• Frequently Asked Questions About the Certified Automation Professional (CAP) Program

    Electronic Testing

    The CAP exam is offered in an electronic format through the Prometric global network of testing centers. For more information on testing center locations, visit www.isa.org/examschedule. Paper and pencil exams will still be offered for private companies in the US. Check the box on your application for electronic testing and review the details below as they apply to electronic testing vs. private exam sites.

    When can I take the CAP electronic exam?
    Each year, the CAP exam is available electronically during three testing windows. Each exam testing window will have a deadline for applications to be considered for testing in that window. Eligible candidates will only be able to test during the testing windows.

    As of 1 January 2011, the candidate eligibility window, or testing window, has been extended to twelve (12) consecutive months. Once your application is approved, testing must be completed within your assigned twelve-month testing window which is based on your application submission/postmark date. Please allow six (6) weeks for application review and notification of eligibility to test and testing window assignment.

    In order to schedule an exam, you will need to send your completed application by the specified application deadline for your preferred exam testing window. The application deadlines and testing windows are as follows:

     Exam Testing Window Exam Application Postmark/Submission Deadline Exam Application Postmark/Submission Timeframe
    Window 1: 1 March 2015 – 28 February 2016 Thursday, 15 January 2015 16 September 2014 - 15 January 2015
    Window 2: 1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016 Friday, 15 May 2015 16 January - 15 May 2015
    Window 3: 1 November 2015 – 31 October 2016 Tuesday, 15 September 2015 16 May - 15 September 2015


    Your first exam testing date and all rescheduling and retesting must be scheduled during the testing window for which you are approved to test. 

    You may reschedule your exam once, and the rescheduled date must be during your approved testing window.

    You may schedule up to two (2) retests during your approved twelve-month testing window. Each retest must be scheduled a minimum of 30 days after your last exam date (this includes your initial exam date).

    If you do not successfully pass the CAP or CCST exam within your twelve-month testing window, you must reapply for the exam by submitting a new application and fee. Once approved you will be given a new twelve-month testing window based on your application submission/postmark date. 

    Fees

    What are the fees?

    Application fees

    • $330 ISA Member
    • $445 Affiliate Member/Community Member/List

    There are no group discounts for certification application fees.

    Reschedule Fees with proper advance notification
    Candidates may reschedule an exam appointment during their six month eligibility period if they contact Thomson Prometric at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled exam time for United States/Canadian test centers and at least 5 days prior to the scheduled exam time for Non-United States/Canadian test centers. No reschedule fee will apply.

    Region Advance Notice Required
    United States/Canada 48 Hours Prior to Scheduled Exam Date
    Non-United States/Canada 5 Days Prior to Scheduled Exam Date


    Reschedule Fees without proper advance notification
    Candidates who do not sit for their scheduled exam and do not give proper advance notice of intent to reschedule their exam will incur a fee of $135.

    Retest Fees
    You may retest twice within your twelve-month eligibility period for a fee of $180 for each retest. If you are outside the twelve-month eligibility period, full application fees will apply. Retest must be 30 days after last exam date.

    No-Show and Late Arrivals
    For candidates who fail to appear for a scheduled exam, or arrive more than 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, fees will apply. See Reschedule fees without proper advance notification. You must reschedule your exam within your twelve-month eligibility period.

    What forms of payment does ISA accept for the application fee and/or private testing fees?
    ISA will accept check, certified check, money order, or wire transfer in US Dollars. Make checks payable to ISA. For wire transfer account information, please contact ISA Customer Service at info@isa.org or +1 919-549-8411. The following credit cards are accepted: AMEX, Discover card, Master Card, and VISA. Purchase orders are not accepted.

    Payment should be received with the application. If you are sending payment separately please include this information with the application. Applications cannot be processed without payment.

    Is the application fee refundable?
    CAP fees are NOT refundable. It is the responsibility of the applicant to thoroughly review the requirements for the examination. No refunds will be made for applicants who do not appear for testing on the appropriate test date. If, however, ISA cancels the exam date you registered for, and you cannot reschedule, a refund may be offered.

    Application and Documentation

    Please choose the appropriate box on the CAP application for electronic testing or private site testing. All documentation requirements remain the same whether you test electronically or in a private site.

    Does the application have to be typed?
    The printed application may be typed or handwritten legibly in ink. Please do not use pencil.

