There has been talk about audio description certification for a while.  The American Council of the Blind (ACB) has taken the lead and started working with the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP) toward accomplishing that.

A round blue badge with the phrase Last April 2, they held a conference call to talk about the process of creating the certification and the next step to be completed, which is the creation of an Audio Description Subject Matter Expert (SME) Board.  Previous to the conference call, the ACB shared on its website a document mentioning why a certification is important, the creation of the SME Board reasons and an invitation to people in the field to contribute with their views. You can read the document at this link: The Audio Description Field Needs Your Help!  

More than 30 people attended the conference call on April 2. There were attendees from different parts of the country and some from Canada.  During the meeting, it was mentioned that the starting point will be the certification for the writers of audio descriptions. Later, certifications for quality assurance experts, voiceover experts, engineering experts can be created; particularly the quality assurance certification will be important because it includes the users of audio description.

Even with the creation of just the certification for audio description writers, there are many questions to be addressed, such as, what type of formal education can be considered, who will provide the formal education, how experience will be included, will there be different requirements depending on the venue for which the describers work, whether or not different levels of certification are necessary, what should be the certification requirements for the different certification levels, etc. The ACB welcomes comments on the topic at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There will be an AD Certification open discussion/panel at the Audio Description Project Conference (July 1-3), held in conjunction with the ACB 2018 Conference and Convention in St Louis, MO.

The ACVREP in collaboration with SME Board will develop the certification. The SME Board needs to include audio description experts, users, and companies that buy audio description services. A SME Board typically has 12 members, but there can be up to 14 members.  Applications to be part of this committee will open in September and the objective is to have the Board constituted by December 15, 2018. Visit the Subject Matter Expert (SME) Committees for more information on the tasks of SME Committees.

About the process of creating the certification

  • It takes between 18 to 24 months to create a certification. 
  • The cost of creating a certification exam is around $60,000. The certifying organization needs to analyze if the certification is financially sustainable. That will depend on how valuable the certification is for the field.
  • Typically a certification exam contains 100 questions, which means that the beta test exam should have at least a pool of 130 questions.  

Learn more about the process visiting the ACVREP Process for Establishing a Certification document. 

This is an opportunity for people in the field to participate in this process. Send your thoughts to the ACB by mid May.

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