Certification FAQs

CIRS Certification Program FAQs

The CIRS Certification objective is to educate and train online researchers that now form a significantly large group of people involved in online research work. Ironically, while the Internet Research work has been going on for many years, an “Internet Research Specialist” is considered a fairly new occupation that has yet to make its way into formal libraries of new job description today. As a consequence of its newness, there is no structured curriculum on its education and training. AIRS is the first and only certification that meets this challenge by offering CIRS certification program – CIRS has thus far the most comprehensive curriculum and a well rounded subject matter that fulfils the industry requirements.

Why does AIRS have a Certification Program?

  • Address the dire need of a well-structured and uniform education credentials for the job description of “Internet Research Specialists”.
  • Promote awareness of online researcher as a profession that requires specialized skills.
  • Enhance the credibility, transparency and accountability of the Internet Researchers.
  • Maintain and regulate professional standards of the trade globally.
  • Deliver constant knowledge upgrades for the Certified Online Researchers through continued professional education (CPE) in this dynamic information overload era.
  • Assist in developing educated and well informed online researchers.
  • Develop online professional researcher’s community.
  • Develop confidence to the employers, recruiters and contractors when hiring or engaging.
  • Enhances the status of the Internet Research Specialists to speak for Online Research Professionals globally.
  • Develop a sense of pride for the professionals through designation of CIRS® and affiliation with AIRS as their representative professional body.

What is the recognition value of this certification?

  • The AIRS Association is a non-profit professional body registered in the province of Ontario, Canada. AIRS is a self-regulatory Association formed under the Charter of Associations granted by the Government of Canada. AIRS works primarily for the benefits of its members and promotes profession through recognition, education and certification.
  • We are the first and foremost professional association to recognize that a Professional Internet Research is an upcoming profession and it requires specialized skills and therefore deserves a proper job description. In lieu of this recognition AIRS has developed a well-structured course and offer a formal certification CIRS®.
  • The Association operates through its competent board members, industry advisory council members and is supported by its registered members that are industry professionals. As such the Association feels competent to confer such education programs, certifications and continued professional education programs to promote and facilitate the newly emerged profession.
  • Obtaining the CIRS® -Certified Internet Research Specialists credentials is optional, and the Association of Internet Research Specialists confers such certification solely for the purposes stated above in Q1. Those persons or organizations that choose to include the CIRS® Certification as a condition of employment or advancement do so of their own volition. Such persons or organizations must determine for themselves whether the use of such a certification process, including its eligibility and re-certification requirements, either alone or coupled with any other requirements imposed by such persons or entities, meets their respective needs and complies with any laws applicable to them.

Why should one be concerned about certification?

  • With the exception of librarians, there is no other focused group of researchers that can claim to have formal knowledge of the subject of internet research. An Internet researcher is typically expected to demonstrate that one is capable of finding accurate information, on time and in a useful format using the internet.
  • While there is no specific licensure required for this type of work, many people take classes in finding reference sources, database research, data mining, web analytics and research marketing intelligence etc. These may be of use in developing professional competencies and marketing themselves to potential employers and clients. You may also find that taking courses provided by vendors of proprietary databases and research tools to be very helpful.
  • Several colleges and universities may offer degrees and certificate programs in library science or competitive intelligence that may provide you with training in using Internet-based resources. Holding an educational credential in such a program may also make it easier for you to become an Internet researcher, given that employers or prospective clients may perceive you to have greater expertise than self-taught researchers. If going back to school is not an option for you, you may still want to look into short-term training program in Internet research skills such as AIRS “Certified Internet Research Specialist”.
  • To further develop career as CIRS®, one may wish to consider specializing in doing research in a specific subject area or areas. CIRS® can begin with a subject with which they already have a great deal of familiarity. For example, you may wish to offer your services in researching topics that you studied in school or that you have dealt with on a regular basis in your employment or as part of a hobby or long-term interest. The stronger your vocabulary in a subject area, the better your research will be.
  • Many companies and individuals rely on research to effectively do business or make important decisions. In some cases, companies and individuals may hire an Internet researcher to do their research for them. One of the most significant challenges of performing this kind of research is that it is difficult to target accurate information amongst numerous sources available online, using basic internet research tools.
  • If you become a “Certified Internet Research Specialist” you will be expected to have ability to this knowledge efficiently.

