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A Comprehensive Guide to IPC CID & CID+ Among PCB Design Certifications

Posted on 29st August, 2023 by EPTAC Staff

How does one distinguish between a competent PCB designer and an expert in the field of electronics manufacturing? The answer often lies in the certifications they hold. The design and execution of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are crucial because they form the foundation of virtually every electronic device, ensuring its functionality and reliability. In this context, certifications serve as a testament to a designer's profound knowledge and expertise. Within the spectrum of PCB design certifications, the CID (Certified Interconnect Designer) and CID+ (Advanced Certified Interconnect Designer) certifications are recognized as industry benchmarks, setting standards for design proficiency. Numerous institutions provide training for these certifications, but the EPTAC program distinguishes itself with its in-depth curriculum. This article will analyze the array of PCB design certifications, focus on the technical aspects of CID & CID+, and evaluate the unique attributes of programs such as EPTAC’s.

Close up of blue Printed Circuit Board-2

Common PCB Certifications

Certifications for PCB design can vary based on the region, institution, and specific focus within the field. However, here are some of the more commonly recognized certifications and training programs related to PCB design:

  1. IPC Certification Programs

    • CID: This is a basic certification for PCB designers.

    • CID+: An advanced level of the CID certification.

    • IPC-A-600: Acceptability of Printed Boards.

    • IPC-6012: Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards.

  2. Altium Designer Certification:

    • Altium Certified Associate (ACA): Demonstrates a strong foundation in the tool.

    • Altium Certified Professional (ACP): Demonstrates expertise in using Altium for complex PCB design projects.

    • Autodesk EAGLE Certification: Autodesk offers certification programs for its EAGLE PCB design software.

  3. OrCAD and Allegro PCB Designer Certification: Offered by Cadence Design Systems for users of their PCB design tools.

  4. PCB Design School or Course Certifications: Many technical schools and universities offer PCB design courses, and upon completion, students may receive a certification or diploma indicating their proficiency in the subject.

  5. Online Course Certifications: Websites like Udemy, Coursera, and others offer PCB design courses, and students receive a certificate upon completion. For example, on Udemy you can find such courses like Learning Complete PCB Design: From an Idea to a Product, Crash Course Electronics and PCB Design or Designing PCB using Autodesk Eagle for Everyone!

  6. Industry-Specific Certifications: Some industries, like aerospace or medical devices, may have their own specific certifications for PCB design to ensure compliance with industry standards.

  7. In-House or Company-Specific Certifications: Larger companies might have their own internal training and certification programs for PCB design.

IPC CID & CID+

The CID and CID+ are certifications specifically focused on PCB design and are offered by IPC, a global trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its members in the electronics industry. Let's compare these two certifications:

  1. CID

Focus: This certification is for individuals who want to demonstrate their knowledge in PCB design and the associated standards.

Coverage: It covers the basics of PCB design, including layout considerations, component placement, and routing.

Duration: Typically, a few days of training followed by an examination.

Comparison: CID is more specialized than general certifications like IPC-A-600 or IPC-6012. It's more comparable to software-specific certifications like Altium or Autodesk EAGLE but is not tied to specific software.

  1. CID+

Focus: This is an advanced certification for those who have already achieved the CID certification and want to delve deeper.

Coverage: It goes beyond the basics to cover advanced topics in PCB design, such as high-speed design considerations, advanced materials, and complex routing techniques.

Duration: Like the CID, it involves a few days of training followed by an examination.

Comparison: CID+ is a step above the basic CID and is for those who want to demonstrate a higher level of expertise in PCB design. It's more advanced than most other certifications, including software-specific ones.

When comparing CID and CID+ certifications with other certifications in the realm of PCB design, they stand distinctively apart. While certifications like IPC-A-600 and IPC-6012 focus on the acceptability and quality of printed boards and electronic assemblies, CID and CID+ are specialized in design principles. Software-specific certifications such as Altium Designer, Autodesk EAGLE, OrCAD, and Allegro PCB Designer emphasize proficiency in particular software tools, whereas CID and CID+ maintain a broader scope, not tied to any specific software. While PCB Design School or Online Course Certifications might touch upon topics similar to CID and CID+, the global recognition and standardization of CID and CID+ by IPC provide them a significant advantage in the industry. Other industry-specific certifications are tailored to ensure designs align with particular industry standards, like aerospace or medical, but CID and CID+ offer a more generalized approach. Lastly, in-house or company-specific certifications might not be universally recognized, in contrast to the global acknowledgment of CID and CID+.

