The IPC is the trade organization for the electronics assembly, manufacturing and distribution parts of the “electronics supply chain”. While it has several purposes, one of the top purposes has to do with providing the materials and structure for training it’s members. This presents itself to a great extent through its IPC certification training platform. The standards themselves are based on member-provided input through inputs provided by industry, subject matter experts, trainers and consultants as part of a technical committee process. A specific training committee then prepares the training materials. IPC then administers the IPC certification training program.
The IPC Certification program is a multi-tiered training program. The IPC sells the license rights for a given area to one of the member companies who then hire a staff of seasoned instructors. These instructors come from industry, the military or repair depots. These instructors are trained as trainers. Once they reach this level of certification these IPC certification trained trainers or CITs can then train associates in the given standard. After they have been certified to the trainer level, the master site license holder advocates for their credentials with IPC. This along with teaching associates at the CIS level of the given program will then meet the minimum standards to become a Master Instructor Trainer or MIT. Once this is designated by the IPC training administration department, IPC certification classes can be taught by the new instructor at both the CIT and CIS levels. A new SME (Subject Matter Expert) part of the training program is being instituted. This accreditation makes someone within an organization the expert and the industry laison for each of the certification program standards. This soon to be released level will not require that the person trains others but it will require certification testing. The IPC certification is a transportable certification which belongs to the certification holder and has a validity of 2 years. At the end of 2 years the IPC certification certificate testing must be renewed.
The most popular IPC certification training programs are currently available for the following standards:
- IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronics Assemblies Training and Certification Program
- The IPC J-STD-001 Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies
- IPC/WHMA-A-620, Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies,
- IPC-7711B/7721B Rework of Electronic Assemblies/Repair and Modification of Printed Boards and Electronic Assemblies
- IPC-A-600 Acceptability of Printed Boards
The IPC certification training program is a worldwide training initiative. While the standards themselves are developed in the English language they are translated into a multitude of different languages. Once the standard has been developed in the English language it will then be translated into a variety of languages. Upon completion and of the standards the training program for the given IPC certification standard is then developed in a committee environment. These IPC certification classes are then “test driven” in various environments, refined and then released to the IPC membership. Training centers are scattered throughout the world including the largest electronics markets in Taiwan, Mexico, Japan, China as well as the and Europe and the United States.
Recently the IPC has made some significant upgrades to the training program. In the last few years, the testing of the material for certification has moved to an online format. This allows for test questions to be randomized, multiple test questions to be pooled and drawn into to the testing as well randomization of answers to questions. All of these upgrades help to increase the integrity of the IPC certification program. Within the last few years, the addition of ANSI approval to the standard has made it fit hand-in-glove with some of the international quality standards. These and other upgrades have upgraded the IPC certification training program.
IPC certification training continues to evolve with the electronic industry’s needs. For more information on IPC certification see ipctraining.com.