Where can I utilize my skills if I become a CIRS?

Generally researchers are categorized based on the type of research they do and the services offered by them. One does not have to be labelled as a professional researcher but the fact is that we all need to do search on the Internet for fast on time information when we need it. As an example following environments and professions need to do online research all the time:

CORPORATE and BUSINESSES

  • Senior Business Executives
  • Financial Advisors
  • Business Consultants
  • Retailers and Wholesalers
  • Bankers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Public Companies
  • Investors, Shareholders
  • Private Companies SMB to Large Size Corporations

PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS

  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Financial Analysts
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Insurance House's
  • Business Development Advisors
  • Private Investigators
  • The Government
  • Semi-Government Institutions
  • Law Enforcement Agencies and
  • Military Personnel's

PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHERS

  • Marketing, Advertisement and Sales
  • Marketing Researchers
  • Librarians
  • Clinical Researchers
  • Legal Researchers
  • Patent, Copyrights and Intellectual Property
  • Company Trends and Business Intelligence
  • Market Researchers
  • Financial Market and Stock Researcher

PRIVATE RESEARCH SPECIALIST

  • Assets Management Professionals
  • Investment Banking Researchers
  • Avid Personal Internet Research and Information Junkies
  • Independent Research Assistants
  • Work from Home Researchers
  • Students
  • Lecturers, Teachers, Professors
  • Academics

Who prepares the syllabus and the course of CIRS certification?

  • The CIRS® syllabus is prepared by the AIRS “Education Committee”. The syllabus is designed to ensure that the members are well trained to meet the expectations and the standards of the industry. The course is prepared within the framework of standard industry expectations and to meet the main objectives and policies of the Association.
  • The AIRS Board of Directors approve the courses and ensure compliances to the objectives and industry expectations through a review process.
  • The syllabus is constantly evolving because of the dynamic nature of the Internets and with that, its various tools and digital archiving methods. The Association announces changes to the syllabus quarterly. The syllabus and course details are part of the AIRS CIRS® Training Manual that is digitally published as spring, summer, fall and winter editions. Details of the syllabus is attached as an annexure.

What are the Benefits offered to CIRS Certified?

  • High Level Professional Recognition and Members Forum Participation
  • Opportunity of Joining AIRS Board & Committees
  • Continued Professional Education (CPE)
  • Preferred Business & Job Opportunity
  • Discounted Price on Events, seminars, Conferences & Webinars
  • High Level Professional Recognition and Members Forum Participation
  • Become part of exclusive CIRS Certified Member Directory.
  • Use of AIRS CERTFICATION LOGO.
  • Learn more about benefits

Taking the CIRS Exam FAQ

How do you register for the exam?

  • The registration for the CIRS® Certification exam is done online through our website.
  • Buy exam from E-Shop

What is the cost of the CIRS exam?

CIRS® Certification Exam Fee is US $100 [One-time] for up to 3 attempt.

Includes:

  • 3 Examination Attempt
  • Original CIRS® Certificate of Proficiency Digital Download
  • Electronic-Marks Sheet

[*Digital Certificate is FREE - Hard Copy of Certificate requires issuance and postage charges]

How is the examination structured?

There are altogether four modules in CIRS certification course. Each module has multiple sections.

The entire examination is structured according to the international standards practiced by most accredited online education institutions. AIRS has made an extra ordinary effort to engage the latest technology to conduct these exams with the latest anti-plagiarism methods.

The Exam Consists of Fourt Parts:

Module          Topics                                              *Weightages

CIRS-02-1.0  The Networks & Internet Technology     15%
CIRS-03-1.0  Research Methods & Online Research    40%
CIRS-04-1.0  The Business of Online Research           15%
CIRS-05-1.0  The Internet Law & Ethics                     15%

*Weightage signifies the overall importance of the topics – factors considered in its calculations include 1. Relevance to the CIRS course, 2. Significance attributed, 3. Complexity of learning, 4. Industry trend and industry demands attached.

