiration of that certification. In order to recertify, a certificate holder must fulfill the requirements of a combination of continued work experience and professional development. During the three-year cycle, a certificate holder must undertake 60 contact hours (10 hours required in legal topics, 10 hours required in IT, and the remaining 40 may be at the individual’s discretion) to maintain the certification.

If you do undertake one of these programs, bear in mind that many of TSLAC’s trainings would qualify for the continuing education or professional development requirements. If you aren’t sure if one will, check with the organization(s) first. Good luck to anyone undertaking one of these programs! For more information, use the links to find out more!

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