Optimal working practices and a reliable environment are critical factors for the success of electronic industries. The operations in the electronics industry span across various stages that include manufacture, design, assembly, and service of electronic products. Companies in the electronics industry face tough competition to implement innovative ideas and introduce their product in the market first. Hence, it puts pressure on the stakeholders to design, engineer, and test products within budget and timeline to meet and exceed customer expectations. To bring success to this industry, consistency and quality in practices through effective standardization are crucial.
This is where the IPC comes in. IPC is a global association for the electronic manufacturing industry. It offers industry-traceable training and certification programs on key Electronics Industry Standards. Investing in IPC training and certification can be highly beneficial for your business. It enables you to demonstrate to your current and potential customers that your company follows standardized and rigorous quality control practices. Hence, it will contribute towards better customer satisfaction and gain valuable industry recognition in the niche market. Adhering to IPC standards allows you to facilitate quality assurance initiatives. The most common IPC certification courses are:
- J-STD-001 (Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies)
- IPC-A-610 (acceptability to electronic assembly)
- IPC-A-600 (Acceptability of Printed Boards)
- IPC-6012 (Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards)
- IPC/WHMA-A-620 (Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies), and
- IPC-7711/7721 (Rework of Electronic Assemblies/Repair and Modification of Printed Boards and Electronic Assemblies).
Those who have previously received their IPC certification need to recertify themselves after a stipulated period. Those who want to renew their IPC certificate can do it from the IPC recertification training center. You must accomplish the recertification in a ninety (90) day window before or after the current certification expiration date. Recertification must be obtained in every two-year cycle.
At present, there are four levels of IPC certification. Each of these levels has its specific benefits, which depend on your company’s role and current experience. These four levels are listed below in increasing expertise level. Of these four levels, the first two levels, CIS and CSE, helps to increase an individual’s knowledge. It is suitable for soldering technicians and operators. The CIT and MIT certification is desirable for those who want to teach the IPC standard.
Certified IPC Specialist (CIS)
The CIS certification enables candidates to gain a consistent understanding of the production or design within a particular standard. A CIS-certified individual can exhibit their knowledge of a certain standard to Class 1, 2, and 3 products. It is a basic certification level obtained by production operators, inspectors, supervisors, engineers, quality personnel, and individuals looking for employment opportunities. The certification enables them to expand their knowledge and ability within the IPC standards.
Certified Standards Expert (CSE)
A CSE is a subject matter professional possessing adequate knowledge and understanding of specific IPC standards. The CSE certification enables you to focus on a standard and understand it in detail. It does not focus on skill development. The training and certification are validated through rigorous timed testing to demonstrate proficiency. You can obtain CSE certification in different IPC standards like IPC-A-610, J-STD-001, and IPC-6012. You can easily and quickly navigate through IPC standards and act as a subject matter expert on receiving CSE status. Hence, it builds adequate understanding to know how to apply the standard and its knowledge to company needs.
Certified IPC Trainer (CIT)
The CIT level certification is necessary to become a certified trainer in the different IPC specifications within the electrical and electronics manufacturing industries. The CIT’s can, after qualifying for the certification exam can assist those who want to obtain IPC certification. The CIT-certified individuals can train Certified IPC Specialists (CIS) at their company. CIT’s are authorized to deliver and administer CIS level training and certification exams. The CIT program is hence a “train-the-trainer” program. Under the CIT program, you must sit for an exam that rigorously reviews your knowledge of the IPC standards. If you make it through the exam, you become eligible to become a CIT. The CIT credential is valid for two years from when you complete the course. The trainer must renew the certification at any IPC-authorized training center.
Master IPC Trainer (MIT)
An MIT is at the highest among the given four IPC certification levels. After completing the high IPC training level, you can train CIT’s and CIS’s. You can provide them with the first level of technical and administrative support. The employees of Licensed Training Centers can become MIT. For each IPC program, a separate MIT credential is desired. The MIT certification has a direct connection with a single employing Training Center.
These are the four levels of IPC certification in increasing expertise. Obtaining the desired certification will help you gain adequate knowledge and skills to succeed in the electronics manufacturing industry. Based on the competitive excellence you want to achieve, you can choose the right IPC certification level for you.