Exam Duration, Questions and Grading

Quick Chart:

  • Examination Duration:                                                     120 Minutes (1.5 Hrs)
  • Breaks in Between Exams:                                                No
  • Total Number of Questions:                                               100
  • Questions in Each Module Examined:                               Variable
  • Question Types:                                                               Multiple Choices, True/False, Fill in, Best Match
  • Complete All Modules:                                                      Yes
  • Minimum Passing Marks Required in All Module:                No
  • Overall Passing Marks Required (PASS):                              70%
  • Re-attempt Allowed:                                                      Yes (Within 24 Hrs. after payment)
  • Restriction on Number of Re-attempts:                             No
  • Grading and Results:                                                         Immediate
  • Grade Sheet Availability:                                                   Immediate
  • Grading Done By:                                                               Automated (Generated by the software)

CIRS Examination Rules

Rules Summary:

  • Agree to the terms and policies of the examination.
  • Finish all 4 modules at one time.
  • Allowed to go back and review answers in all modules.
  • Allowed to go forward to the next question without answering the current.
  • Answer all questions.
  • No extra time given to finish the test.
  • In case the examination session breaks for reasons beyond the acceptable norms, the member will have to notify the examiner and seek permission to continue the exam from where it got interrupted.
  • Once barred from the examination due to violation of terms and policies of the examination or membership agreements the member will have to file an appeal addressed to the “Examination Board” to request restoration of status and allowing re-examination.

Anti-Plagiarism Policy

​​The exam is conducted under strict anti-plagiarism provisions that are implemented throughout the examination session. 

How do I prepare for the exam?

Preparing for the Exam

Estimated Effort: 8-12 hours per week over 6 weeks

The CIRS® Candidates are evaluated on their relevant knowledge gained through course workbook (AIRS CIRS® Training Manual) and Practice Exams. The exam consists of 4 parts. Each part will have a traditional multiple choice, true/false and multiple answer examination. The multiple choice exam consists of questions randomly pulled from a master list of questions. The certification candidate has 1.5 hours to complete the exam. The exam is available through online access 24x7 anywhere in the world.

The CIRS® certification program requires a good preparation because of the extensiveness of the course material and because of the way these exams are conducted and proctored.
The testing platform is inherently plagiarism proof and online proctored so there is no chance of getting any outside assistance or using the self-help notes during exam. The questions are timed and you will have to answer each question quickly.

Preparing for the exams requires a disciplined approach to commit time and execute exam preparation strategy. Here are some suggestions to go by:

  • Download the latest version of the AIRS CIRS® Examination Manual and review the entire content of the manual carefully. The manual should be the focal point of your preparation. It is the core document used as the basis for each examination and a guideline for writing examination.
  • The manual is designed for self-paced learning in easy English/French with practice exercises. These questions are very similar in both format and type to the actual CIRS® Examinations.
  •  Also make sure you are familiar with all of the acronyms used on the examinations. A glossary of terms and important definitions are also included in the manual.
  • The manual is divided into four modules and each module has separate sections/headings. The manual is designed to manage flow of information in sequence of modules and the headings within. It is strongly recommended that the user follow them in the same sequence.
  • As in any professional exams CIRS preparation requires planning in terms of time required and practice. A good self-study plan demands discipline and commitment. Best study plan is the one that you can follow.
  • Review the CIRS examinations content outlines, which list the main and subtopics covered in each examination.

Some candidates find the study guide to be sufficient in their preparation, while, some individuals may need to go beyond the study guides and review additional materials. Assess your ability and understand there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to studying for the CIRS® Examinations.

  • Candidates need to consider their learning preferences, prior knowledge, experience, time and budget in determining the best way to prepare.
  • Request a mentor if you need further guidance. Email examiner@airsassociation.org.
  • Attempt sample examination questions on our web site. These questions are frequently updated for test practice.
  • Two live sessions have also been planned each month to address student issues. These are available per schedule (to be announced each month) - Your instructor(s) will come online to deliver mini-lecture(s), provide clarifications on assignments, and to answer your questions. Alternatively, there are two options available for members that need additional learning assistance:

    Option 1

    Education through one on one correspondence via mix of Email Exchange and Live Chat.

