If you want to work as a creative in the visual arts, in-depth knowledge of the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) suite is a must. Creative Cloud applications are some of the most common tools in the industry.
Whether you're just looking for your first job or struggling to earn steady work in a competitive field, you might have trouble earning the trust of employers or clients because you lack work experience. Earning a professional certification in relevant Adobe CC programs – for example, Adobe Photoshop certification – can be the key to overcoming this early-career catch-22.
What is an Adobe Certified Associate?
Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) is a credential that validates entry-level proficiency in Creative Cloud software. It signifies that you have the skills needed to plan, design, build, and maintain effective digital media communications.
Each piece of Creative Cloud software has its own Adobe certification exam. You can become ACA-certified in:
- Adobe Dreamweaver for web authoring
- Adobe Photoshop for visual design
- Adobe Illustrator for graphic design and illustration
- Adobe InDesign for print and digital media publication
- Adobe Animate (which replaced Flash) for multi-platform animation
- Adobe Premiere Pro for digital video
- Adobe After Effects for visual effects and motion graphics
ACA certifications are valid for three years. This helps you prove that your expertise is current and up to date in a profession where technology is rapidly evolving.
Why Become an Adobe Certified Associate?
As the go-to application suite for graphic design, video editing, and web development, Creative Cloud skills are critical for any job in the visual communication field.
Over 90% of hiring managers consider software certifications to be an important hiring criterion. Adobe certification is recognized as an industry-leading assessment that provides proof of proficiency in a particular tool. ACA certification confirms that you're capable of leveraging widely-used Creative Cloud applications at a professional level.
ACA exams are specifically designed to reflect how professionals use Adobe software in the real world. Certification tells potential employers or clients that you have thorough technical expertise and you're ready to put your skills to work for them.
Aside from giving you a direct competitive advantage, earning your ACA certification will help you gain confidence in your skills and help you learn how to handle work tasks efficiently.
Once you pass an ACA exam, you'll receive a certificate and a digital badge that contains verifiable data to add to your portfolio.
What is an Adobe Certified Professional or an ACA Specialist?
When tackling creative projects in the real world, you'll often need to use multiple Adobe applications together.
To reflect the need for cross-platform skills, there's a level of certification beyond individual ACA credentials. Until Fall 2020, these credentials were known as ACA Specialists, but now they're known as Adobe Certified Professional specialty credentials.
There are three Adobe Certified Professional specialty credentials you can earn. Each requires you to pass at least two ACA exams. They are:
- Adobe Certified Professional in Visual Design: Photoshop (required) + Illustrator OR InDesign
- Adobe Certified Professional in Video Design: Premiere Pro (required) + Photoshop OR After Effects
- Adobe Certified Professional in Web Design: Dreamweaver (required) + Animate OR Photoshop
Earning one of these credentials proves to potential employers or clients that you have the skills for the most complex projects.
Don't confuse ACA or Adobe Certified Professional credentials with Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) credentials. ACE is a separate, more advanced certification that focuses more on problem-solving.
What Are the ACA Exams Like?
Each Adobe Certified Associate exam is a 50-minute performance-based test. It uses realistic scenarios, in-app tasks, and interactive questions to test your familiarity with the core features and capabilities of the program you're being tested on.
In addition to technical exam objectives, but there's also a set of objectives for each exam called Working in the Industry. These objectives cover legal, technical, and design knowledge related to the application, as well as skills for working with colleagues and clients.
Adobe certification exams are offered through the Certiport. You can either travel to the Certiport Authorized Testing Center in your area or use Certiport Exams from Home.
What Happens if I Fail My Adobe Certification Exam?
You need to earn a 70% to pass an ACA exam. If you fail your first try at a particular Adobe certification exam, you'll need to wait at least 24 hours before you can try again. If you fail again, there's a five-day waiting period before you're eligible to test again.
How Can You Prepare for the ACA Exams?
Each application has a list of exam objectives that you'll be tested on. It's important to check that you're fluent in all these objectives before you attempt the exam.
Some people might feel confident enough to self-educate and prepare on their own, but there are Adobe certification classes out there designed specifically to prepare you for ACA exams.
ACA courses like ours help you work methodically through the exam objectives, learn the most efficient way to complete each task, and practice your new skills.
Adobe says that designers who are successful in earning certification have 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience. Preparation courses can be a great way to log this time, particularly if you're new. Our Adobe certification classes provide 220 hours of hands-on learning.
How Much is Adobe Certification?
Certiport's fee for each ACA exam is $95, so that's an unavoidable expense.
Adobe certification courses vary a lot in time and expense. College-based 3-credit ACA prep courses can run around $1,000 per application. You can find two-day Adobe certification seminars for $800, but these only provide 16 hours of instruction, at most. That's simultaneously too much to cram into a weekend and too little instruction time.
Our online, self-paced Adobe Certified Associate package is on par with those seminars in cost per application, except you get more than twice as much instruction and guided practice (roughly 44 hours apiece). Better yet, you can work through the curriculum on your own schedule, at your own pace, which will help you retain the information and reinforce your skills.
With our 220-hour ACA package, you'll get instruction and hands-on practice in 5 different applications: Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Animate. Plus, you'll get vouchers to cover the cost of all five ACA exams.
This combination of Adobe certifications allows you to become an Adobe Certified Professional in Visual Design and in Web Design. That's an invaluable skill set in our always-connected world.
As a bonus, if you're a military spouse eligible for MyCAA funds, they'll cover the whole cost of this program.
Ready to get started? Register for our Adobe Certified Associate program today!