Are you a Certified Archivist?

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Are you a Certified Archivist?

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Aug 13, 2007, 3:07pm

I realize this subject has been discussed at length, over and over, on a lot of other professional lists, etc.

I did the C.A. exam in 2005, primarily as a means to get my name listed in the "professional accomplishments" section of my in-house newsletter. I was working at a big urban medical center where the archives was the last of everyone's priorities, and any kind of outreach seemed to help a bit. I also have an M.S.L.S.

Do you have the C.A.? Has it helped you? If you don't have one, why not?

Aug 13, 2007, 3:29pm

No, I do not, but then archiving is a side task.

OTOH, in the job listing that came in today's inbox, A.C.A. was a preferred qualifications. So it helps.

For all y'all Flannery O'Connor fans, Georgia College & State University is looking for an archivist.

Aug 13, 2007, 3:50pm


Aug 14, 2007, 6:56am


Aug 14, 2007, 9:05am

Same here - no need. I'd guess that the value of this certification depends on the type of work sought: records mgmt and institutional archives probably value it more than collections of private papers or historical societies. This is just a guess, though, without much evidence.

Edited: Aug 27, 2007, 11:22am

In past classes of trainee archivists, the National Archives has emphasized history background. With more emphasis on getting intellectual control of the holdings one suspects that whenever a new mob of trainees is recruited they'll probably have a library-science backrground, so as to be better cataloguers.

Aug 16, 2007, 7:14pm

hmm... I hope they still teach cataloging. Seems like it's all electronic records, EAD and online finding aids these days.

Aug 27, 2007, 8:27pm

I'm not sure what the equivalent qualifications are in the States.

I'm currently studying for my MLitt in Archives and Records Management in the UK, and am finding it hard to get permanent jobs without it. Once I've done that, I'm definitely planning to go on to get accredited. I'm already in my late twenties and don't have a history background, so I reckon the more advantages I can get the better.

I have a dream of doing one of the summer-school placements at the Ecole des Chartistes in Paris, but that's more for my own interest than because I think it would be directly professionally useful. I just miss using my French.

Sep 20, 2007, 12:00am

I'm finishing up an MLS in Info Science with a concentration in Preservation and Archives. I've yet to meet an archivist in our community who's actually educated as an archivist. Most are either historians or subject specialists that have had to learn everything on the job.

Still, the more bells and whistles you have on your resume, the better you look.

Oct 29, 2007, 1:24pm

Yep, proud CA next to my name.

I didn't get it straight out of school, and my first boss in a local history Special Collections didn't want me to get it. (He liked having it instead of me - whatever.) But when I came to an academic library/archives, I knew I would need it. So I took the exam in 2003.

So far it has saved my rear at least twice. The most important was when my director (a new one, not the one who hired me) realized I don't have an MLS (I'm not a librarian, I'm an archivist.) and said she couldn't allow me to serve on shared governance committees or represent the library or even be promoted!! She said I didn't have a "terminal degree".

I was appointed to a library committee to rewrite our bylaws for promotion, and we made darn sure to include that the archivist position required a CA in order to obtain the highest level of promotion. I think we're one of a very few handfuls of academic libraries that will hire a non-MLS archivist.

I applied for promotion last year - and got it. When it comes to getting the CA, I can only think of the positive points. Kind of like Kinky Friedman's 2006 Texas gubanatorial slogan "Why the hell not?" *GRIN*

11Pompey First Message
Oct 30, 2007, 6:43pm

I have it, too. I think it does help one look more professional. I think people tend to focus on the initial effort you have to put forth to get it, but it also shows a commitment to training and continuing education in order to maintain it.

Edited: Nov 2, 2007, 12:24pm

#7 Hellooo! How do you think those online indexes get populated? Some poor smuck manually entering in the data, that's how!

Nov 25, 2009, 1:26pm

Go for it. More institutions require it. And the time may come that you'll have to turn to a non-archivist - or even worse, a library director who is not even a librarian - and say to them "I'm a Certified Archivist. I do know what I'm talking about it." When I graduated from library school in 1976 there was no archival education - you learned by doing. I took the exam for the first time this year (2009) and passed. And already I think it's helped in the "professional accomplishments" b.s.

Edited: Jun 12, 2017, 5:52pm

I came to the conclusion that MLS is a very interdisciplinary subject. The degree covers so many grounds- theoretical, technical, historical... you name it. Almost everyone I met in the field had to learn something on their own that wasn't spoon fed in school. While I'm sure an institutionalized education in an area is a plus especially if it's certified on a paper for someone to look at, I'm wondering if you have valuable information and can get something done that someone else can't, the necessity to get it down might overshadow the need for certification. I could be wrong. I'm also an MLS holder.