The International Assocation of Business Communicators is switching to a "certification" designation for members from the current "accredited" designation which had created "Accredited Business Communicator" or ABC.

Those who have earned ABCs in the past nearly 50 years will not be "grandfathered" into the new designation, which will be under the supervision of the Int'l Standards Organization, said Robin McCasland, IABC chair.

It may take years for the new program to get underway because ISO standards are very strict, she added.

Cost of obtaining an ABC was $500. No price was set for the new program. About 1,100 of IABC's 14,000 members are ABC.

There will be two levels of certification--generalist/specialist and strategic adviser. Those who earn these designations must "re-certify every few years to demonstrate that they have continued to develop professionally," said McCasland, whose bio on the IABC website says she had her own PR firm in Texas. There is no mention of current employment.

IABCers Had Denounced "Certificates"

Several IABC members had denounced the planned switch to certificates when they were first announced last year.
Sam Berrisford, U.K. member, had expressed "dismay," saying that "Certification is a matter for academic institutions, not professional associations."

He is with Legal Ombudman and was a consultant for Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

Certification, he said, is "not about peer recognition but about the ability to pass a test. It is hard to see how any test could reflect the nuanced complexity of communications challenges that we face daily as senior communicators."

IABC created a stir in late 2012 when it announced that 16 of the 32 staffers were being fired. 

McCasland, referring to the wave of criticisms that hit the group after that, compared critics to "dogs humping in the park."