    Where do I mail my completed CAP application form and payment?
    Send all materials to one of the following addresses:

    1. With check or money order payment (through regular postal delivery): 2. With credit card payment (and for Overnight Delivery):

    ISA
    Certified Automation Professional Program
    P.O. Box 3561
    Durham, NC 27702 USA
    +1 919-549-8411

    ISA
    Certified Automation Professional Program
    67 T.W.Alexander Drive
    Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA
    +1 919-549-8411

    Will I receive notice of my eligibility status?
    Allow up to four weeks after submitting your application for notification of eligibility and eligibility code for electronic exam scheduling. You cannot schedule an electronic exam until your application has been approved and you have received your eligibility notice. For private site exam candidates, you will be contacted by ISA within two weeks of receipt of your application.

    What documentation is necessary to meet the testing requirements?
    As an applicant, you must meet the testing requirements as outlined in the Program Handbook under Requirements on the CAP web page. Back-up documentation with original signatures that verifies all work experience and training, and official transcripts that document your education are necessary ONLY if your application is audited. See CAP Application Audit Process (below).

    Signatures to verify employment and position of responsible charge must be original - scanned or electronic signatures are not acceptable. Certificates of completion do not qualify as documentation of training or as an apprenticeship. Copies of transcripts are not accepted. It is the applicants' responsibility to read, understand, and complete the necessary documentation for the audit process.

    Do all of the details of Work Experience, Position of Responsible Charge, and Education need to be completed on the application?
    Yes. ISA reviews the details to ensure your work experience, duties in a position of responsible charge, and education meet the minimum requirements for qualification. ISA reserves the right to contact current and previous employers to verify the information submitted. In the event your application is audited, the information received in the application will be compared to what is submitted in the CAP Application Audit Appendix. See CAP Application Audit Process.

    How do I get verification of my previous employment?
    You must contact previous supervisors and have them sign the Verification of Employment form for that particular period of employment. This form is provided in the CAP application. Information needed to process the form includes your name, title, location of employment, name of company, dates of employment, description of work activities, and your supervisor's signature. To meet the requirements for CAP, the entire period must be documented by signed Verification of Employment forms. ISA will not send these documents to previous employers. It is your responsibility as an applicant to submit all of the necessary documentation.

    What if a previous employer is no longer in business or my former supervisor cannot be located? How do I verify this period of employment?
    A colleague can verify this period of employment by signing the Verification of Employment form in the presence of a Notary Public.

    What if I cannot locate anyone to verify a period of employment?
    To apply for certification, you must document the entire period necessary to fulfill the requirement. If you cannot fully document the years, then you must postpone your application.

    Does my military experience qualify towards the CAP requirements? If so, how do I document this period?
    Your military experience will qualify as long as it relates to CAP responsibilities as defined in the program guide. To document this period, a copy of your military DD 214 form and a written or typed description of the duties you performed must be submitted.

    Why do I need to keep a copy of my CAP application before submitting it to ISA?
    If ISA contacts you regarding your application, you will need to refer to what you submitted. ISA is not able to fax or mail the application if you need this information, or if the application is selected for audit.See CAP Application Audit Process (below).

    CAP Application Audit Process

    How will I know if I have been audited?
    Any CAP applicant selected for audit will receive notification via US Mail at the address used when the CAP application was submitted to ISA. It is the applicants' responsibility to maintain their current, preferred address with ISA to ensure notifications are received.

    Why was my application selected for audit?
    All CAP applications are subject to audit. A random selection of CAP applications will be chosen for audit.

    How do I complete the necessary audit documentation?
    If your application was selected, you will be required to verify your employment history, position of responsible charge, and education as it relates to your application eligibility. Download the CAP Audit Documentation that was part of the original application and follow the instructions to submit the necessary documentation.

    How long do I have to submit audit documentation?
    Applicants who are audited must complete the CAP Audit Documentation and return it with all necessary documentation to ISA within sixty (60) days of audit notification. Failure to do so will result in revocation of your application and certification.

    This appendix should be completed only if you are notified by ISA that your CAP application is being audited. Please review the audit requirements so you are aware of what documentation you will need to submit in the event that your application is audited.

    What if I am unable to provide the necessary documentation?
    If you have not yet taken the CAP exam, your application will be denied. If you have already passed the CAP exam your certification will be revoked. See Application and Documentation (above) to review what information is required.

    Examination Process

    What will I receive after I submit my CAP application?
    If your application does not include all the necessary documentation, you will be notified and given an opportunity to provide the remaining documentation to meet the requirements. Once your application is approved, you will receive an Eligibility Letter with information on how to schedule your exam date and location for electronic exams, or a Confirmation Letter with the date, time, and site address of your private site exam.

    Once my application is approved, how long am I eligible to test?
    You are eligible to take the exam for twelve (12) months after your application is postmarked to ISA. You must complete all testing in that time period.

