ISA NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Infantino
CAP Sets ISA Apart
Certification Program Helps to Define Automation Profession
Research Triangle Park, NC (20 September 2005) -- As the organization that sets the standard for automation, ISA's signature certification program - Certified Automation Professional (CAP) - will play a critical role in the future of the automation industry.
The CAP program represents the first certification for the automation field. As the first step in the development of the program, ISA completed a feasibility study to survey the market regarding the proposed certification. The CAP feasibility study supported the concept of worker differentiation through certification in the automation field. According to the employers surveyed, 77% believed certification would enhance recognition and respect for individuals working in the field. 64% of the employer respondents agreed that salary, remuneration, and benefits should increase for certified automation professionals.
The program's job study analysis, released in 2004, also marked a significant milestone - for the first time, the industrial automation field was distilled into its basic functions. The analysis also served to validate the CAP exam and ensure that the CAP exam questions accurately tested the skills and knowledge that automation professionals need to be effective.
Jim Henderson, Executive Vice President of the Psychometric Department at CASTLE Worldwide, oversaw the job study analysis for the CAP program. As he explains it, "Job tasks can be grouped together in very general areas of responsibility called domains. Then for each task there would be knowledge and skill lists associated with it." As we began developing the CAP program, we created a panel of experts to develop such a list of domains associated with the automation field. CASTLE took the resulting list and surveyed 217 professionals and manufacturers to determine each task's importance in today's manufacturing environment.
The list of six "domains of practice" that the CAP panelists identified was:
Feasibility Study - Identify, scope, and justify the automation project
Definition - Identify customer requirements and complete high-level analysis of the best way to meet those requirements
System Design - Prepare the complete conceptual design of the control and information systems including specifications of the hardware and software to be used in the system
Development - Software development and coding
Deployment - Field installation, and checkout and startup of the systems
Operation and Maintenance - Long-term support of the system
The survey that produced the results detailed in the job analysis study asked respondents to rank each of the six tasks in terms of its importance, "or the degree to which knowledge in the domain is essential to the minimally competent practice of [industrial automation]," criticality, "or the degree to which adverse effects (of some type) could result if the certified automation professional is not knowledgeable in the domain," and frequency, or, "the percent of time the certified automation professional spent performing the duties associated with each domain."
When the respective rankings done by the expert panelists and the respondents were compared, the analysis revealed that both groups ranked System Design as the most important, critical, and frequently applied domain.
The Job Analysis Study has a direct influence on the CAP exams because, having validated that the exams will test job-relevant competencies, the study provided a blueprint for test developers mapping out how many of the exam's 175 items would cover each of the six domains.
According to the test blueprint laid out in the Job Analysis Study, System Design will account for 24.94% of the test, which is a plurality at 44 test items. Operation and Maintenance, which the survey respondents consistently ranked near, or at, the bottom of each scale, will only account for 10.95%, or 19 test items.
If you're interested in reading the entire report, which includes a more detailed distillation of these statistics, you can download the CAP Job Analysis Study at ISA's Web site by going to www.isa.org/capanalysis. The report is free for current ISA Members, and costs $150 for non-members.
Founded in 1945, ISA (www.isa.org) is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts the largest conference and exhibition for automation professionals in the Western Hemisphere. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).
WBF provides an open forum for the exchange of information related to the management, operation, and automation of manufacturing processes. Created in 1994, members of the non-profit, professional organization include end-users, vendors, consultants and academics. WBF provides organization, management, and structure to facilitate networking among its members and sharing of knowledge and information related to manufacturing processes. WBF documents best practices and guidelines for implementation of standards that apply to batch control and the exchange of batch data, as well as conducting technical conferences and technical training programs. WBF is a founding charter member of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org). More information about WBF is available at www.wbf.org.
OMAC–The Open Modular Architecture Controls Users’ Group (www.omac.org) is an affiliate organization of ISA- The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society- and works to collectively derive common solutions for both technical and non-technical issues in the development, implementation, and commercialization of open, modular architecture control (OMAC) technologies, and to facilitate the accelerated development and convergence of industry and government developed OMAC technology guidelines to one set that satisfies common use requirements. OMAC has about 500 member representatives from end-user companies, OEM's, and technology providers and integrator companies. OMAC currently operates three Work Groups: Packaging Machinery, Manufacturing Infrastructure, and Machine Tool. OMAC is a founding charter member of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).