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Faraday House

Clayton Wood Close, Leeds,
LS16 6QE

+44 (0)113 274 4270

8am - 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8am - 4pm Friday

Email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can

The Three Levels of IPC Certification Explained


In the electronics industry, understanding and maintaining industry standards is crucial for the success and reliability of products. IPC certification plays a pivotal role in this process, offering structured programs that ensure a uniform understanding of industry standards. IPC certification not only enhances individual skills but also contributes significantly to the improvement of product quality and reliability across the entire electronics industry.  

There are three different levels to which individuals can be certified. Although people understand the importance of IPC certification, we often get asked what the differences in the 3 levels are and how to know which level to choose. The three levels are;  

  • Certified IPC Specialist 
  • Certified Standards Expert 
  • Certified IPC Trainer 

In this post we will explore the three different levels of IPC certification, explaining each level’s focus, benefits, and who the certification is suited for.  

Certified IPC Specialist (CIS) 

At the foundation of the IPC certification pyramid is the Certified IPC Specialist (CIS) level. This level of certification is designed for individuals involved in the manufacturing, assembly, and inspection processes of electronic assemblies, printed circuit boards and cable and wire harnesses. It serves as an entry point into the world of standardised electronic assemblies. CIS level certification provides participants with a thorough understanding of IPC standards that relate to their specific job roles. 

The CIS programs are rich in content, focusing on the practical application of the IPC standards in real-world scenarios. Participants are trained to interpret and apply standards with precision, ensuring that their work meets the stringent quality requirements of the electronics industry. This level of certification is ideal for operators, technicians, and frontline supervisors, offering them a solid foundation in quality control measures and processes. 

The curriculum for the CIS level varies based on the standard being taught, but it generally covers topics such as soldering criteria, cable and harness assembly, and electronic assembly acceptance standards. The training includes both theoretical knowledge and hands-on workmanship modules, ensuring that participants are well-equipped to apply the standards in their daily work.  

Certified Standards Expert (CSE) 

Moving a step further, the Certified Standards Expert (CSE) level is tailored for individuals seeking to deepen their understanding of IPC standards beyond the foundational level. This certification is perfect for professionals who are not required to be trainers within their organisation but need to serve as knowledge resources within their business. 

CSEs play a critical role in bridging the gap between the CIS level and higher certification levels, offering guidance and clarification on the application of IPC standards. A CSE is required to possess the expertise to help interpret these standards for their colleagues and, on occasion, their customers. This level of certification is particularly beneficial for quality assurance managers, engineering staff, and anyone involved in the quality and reliability of electronic assemblies. 

The training for the CSE certification contains the same content as that of a CIS, but they have a higher pass grade and timed exams. It empowers professionals to make informed decisions regarding manufacturing processes and to troubleshoot complex issues related to standards compliance. By becoming a CSE, individuals not only elevate their own career prospects but also become pivotal in enhancing their organisation’s operational efficiency and product quality, especially when disputes arise with customers and suppliers.

A woman holding up an electronics circuit board to inspect it

Certified IPC Trainer (CIT) 

The Certified IPC Trainer (CIT) level is designed for individuals who aim to take on a more educative role within the framework of IPC certification. CITs are qualified to train and certify individuals to CIS level within their organisations or as independent consultants.  

CITs receive advanced training in IPC standards, along with methods for effective teaching and knowledge transfer. This certification is particularly suited for experienced professionals who have a passion for teaching and wish to contribute to raising industry standards through education. Being a CIT allows individuals to not only influence the quality of work at their own workplaces but also impact the industry at large by preparing the next generation of skilled workers. 

Upon completion, CITs are equipped with some of the necessary training resources to conduct CIS training sessions, administer exams, and certify individuals. 

Master IPC Trainer (MIT) 

At the apex of the IPC certification pyramid is the Master IPC Trainer (MIT) level. MITs are the elite educators within the IPC structure, possessing the authority to train CIT, CSE and CIS delegates. This certification requires a profound understanding of IPC standards and a strong background in training and education. MIT status is a designation that can only be granted to a CIT by meeting strict criteria. 

MITs are instrumental in developing the next generation of IPC trainers, ensuring that the quality of education and certification remains high. They work closely with IPC to stay abreast of the latest standards and teaching methodologies, often contributing to the development of training materials and courses.  

The criteria for MITs is rigorous. Individuals must meet certain requirements such as already being CIT level, working for an Authorised IPC training Centre and must have taught a minimum number of training courses. By becoming an MIT, individuals not only achieve the highest level of recognition in the IPC certification program but also play a crucial role in shaping the future of the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. 

Here at The Electonics Group, all our trainers are certified Master Trainers in one or more IPC standards. 

Why Choose The Electronics Group to Get Your IPC Certification 

Here’s why choosing The Electronics Group as your partner in IPC certification is a wise decision: 

1 – We offer all the main IPC certification programs, to CIS, CSE and CIT level, taught by our team of Master Trainers. This diversity ensures that individuals at any stage of their career can find a program that suits their needs and aspirations. Whether you’re just starting out in the electronics manufacturing industry or looking to advance to a higher level of expertise, The Electronics Group has a certification program for you. 

2 – Our trainers are seasoned professionals with extensive experience in the electronics industry. Their expertise is not just theoretical but grounded in years of practical experience. This ensures that the training you receive is not only compliant with IPC standards but also relevant to the real-world challenges and scenarios you will face in your career. 

3 – We are committed to providing a supportive learning environment. We understand that the path to certification can be challenging and are dedicated to ensuring that every participant has the resources and support needed to succeed. From our state-of-the-art training centre in Leeds, and our second facility in Chippenham, to comprehensive study materials and hands-on exercises, every aspect of the training program is designed to facilitate learning and mastery of IPC standards. We are also flexible with when we run our courses to enable us to find dates that work best for you and your company. 

Take a look at our IPC courses or get in touch with a member of the team today for more information. 

A row of work stations set up with monitors and electronics testing equipment
One of our training rooms at our Centre in Leeds

The Three Levels of IPC Certification Summary 

IPC certification is an important step for anyone involved in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. The four levels of IPC certification provide a structured approach to professional development, from foundational knowledge to advanced expertise and instructional capabilities.  

By choosing The Electronics Group for your IPC certification, you’re not just investing in a certification; you’re investing in a partnership that will support your professional growth and success in the electronics industry. With our experienced Master trainers, comprehensive programs, and supportive learning environment, The Electronics Group is the ideal choice for anyone looking to achieve IPC certification and make a significant impact in their field. 

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