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CBAP® Certification (Certified Business Analysis Professional™)

Central to the credibility of any profession are certified standards-levels of knowledge and expertise that any employer or colleague can assume of a professional-usually designated by a series of initials after one's name. For example, to demonstrate their proficiency at their craft, an accountant may achieve a CPA. A project manager may achieve a PMP. A nursing assistant may achieve CNA. And now, a business analyst may attain a CBAP® -Certified Business Analysis Professional.

The profession of business analysis exists across a broad range of industries across the globe, and until recently, has had little unifying consistency. Most analysts understand that the profession encompasses requirements discovery, requirements writing, and reviews. But as the profession has expanded, speaking a common language or establishing an expected level of expertise among business analysts across the globe has been virtually impossible without a unifying certification. The growing ranks of analysts and their various interpretations of the profession have necessitated an established set of standards.

Thus the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has pioneered the CBAP® designation, the first internationally recognized, measurable certification standard for business analysts. The certification encompasses the industry-respected Business Analyst's Body of Knowledge (BABOK® 2.0), thereby lending protocols and credence to the business and establishing authority for any analyst holding the certification. The CBAP® designation brings the vast global spectrum of business analysts and their associated industries under one strong, unifying umbrella.

CBAP® benefits to the business analysis profession include:

  • An objective, measurable criteria of professional achievement

  • Implementation of consistent standards across the profession

  • The removal of uncertainty among employers regarding exactly what a business analyst brings to the table.

  • The establishment of best practice methods across the profession.

  • Predictable levels of expertise and knowledge across the profession.

After achieving the CBAP® ®, business analysts will experience benefits including:

  • Strong, clear-cut skills in the craft of business analysis, enabling them to better tackle daily challenges in their work.

  • Recognition of career competence of from both colleagues and managers, having achieved the highest standard of professional expertise available.

  • Enhanced career mobility as more organizations recognize the CBAP® .

  • Identification to multiple audiences that you are proficient in industry-recognized best practice methods

  • The right to use CBAP® in one,s title on business cards, resumes, email signatures, etc. 

After one or more analysts within an organization achieve the CBAP®, that organization will experience benefits including:

  • The use of industry-acknowledged best practices within their organization, incorporated by analysts who have achieved the highest standard of certification available

  • Business recognition as a forward-looking organization that acknowledges the significance of the field of business analysis - increasingly recognized across all industries as indispensable to a project's smooth course and successful completion.

  • The advantage of introducing analysts as CBAP®'s to clients and partnering organizations.

  • Greater retention of experienced business analysts, who are rewarded and recognized for their hard-earned knowledge and years of practice.

Despite the relatively novel introduction of CBAP®, organizations such as Hartford Financial Insurance Group, SunTrust Banks, Royal Bank of Canada and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies are among the organizations that formally recognize CBAP® certification among analysts. As more businesses and industries grow in awareness of the designation, its acceptance will become more universal.

Requirements for getting the CBAP® are rigorous but achievable for most intermediate to advanced analysts. Candidates must have at least:

  • Five years (7,500 hours) of analyst experience (working, consulting and/or training) within the last 10 years

  • Six month (900 hours) of work experience engaged in tasks that tie directly to four of the six knowledge areas (Enterprise Analysis, Requirements Planning, Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Analysis, Requirements Communication, and Solution Assessment)

  • Twenty-one hours of analyst-related professional development (conferences, seminars, or training) in the last three years.

  • Two references from a manager, client, or credentialed CBAP® indicating you are a good candidate to write for the CBAP® test.

  • A high school education, or its equivalent.

CBAP® s must also sign the IIBA™ Code of Ethical Conduct and Professional Standards Form to indicate their commitment to the highest industry standards.

Each of these requirements is subject to audit, and must be documented. Note that meeting these requirements does not get you the CBAP® certification; they simply establish you as qualified to sit for the CBAP® certification test, which consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. Because the test covers six distinct areas of business analysis expertise, it is not intended to guarantee the analyst has an exhaustive knowledge of all facets of business analysis, but instead that she has a strong foundation of BABOK® principles. While IIBA® does not make sample exams or questions available, candidates may prepare for the exam in several ways:

  • Familiarize yourself with BABOK® 2.0 and its terms and principles, available here.

  • Take advantage of published CBAP® study guides*, including CBAP® Certification Study Guide or CBAP® Certified Business Analysis Professional All-in-One Exam Guide, available from online booksellers such as Amazon.

  • Try your hand at mock CBAP® tests, available from selected vendors*.

  • Some vendors* offer CBAP® boot camps, which not only prepare you for the exam but may also help walk you through submitting your application, identify areas of weakness that you need to strengthen, and offer test-taking strategies to help reduce your anxiety about the exam.

You do not have to be a member of IIBA® to sit for the exam, but you will have to pay a higher fee to write the exam than an IIBA® member. Once an applicant passes the test, s/he is free to use the CBAP® credential. Certification lasts for three years. Ninety days prior to the expiration of a CBAP® 's certification, IIBA® will contact them to begin the recertification process.

Recertification ensures that analysts are able to stay on the cutting edge of their field, even as they grow in experience and knowledge of their chosen industry. To maintain their certification, CBAP® s must earn at least 60 continuing development units (CDUs) such as formal education, volunteer service, professional development, and/or professional experience within each three-year cycle that they hold their certification. (As with initial requirements to write for the CBAP® exam, any such experience must be documented. The analyst should report these activities as they occur by using the IIBA® Online CDU Report Form, so that the s/he is not left gathering and reporting information at the last minute before the certification is about to expire.) CBAP® s must pay a renewal fee (less than the initial application and test fee), and re-sign the IIBA™ Code of Ethical Conduct and Professional Standards Form.

The advantages of attaining the CBAP® are difficult to overstate-the benefits are numerous. If you have the necessary experience, the designation is likely within your reach. You can easily form a feasible plan (even using your analyst skills, if you wish) for applying for and achieving the CBAP® ®, and boost the direction of your career today. For more details about CBAP® ®, including full details about how to apply, visit


CBAP® is a registered certification mark owned by International Institute of Business Analysis. This certification mark is used with the express permission of International Institute of Business Analysis.

Certified Business Analysis Professional™, EEP™ and the EEP logo are trademarks owned by International Institute of Business Analysis.

IIBA®, the IIBA® logo, BABOK® and Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® are registered trademarks owned by International Institute of Business Analysis. These trademarks are used with the express permission of International Institute of Business Analysis.