    This is a service that can be bought through a voucher. It will give you four hours’ sessions for $100. The voucher can be applied any time and the time utilized is deducted from the voucher purchased.

    Option 2

    Take online classes available separately for each module.

    This option is available through a more structured online classes to be announced soon. The cost and other details related to these sessions is not available until the date of release of this document.

How are the exam questions delivered?

The exam consists of four parts. Each part will have a traditional multiple choices, true/false and multiple answer examination. The multiple choice exam consists of questions randomly pulled from a master list of questions. The certification candidate has 1.5 hours to complete the exam. The exam is available through online access 24x7 anywhere in the world. You will be provided AIRS exam preparation workbook.

How is the exam scored?

The exam is machine graded by the Examinator application using API calls. You'll receive only a Pass or Fail status within a couple of minutes of submitting the exam/link for grading.

Do I have to sign in immediately to start the exam?

You don't have to start your exam immediately. You have 30 days from the time the invitation email is sent to complete the exam. Once you start the exam, you must complete it in 2 hours.

When will I receive my results?

You'll receive a pass or fail result within a few minutes of submitting your exam.

What happens if I fail?

If you fail the exam you'll see an onscreen notification and, based on the results of your exam, you'll receive an email also. The exam re-takes are allowed up to Max 3 attempts in 90 days. There is no additional cost attached to the exam.

What happens if I pass?

All Associate Members in good standing that have passed the CIRS® Examination will gain the designation of “Certified Internet Research Specialists” and you can download Digital copy of your Certificate immidiately after passed the exam.

  1. The examination has not indicated any RED FLAGS in contravention of the examination terms and policy within which the exam was taken.
  2. The financial transaction for the examination fee has passed through the bank accounts successfully.
  3. The member has not been barred or blacklisted in violation of any membership code of conduct and other terms and policies of the Association.

The ORIGINAL certificate will be mailed to the mailing address provided by the member. If one should need an expedited mailing services then we will arrange that service based on the availability for an extra charge. Contact examiner@airsassociation.com for the request.

What happens if I lose connectivity during my exam?

If you lose connectivity or if you're logged out of the exam session for any reason, just log back in and continue; no work is lost. The exam clock will continue to count down. Your exam won't pause if you lose connectivity. We recommend taking the exam only where you have stable internet connectivity.

When is the certification issued?

All Associate Members in good standing that have passed the CIRS® Examination will gain the designation of “Certified Internet Research Specialists” and you can download Digital copy of your Certificate immidiately after passed the exam.

  1. The examination has not indicated any RED FLAGS in contravention of the examination terms and policy within which the exam was taken.
  2. The financial transaction for the examination fee has passed through the bank accounts successfully.
  3. The member has not been barred or blacklisted in violation of any membership code of conduct and other terms and policies of the Association.

The ORIGINAL certificate will be mailed to the mailing address provided by the member. If one should need an expedited mailing services then we will arrange that service based on the availability for an extra charge. Contact examiner@airsassociation.com for the request.

What is validity of certification?

The CIRS® Certificate is valid for 24 Months unless the Certified Members give a CPE Examination within 30 days prior to expiry of their issuance of the certificate. Right now the CPE exam is free of cost.

On renewal the certificate gets revalidated to be used as a VALID Certificate and it can be verified by third party on request.

If I experience issues registering for my exam, who should I contact?

If you encountered an issue during registration, please contact at +1 (905)-228-2348. For test takers outside of the United States and Canada, you may use AIRS online support chat. When your exam link is ready, or while taking an exam, you can use email to contact support@airsassociation.org Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (PT).

Contact Info

AIRS Association
5800 Ambler Drive Suite 210 Mississauga,
Toronto, ON, L4W 4J4 Canada
Email: Support[@]airsassociation[dot]org
Telephone: +1(905) 228-2348
Telephone: +1(905) 488-0753
Fax: +1(905) 228-6187

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