Google is gearing up to make the change from their current Google Certification Program (GCP) to their new version of the program, Google Partners. This transition will begin on September 30, 2013.New and current members should take note of the changes:

For certified professionals:

  • You’ll need a Google Partners account to take exams and get certified.
  • Taking exams and getting certified will be free (it currently costs $50 per exam).
  • Your exam history and AdWords certification status will transfer to your Partners account when you join, but make sure to use the same login credentials when setting up your Partners account.
  • Certifications earned through the Google Certification Program will remain valid through the expiration date, so no need to retake the test within the new program until your current expiration date.

Side note: my exam expiration date happens to be September 27th, three days before the migration begins. I was advised by a rep at Google to take my exam prior to my expiration date, to ensure that it is scored and posted to my account before the migration begins. So, if your expiration date is coming up between now and the 30th, take your tests ASAP (too bad we will miss the free exam by just a couple of days)!

For certified companies:

  • A Google Partners account will be required to manage your company’s profile on Google Partner Search.
  • You can manage both your individual certifications and company profile using the same Partners account.
  • To continue being listed on Google Partner Search after November 13, your company must qualify for the new Google Partner badge. These requirements include an MCC with at least $10,000 in 60 of the last 90 days and one person at the company that is fully certified (similar to what was required in the past). In addition, Google now lists several ways that companies must adhere to Google’s best practices. You can read more about the requirements here.
  • Current Certified Partners will not automatically qualify for the new Google Partner badge.
  • Use of the old ‘AdWords Certified Partner’ badge won’t be permitted after November 13th, so companies will need to obtain a new badge by that date.

Have questions about the transition from the Google Certification Program to Google Partners? Issues you’ve run into during the transition? Let us know in the comments!

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