Accessibility Professional Certification Grants
About the grant program
Studying for the CPACC and WAS dramatically expanded my knowledge in almost every area of accessibility. I learned more about areas that I thought I knew well and gained depth in areas I didn't know well. TLOS' Accessibility Professional Certification Grant Program is the most rewarding program I've participated in while working in the Division of IT.
- Scott "Chandler" Chandler
Accessible Technologies awards grants to selected candidates throughout the university to become certified accessibility professionals. The program helps individuals deepen their understanding and skills in accessibility to better support people with disabilities. The program is based on the International Association for Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) certifications in Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) and Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS) credentials.
The grant pays for exam preparation and exam fees. Those awarded grants participate in a learning community, which meets weekly with an experienced accessibility professional who can answer questions and demonstrate assistive technologies used by those with disabilities. Everyone who completes the program will receive either the A11y Core (CPACC) or A11y Core Dev (WAS) badges. Taking the certification exam from IAAP is optional.
All Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and graduate students can access free membership in the IAAP.
The CPACC certfication is a broad introduction into the landscape of disability and developing organizational maturity in accessibility. IAAP says:
The IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) credential is IAAP's foundational certification, representing broad, cross-disciplinary conceptual knowledge about 1) disabilities, 2) accessibility and universal design, and 3) accessibility-related standards, laws, and management strategies … The CPACC is the ideal credential for those who manage and support accessibility, but who may not personally design, implement, or evaluate the technical details of accessible solutions.
The WAS certification is developer-oriented and focuses on the technical skills of implementing accessibility on the web. IAAP says:
The Technical-level credential is intended for accessibility professionals who are expected to evaluate the accessibility of existing content or objects according to published technical standards and guidelines, and provide detailed remediation recommendations. They are expected to know and use the relevant technologies, not merely be aware of them.
How do I apply?
You can apply for the grant that covers the CPACC material or the grant that covers the WAS material. You may come back for a second grant after completing the first.
Both grants are awarded in the fall, but only the CPACC grant in the spring. Those who pass both the CPACC and WAS certfications are awarded the Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA) credential by IAAP without any additional examination.
The next CPACC cohort will begin in early 2024 with the application window opening in late Fall 2023.
The IAAP WAS cohort will not be offered during the 2023-24 academic year.