CloseUp: Adobe Certifications

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At the end of November 2003, Adobe revamped its certification programs. At the same time, the company introduced a new credential—the Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI)—along with a program that permits training centers to become Adobe Authorized. Here, I provide an overview of the various credentials and programs Adobe offers and explain how some of them fit together into a certification ladder, but also provide pointers for those who might be interested in additional details.

Technical proficiency certifications for Adobe products fall under the general heading of the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) program. (See There are three levels of proficiency within the ACE program:



  • Adobe Certified Expert (ACE): Single-product, single-exam certifications on various Adobe products including Acrobat, AfterEffects, GoLive, Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop and Premiere.
  • ACE Specialist: Multiple-product, multiple-exam, media-focused certifications in print, Web and video. For print, candidates must take and pass required exams on InDesign and Acrobat, and can choose either PhotoShop or Illustrator as an elective. For Web, candidates must take and pass required exams on GoLive and PhotoShop, and can choose either Acrobat or Illustrator as an elective. For video, candidates must take and pass required exams on PhotoShop, AfterEffects, and Premiere (no electives in this track).
  • ACE Master: Multiple-product, multiple-exam certifications on all products relevant to various Adobe application suites. At present, Adobe Creative Suite is the only master-level credential. It incorporates exams on PhotoShop, GoLive, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat.


Lots of additional details on ACE and ACI are available online. The obvious certification ladder here is to start with a single product ACE, move onto an ACE specialist credential and then culminate with the ACE Creative Suite Master. Fortunately, these programs accumulate nicely, so that meeting initial ACE and ACE Specialist requirements fit entirely inside the ACE Master umbrella.

The Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI) program requires ACE certification for topics on which an instructor wishes to teach. In addition, candidates must possess some instructor qualification, which may be a CTT+, or teaching credentials in some other certification program. Candidates can appeal this requirement on the basis of documented classroom experience in academia or commercial training environments as well. More information is available at

Training sites interested in investigating Adobe Authorized Training Center (AATC) status should be aware that they are required to use ACIs certified on the topics they teach. They must also submit a completed AATC application and offer their courses in a company-managed training facility with company signage, teach at least one public Adobe product class per month and obtain Adobe product licensing for all student workstations. For more information, visit

All in all, Adobe’s offerings cover the company’s complete line of products and offer opportunities to demonstrate interest, knowledge, skills and experience in working with them. Given their great popularity in companies and organizations of all sizes, these credentials should help print, Web and video professionals demonstrate competence and (hopefully) find work.

Ed Tittel is president of LANwrights Inc. and is contributing editor for Certification Magazine. E-mail Ed with your questions and comments at


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