In late August 2022, IABC’s Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) launched remote proctoring for the Strategic Communication Management Professional® (SCMP) and Communication Management Professional® (CMP) certification programs. Remote proctoring allows certification candidates to take their exam remotely and proctored virtually. The first candidates took the exam starting 4 September.
To celebrate this exciting new offering from IABC, Catalyst connected with two of the first candidates to pass the CMP exam via remote proctoring — Dawn Hawco, CMP, and Lynnette Gonzales, CMP. Learn about why they pursued certification via remote proctoring and read their encouraging advice for other communication professionals considering advancing their careers.
Congratulations on receiving your IABC certification via remote proctoring! Why did you decide to pursue certification?
Dana Hawco, CMP (DH): After serving on the IABCNL board for three years, I learned a lot about the certification process. More so, I learned about the professional and personal benefits of being certified. Although I had over 10 years of experience in communications, my educational background was slanted more toward technology (i.e., graphic design and social media), and I felt now was the perfect time to capture the full scope of my experience. By attaining certification, I could better showcase some of my other skills, like writing, media relations and strategy.
Lynnette Gonzales, CMP (LG): I’ve been in the career field for over 20 years and was an adjunct faculty member of communications courses for over 10 years. To solidify my experience and expertise as a communications professional, I decided to pursue the CMP certification a couple of years ago and applied when COVID hit. Since I already have my master’s degree, I knew this would be the next logical step in my career path.
What led you to test using live remote proctoring? Tell us about that experience. How did it work? What can future certificants expect when testing this way?
DH: I was hoping to take my certification exam in the fall of 2022, but I was aware that in-person testing usually only happens once or twice a year. Once remote proctoring opened, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to schedule my exam and take advantage of this new testing format. Once I registered (which was super easy), I received a confirmation email outlining what I needed to configure on my computer to ensure the online testing went smoothly. Then on the day of the exam, I logged on and actually talked to a proctor over Zoom, and they assisted me with the final setup for the test. They requested to view the room I was testing in, notified me of the testing rules, and told me that if I had any issues or needed assistance during the test, all I needed to do was speak up and ask. I had my webcam on the entire time, and when I was done, I talked to the proctor to ensure I logged out correctly. All in all, it was a straightforward process!
LG: My company is still limiting travel, especially out of state and overseas, and COVID seems to ebb and flow everywhere. I’ve been waiting for remote proctoring since my application was approved two years ago. I considered hiring my own proctor but preferred to wait until IABC had an approved one we could use.
The Prolydian site was relatively easy to navigate, but I didn’t realize how many more choices we would have in scheduling our exam day and time. When I was ready to start my exam, I logged into Prolydian and followed the instructions. The proctor engaged with me via Zoom where he could see and hear me, and I shared my laptop screen. He walked me through starting the actual exam and was available via chat throughout it. When I was done, he wrapped up with me, and we logged off.
The exam offers a way to flag questions you want to revisit as well as skip questions that you need to think about. At the end, you’ll see a summary list of those questions and options to go back and review each. You can also go through the questions you didn’t flag and confirm you’re OK with the answers. As with any exam, waiting for results seems to take forever. However, I received mine via email within 24 hours of my exam time.
Describe a few benefits of remote proctoring.
DH: Oh, there are so many benefits! The highlights for me were having the ability to complete the test in the comfort of my own home, as well scheduling my test for a time that worked best for me. Most people in the communications industry have a constantly changing and hectic schedule, so the scheduling element was a huge plus.
LG: Remote proctoring is convenient in this age of limited travel and virtual communication. Many jobs have gone completely remote or hybrid, and remote proctoring gives candidates the choice to take the exam on their time and wherever works best (including their office) with much more flexibility to reschedule.
What advice do you have for others planning to pursue the SCMP or CMP certification?
DH: I heavily relied on all the study resources offered on the GCCC website. I also read several chapters of “The IABC Guide for Practical Business Communication.” Studying for certification is demanding, so don't leave it to the last minute. Take a few months to familiarize yourself with the application process, read up on past recipients and find a study buddy if possible. It’s a challenging process, but it’s so worth it.
LG: Passing the certification exam is one of the highlights of my career. It’s humbling to be among a group of colleagues and former mentors who earned it before me. If you’re considering a certification, use the resources listed on the GCCC site and schedule time to prepare. Although the exam questions tie directly into our experiences in the communications field under various scenarios, reviewing the concepts and task analyses helps fill in some gaps that you haven’t dealt with in a while.
Ready to take your communication career to the next level? Start your certification journey, and learn more about remote proctoring on the GCCC website.
IABC Staff, Featuring Dawn Hawco, CMP, and Lynnette Gonzales, CMP