Is AIIM’s CIP Exam really worth doing?

CIP exam

Is the AIIM CIP really worth doing? In this post I have a look at what the CIP exam, and the certification, mean.

[Updated: May 2016]


The value of the CIP

In 2012, when it first came out, Laurence Hart wrote about AIIM’s Certified Information Professional (CIP) certification, and the CIP exam. He was working at the time as CIO of AIIM and described the value of the CIP.

In response to this, I commented  that I needed to be convinced that the CIP wouldn’t be just another of the many certifications that are available.

(I referred to it as JACJust Another Certification)

Is the CIP a JACJust Another Certification?

Laurence posted a second blog post where he discussed, further, the type of content that he encountered in the exam.

This assuaged some of my concerns, but also prompted me to do something that I should have actually done in the beginning, and that is, read the CIP information that AIIM has on its site!

If I had, I would have seen that a lot of thought, and work, had been put into it.

The CIP exam is not an easy one

As Laurence pointed out, the exam is not an easy one. The exam has 100 questions and is not the sort of thing that you can just do while sitting in the comfort of your own chair while flicking back and forth between the exam, and Google.

No, for this, you need to go to a Prometric test centre. The guys there are professionals, and you can expect to be under video surveillance while you do the exam.

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When AIIM was putting the whole “certification” thing together, including the CIP exam, they went and asked the industry, what “stuff” was actually important to know.

This was all scribbled down in a large notebook, and then scrutinised by subject matter experts. The SME’s then created the monster known as the CIP exam. Very broad, but also very deep in each of the various areas.

CIP exam - it was looked at closely


AIIM also recognise that the industry is not a static thing. Technology changes, business processes change ways of working change.

As a result, if you pass the exam, it’s only valid for three years. After that, it’s necessary to either re-sit the exam or to prove that you have attained a necessary level of continuing education credits ((in this case, 45).

And what does that mean?

Continual Professional Development

Initially, this was something else that bothered me. “Hey, my company just paid $500 for an on-line training course. It was easy – didn’t have to do anything, and voila, I’m recertified.”

No – earning continued education credits is not so easy. You earn credits by attending conferences, formal university-level courses, chapter meetings, giving presentations. And you don’t earn that many credits for each of these items. Even if you re-sat the exam after three years, AIIM will be continuously updating it to reflect changes in the industry, so you can’t just “use the same answers as last time”.

This is what really impressed me. There are many professions (Medical Doctors, for example) that are required to keep up a CIP exam - keep studyingcertain level of training. It’s good to see that the Information Professional is being treated as one.

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I realize that there is a world of difference between a Certified Information Professional, and a Medical Doctor , but this one factor drove home to me how serious AIIM’s CIP certification is.

This one factor drove home to me how serious AIIM’s CIP certification is.

Based on what I have read, I’m putting the CIP exam high on my list of goals for this year.

(And, even though I’ve been working in the industry now for over 13 years, I’m not going to do the exam “cold” as Laurence did. I’ll be making damn good use of those training videos.)


Relevant links:


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    1. Pie 26/01/2012
    2. Sanooj Kutty 07/02/2012

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