    Once I take the examination, how long will it be before I am notified of my status?
    For candidates who take the exam electronically you will receive immediate results of your pass/fail status. If you pass, your certificate and wallet card will be mailed within thirty (30) days. If you take the exam in a private site, notification of your status wiill be mailed within thirty (30) days of your exam date.

    How is the passing score set for the CAP exams?
    A modified Angoff Method is used to determine the pass point for each form of each exam. The modified Angoff Method uses expert judgements to determine the difficulty level of the exam. The easier the exam, the higher the pass point. Likewise, the more difficult the exam, the lower the pass point.

    The following is a basic outline of the modified Angoff Method (some details have been omitted):

    1. A group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) independently rate each exam question within a given form of the exam. The ratings are defined as the probability, or likelihood, that an acceptably (minimally) competent person with the requisite education and experience will answer the question correctly. An acceptably (minimally) competent person is defined as someone who adequately performs all job functions safely and requires no further training to do so.
    2. The SMEs review each exam question as group. A statistical consensus is reached for the difficulty rating of each exam question.
    3. After the data are refined, the final step is to calculate the mean, or average, of all the test question ratings. This becomes the overall pass point estimation.

    When do I need to arrive at the test site?
    For electronic exams, candidates should arrive at the exam location no later than the scheduled exam time. For private exam sites, candidates must report to the exam location 30 minutes prior to the start time of the exam to sign-in and receive instruction. All examinations are given in a four hour time period.

    What should I bring with me to the exam site?
    The following is a listing of items you need to bring to the exam site. A calculator will be provided on the computer for those taking the exam electronically.

    Electronic Exam candidates:
    Your Confirmation Letter from Prometric and a government issued photo ID

    Private Exam candidates:
    Your Confirmation Notice from ISA
    A government issued photo i.d.
    A non-programmable self-powered or battery-operated calculator
    Two (2) number 2 pencils

    Are there any materials I cannot bring to the exam?
    All exams are closed book for both electronic and private site exams. No reference material will be allowed in any exam room. A calculator will be provided on the computer for those taking the exam electronically so electronic exam candidates will not be allowed to bring one in. A location for personal items such as a pocket book, palmtop, mobile phone, or pager will be made available to you. Please note that storage space will be limited.

    Is there a grievances/appeal process in the event I am not awarded CAP certification?
    If an ISA CAP applicant feels he/she was wrongly denied certification, original or renewal, from the CAP program, then he/she has the right to appeal. To review the Grievances Appeal Process click here.

    Resource Materials

    What study materials are available to help me prepare for the CAP program?
    A study guide is available for the CAP exam and provides practice with similar types of questions as those found on the CAP exam. A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge is a complete overview of all technical topics covered by the CAP program. Learn more about these valuable CAP study resources, including how to purchase them, by visiting www.isa.org/books. Contact ISA at +1 919-549-8411 for further information.

    Are there any preparatory courses for the CAP program?
    A CAP Review Course is available as a preparation course for taking the certification exam. This course is offered by ISA and can be offered at your location. ISA also offers an automation professional curriculum of courses as well as distance education to assist those preparing for CAP. An ISA Training Service Consultant can give you more information. Simply e-mail Matt Rothkopf at mrothkopf@isa.org for more information on ISA Training Courses.

    Where do I learn more about the CAP Learning System?
    The CAP Learning System is a comprehensive CAP exam preparation tool. As of 1 January 2014, the ISA CAP Learning System is no longer available for purchase. Individuals that purchased the system in 2013 will have support for the system until 31 December 2014. As alternative preparation options, ISA recommends our multi-day classroom CAP exam review course (EC00) or our NEW multi-week, online, self-study CAP exam review course (EC00E) which will be available starting in April 2014.

    Reschedule

    If I need to reschedule the date for which I initially registered for an electronic exam, what do I need to do?
    You may reschedule only one time and the rescheduled date you choose must be within twelve (12) months of the application date. You must reschedule an exam more than 48 hours before the exam date for an exam in the United States or Canada, or more than 5 days for any other Prometric testing center. Candidates who do not sit for their scheduled exam and do not give proper advance notice of intent to reschedule their exam will incur a fee of $135.

    If I need to reschedule the date for which I initially registered for a private site, what do I need to do?
    If you need to reschedule your private exam date with less than 45 days before the exam date due to a situation which prevents you from taking your exam as scheduled, the fee is $135. You may only reschedule one time, and the rescheduled private date you choose must be within twelve (12) months of the initial exam date. There is no fee if you reschedule your exam prior to 45 days before the exam date. Please mail the reschedule form with payment to ISA.

    Retest

    Is there a time period that must pass before I can retest?
    Yes, you must allow thirty (30) days from the last exam date to retest within your twelve-month eligibility period. Download the Retest Form and mail the completed form with payment to ISA.

