After Google replaced its Google Advertising Professionals certification with a new Google AdWords certification program in April 2010, I'm seeing more SEO/SEM providers touting their qualifications and decided to take another look. Why the recent groundswell of interest? Cost - the minimum spend requirement for certification was $100,000 in a 90 day time frame, a difficult level for smaller businesses to reach and maintain. The new partner certification spend limit has been reduced to $10,000.
This new program adds another online exam to the process and requires people certified under the old program to update their qualifications. Companies can attain AdWords certification to show expertise in managing AdWords programs and successful candidates earn the right to post a Google “Certified Partner” badge on their websites. Google also certifies individuals as experts in both Adwords and Google analytics, with the corresponding badges. Certified partners are required to employ at least one certified individual.
After reviewing the entire course structure in the AdWords Certification Program Learning Center with individual certification in mind, it appears to be comprehensive, thorough and a worthwhile endeavor. I plan to pursue both Adwords and Analytics qualifications, so stay tuned to follow my progress.