Certified Business Analysis Professional

Certified Business Analysis Professional credential
International Institute of Business Analysis

According to the Certified Business Analysis Professional, or CBAP®, certification "a professional certification for individuals with extensive business analysis experience. With at least 7500 hours of hands-on BA experience, CBAP® recipients are the elite, senior members of the BA community.”

Much like the PMP® certification for project managers, the CBAP® is a signal to colleagues and potential employers that a credential holder is serious about his or her profession.

When you see CBAP® behind someone's name in an email signature, you know you are conversing with an experienced business analyst.

IIBA offers a lower level designation called the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis, or CCBA®.

How to Get the CBAP® Certification

Obtaining the CBAP® is a challenge. For those pursuing the certification, doing so requires significant investments of time and effort. Here are the requirements needed to apply for the CBAP®:

  • 7500 hours of business analysis work experience aligned with the BABOK® Guide within the last 10 years  

  • 900 hours in each of four of the six knowledge areas

  • 21 hours of professional development within the past four years  

  • Two references from a current or past supervisor, client or CBAP® holder

  • Signed code of conduct

Remember, these requirements are just to apply. For both members and non-members of IIBA, the application fee is $125, and it is not refundable.

Applicants may be asked to provide proof of information they submit as part of IIBA's auditing processes.

Applicants must pass an exam in order to achieve the designation. The exam contains 150 multiple-choice questions measuring the test taker’s knowledge and application of the BABOK® Guide. The exam fee is $325 for IIBA members or $450 for non-members.

IIBA recommends similar strategies the Project Management Institute, or PMI, recommends for project managers pursuing the PMP® such as reading the source material (PMBOK® Guide for project managers; BABOK® Guide for business analysts), taking practice exams,  participating in a study group and attending training. Passing the exam is doable but only with appropriate preparation.

IIBA publishes the CBAP® Certification Handbook to help designation seekers navigate the relevant processes. It provides step-by-step instructions and advice.

How to Maintain a CBAP® Certification

Once the credential is in hand, you don’t automatically get to keep it for life. The CBAP® is maintained through earning continuing education credits which IIBA calls Continuing Development Units, or CDUs. Over a three-year cycle, CBAP® holders must earn 60 hours of CDUs.

Recertification is an ongoing investment. IIBA outlines five purposes of recertification:

  1. To encourage ongoing professional development

  2. To foster and recognize individualized learning

  3. To spur CBAP® holders to give back to the business analysis profession

  4. To give a standard mechanism for recording professional development activities

  5. To sustain the recognition and value of the CBAP® designation

    IIBA conducts random audits of professional development information submitted for recertification. IIBA publishes the CBAP® Recertification Handbook to assist designation holders in keeping their credential. The recertification fee is $85 for IIBA members or $120 for non-members.

    People who retire with a CBAP® may change the status of the credential from active to retired so they can hold onto it without needing to recertify. Those with a retired CBAP® no longer earn income from business analysis work.