    Is there are retest fee?
    Yes, the restest fee is $180 per retest. You must submit the retest fee and a Retest Form each time you want to retest.

    How many times can I retest?
    You may retest a maximum of two times within your twelve (12) month eligibility period. Retest within twelve (12) months of the date of the original testing, and you only pay the retest fee rather than the entire application fee.

    Renewal

    How will I know I need to renew?
    ISA sends renewal reminders in the forms of letters, postcards, and e-mails; however, it is the responsibility of the certificant to send the paperwork in at the appropriate time. Please ensure that you keep your contact information updated with ISA so that you will receive these notifications.

    What is the renewal fee?

    • Renewal by PDPs (without an exam)
      • $205 ISA Member
      • $320 Affiliate Member/Community Member/List 
       
    • Renewal by exam
      • $330 ISA Member
      • $445 Affiliate Member/Community Member/List
       

    How do I apply for CAP Renewal?You are required to renew your CAP certification every three years. Renewal applicants must pay the renewal fee ($205 ISA Member; $320 Affiliate Member/Community Member/List) and submit a Renewal Application indicating the Professional Development Points (PDPs) earned in the three-year renewal period. If you renew by exam, the fees are $330 ISA Members and $445 Affiliate Member/Community Member/List. Download the Renewal Policies and Renewal Application or call ISA at +1 919-549-8411. Payment must be received with the Renewal Application.

    When is my CAP Renewal Application due?
    Renewal applications will not be accepted more than 90 days prior to your certificate expiration date. Your CAP Renewal Application is due postmarked 60 days prior to the expiration date printed on your CAP certificate. This will allow each CAP to maintain Active Status of the certification. The Renewal Application will be mailed to each CAP six (6) months prior to the expiration date on each CAP's certificate. 120 Professional Development Points (PDPs) are required for renewal. Please refer to the CAP Renewal Policies for details on what qualifies for PDPs.

    How many Professional Development Points (PDPs) do I need to renew?
    135 PDPs are required to renew your certification if the renewal application is received by ISA postmarked by your certification expiration date. To reinstate your certificate after your expiration date, you must submit your application postmarked within four (4) months after your certification date. Up to 90 PDPs can be earned solely from work experience and a minimum of 60 PDPs must come from work experience. The remaining points will need to be earned through training and/or professional activities.

    If you do not renew within 4 months after your expiration date, your certification is considered lapsed and you must submit a new application and retest to reinstate your certification.

    If my certification has expired, what are my options to renew?
    To reinstate your certificate after your expiration date, you must submit the Renewal Application within four months of your expiration date and indicate 135 PDPs. Up to 90 PDPs can be earned solely from work experience. The remaining points will need to be earned through training and/or professional activities.

    How do I keep records of the PDPs I earn during the three year certified period?
    Use the Personal Log you received to record the number of points earned in each Activity Category. Remember to document any relevant activities, including signed statements from employers, CEU transcripts, or certificates of completion with the number of hours for training programs. Keep this information with the Personal Log in the event your CAP Renewal Application is selected for audit.

    What is a Renewal Audit?
    A random selection of renewal applications will be audited, and those certificants will be required to provide verification of the points listed on the application.

    What happens if I forget to renew?
    If you do not submit your renewal application showing 135 PDPs within 4 months after your expiration date, your certification is considered lapsed. Once your certification lapses, you must reapply and retest to become certified again.

    General

    How do I get a copy of my CAP certificate in case I lose it or if my supervisor wants one?
    To receive a duplicate copy of your certificate, send a written request to ISA with your mailing address and payment of $15 each for a duplicate certificate or wallet card ($30 for both). Once your payment is received, a certificate and/or wallet card will be mailed to you.

    How is CAP different from the Control Systems Engineer (CSE) program?
    The CSE is a professional engineering (P.E.) license that can only be presented by a State Board of Engineering in the US CSE is a legal license to practice engineering and the exam focuses on control systems. CAP is a certification program that documents a candidate's knowledge not only in control systems but in the broader area of automation. CAP will be offered and recognized internationally.

    Private Testing

    How do I establish a local test site for the CAP examinations?
    If you are inside the US and have four or more applicants to test, ISA will contact a local proctor to administer the exam at your location at no additional charge. If you have less than four applicants to test, the site fee is $295. Contact ISA for information on private test offerings in the United States. ISA no longer offers private exam sites outside the US Contact Alice Heaney at +1 919-990-9284 or fjustice@isa.org for the details.

    When are applications due?
    Applications for private exam sites must be received by ISA six (6) weeks prior to the desired exam date.

    Are fees different when testing at a private site?
    No, individual fees remain the same regardless of whether you are testing at a private site or electronically.