The CID and CID+ certifications offer several benefits to individuals in the PCB design field. Here's why they are considered valuable and sometimes even essential for a PCB designer:

  • Industry Recognition: The CID and CID+ certifications are globally recognized in the electronics industry. Having these certifications demonstrates a standardized level of expertise and knowledge in PCB design.

  • Enhanced Credibility: Being certified can give a designer an edge when applying for jobs or bidding for projects. It assures employers and clients that the designer has a solid understanding of PCB design principles and practices.

  • Knowledge and Skill Enhancement: The training and examination process for these certifications ensures that designers are up to date with the latest design techniques, standards, and best practices.

  • Reduced Design Errors: A certified designer is more likely to produce designs that adhere to industry standards, reducing the likelihood of errors, rework, and associated costs.

  • Career Advancement: Many employers prefer or even require their PCB designers to be CID or CID+ certified. Having these certifications can lead to better job opportunities, promotions, and potentially higher salaries.

  • Networking Opportunities: Being part of the IPC certified community can provide opportunities to network with other professionals in the field, leading to potential collaborations, job opportunities, and knowledge sharing.

  • Confidence Boost: Achieving certification can boost a designer's confidence in their skills and abilities, leading to better decision-making and design outcomes.

  • Continuous Learning: The electronics industry is constantly evolving. Being certified and maintaining that certification ensures that a designer is committed to continuous learning and staying updated with the latest trends and technologies.

  • Client Trust: For freelance designers or design firms, having certification can instill trust in clients, making them more likely to choose a certified designer over a non-certified one.

  • Standardized Approach: : CID and CID+ training instills a standardized approach to design, ensuring consistency and quality across projects.

 

EPTAC'S PCB DESIGN CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

EPTAC consistently delivers top-tier PCB design education, backed by the expertise of IPC Certified Instructors. Our courses are structured to provide a comprehensive understanding of PCB design, ranging from fundamental principles to advanced methodologies. Recognized across the industry, EPTAC's certifications enhance the technical credentials of professionals. With a focus on adaptability, we offer training formats tailored to both individual learners and organizational needs. For those aiming to achieve proficiency and distinction in PCB design, EPTAC's CID and CID+ certification courses are the optimal choice.

  1. IPC Designer Certification (CID)

Description: The CID is a professional development program focused on PCB design philosophy and requirements. It's tailored for individuals passionate about transforming electrical schematics into manufacturable, assembled, and testable PCB designs.

Course Structure: The course spans 4 days, with 3 days of lectures and 1 day dedicated to review and testing. It covers the fundamentals of component placement, track routing, design considerations, layout principles, component and assembly issues, and the overall physical demands required to produce a quality PCB.

Instructors: The course is taught by recognized industry professionals and IPC Certified Instructors with extensive expertise in the PCB design process.

Target Audience: While primarily for PCB designers, the course is also beneficial for anyone involved in PCB production, including sales, management, procurement, and quality roles.

Certification: Successful completion of the course and exam results in a certification recognized throughout the industry.

Training Formats: EPTAC offers various training formats, including scheduled classes (online or in-person) and dedicated classes (online or on-site) tailored to the needs of organizations.

  1. IPC Advanced Designer Certification (CID+)

Description: The CID+ is the pinnacle of PCB design certifications in the industry. It's designed for designers aiming to achieve the highest PCB Design status.

Course Structure: This 4-day course (3 days of lectures and 1 day for review and testing) delves into advanced design and fabrication topics. It covers fabrication materials, electrical and signaling issues, complex component mounting strategies, and high-end design considerations.

Instructors: Like the CID course, the CID+ is also taught by industry-recognized professionals and IPC Certified Instructors.

Prerequisite: The course is open to anyone who has completed the IPC Designer Certification (CID).

Certification: Upon passing the exam, participants receive a certification recognized throughout the industry.

Training Formats: EPTAC provides multiple training formats, similar to the CID course.

EPTAC's courses for CID and CID+ certifications provide comprehensive training, expert instruction, and flexible learning options, making them a top choice for individuals and organizations aiming for excellence in PCB design.

About EPTAC

EPTAC is an internationally recognized leader in solder training and IPC certification, providing professionals with the skills to accelerate their careers, and businesses, the talent to succeed. For over 35 years, EPTAC has been helping corporations increase quality standards, improve productivity, and maximize profits. With 24 locations in North America, EPTAC continues to expand its offerings and exceptional instructional staff to provide easy access to knowledge and skill-based programs when and where the industry demands it. Access our scheduled programs through our website or schedule your own corporate on-site training. For information, call 800.643.7822 or contact us.

 

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