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Yes, You Can! Overcoming Misconceptions about EAC Certification

Since launching the Editors' Association of Canada's landmark professional certification program in 2006, we've received a lot of feedback from editors across the country. Here, we address some of your most frequently raised concerns.

Misconception No. 1: The tests are too hard. No one passes them.

Fact: The tests measure excellence, and they are Canada's gold standard in editing and proofreading. They are meant to be challenging. Many editors successfully pass the tests and gain their desired designations.

If you prepare well and you have at least five years of full-time work experience across a variety of publishing materials and media, EAC Certification was designed with you in mind. Certification provides a great opportunity for you to become familiar with editing resources, study professional skills, and build your confidence.

Misconception No. 2: The exams don't reflect the way I edit in the real world.

Fact: Of course, no exam will exactly reflect how you perform your regular tasks. Our tests assess your knowledge of EAC's Professional Editorial Standards and how and where to apply them. We trust that you also use them in your work.

While in real life you may use your computer and work without time limits, sometimes you will have to edit within a time frame or work on paper.

Different industries use different methods to achieve similar results. An exam may not be a true-to-life representation of how you edit. However, it will allow you to flex your editorial acumen and display your skills in an environment that focuses on the editorial process.

Misconception No. 3: You need to pass all four tests before it means anything.

Fact: Many editors work toward obtaining the full Certified Professional Editor designation, but it is just as beneficial to your career to achieve a stand-alone credential. Depending on what type of work you do, one or two certifications may be all you need. Do you specialize in copy editing? Is stylistic editing your niche? Become a Certified Copy Editor or a Certified Stylistic Editor, and assure your clients and employers they are hiring the best of the best.

Misconception No. 4: You must pass all four tests within a certain time, or you can't become a CPE.

Fact: The 10-year window to pass all of the tests is a thing of the past. Now the test-taking period is open ended, which allows you to choose the disciplines and times that best meet your needs. Take as many years as you like, and test for as many certifications as you wish. You know the best trajectory for your career, and EAC gives you the freedom to meet your goals at your own pace.

Misconception No. 5: If I fail a test, other EAC members will know, and my reputation will suffer.

Fact: Confidentiality will always remain critical to the certification process. We understand that privacy and sensitivity are paramount to our test takers, which is why we identify you only by candidate number. Rest assured that EAC will never identify you by name.

At the end of the certification process, only authorized members of EAC's national office staff will have access to the results. Building your reputation is our goal, and we will do whatever is needed to protect it.

Misconception No. 6: The tests are too subjective. You can't objectively measure an editor's ability, because there are many ways to edit a passage.

Fact: The marking process is as objective as we can make it, and we've based it on best practices for organizations that offer certification. It begins with how we design the questions and prepare the answer keys, and it extends to how the markers are trained. Markers consider a range of answers, and two people evaluate each test. If their assessments for a particular candidate differ significantly, the test is sent to a third marker. Finally, a marking analyst assesses all of the results.

Misconception No. 7: Certification won't make any difference to my career.

Fact: Certification can make a big difference. It allows you to objectively demonstrate your skills as an editor or a proofreader, and it gives you the confidence of knowing your skills are first-rate. You gain other benefits, too:

  • You can charge higher fees.
  • You become more marketable. Some hiring organizations now ask for certification, while others invite editors to provide proof of certification in lieu of work samples.
  • Certification makes you a better editor. Going through the process of studying and practising updates your knowledge and improves your skills.

Misconception No. 8: Credential maintenance is too complicated.

Fact: Credential maintenance is a very simple process to manage, and it's actually an enjoyable way to track your progress. As you complete each professional development activity, all you need to do is enter the details on EAC's website, which tallies and securely stores this confidential information.

Discover how EAC Certification can help your career. Register today.


Issued on behalf of the EAC certification steering committee by the national office.