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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alternate Path to Accreditation

My guess is that you may never have heard of the Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee. And if you have, you probably aren’t sure of what it does.

It’s actually a committee that could be very important to you if you are an ISA member who has a specialty that does not fall within the boundaries of the Antiques & Residential Contents or Fine Arts courses. Or if you are a graduate gemologist, have completed the NAWCC Clock Appraisal course, are a seasoned/experienced professional in related areas or hold a graduate degree in decorative arts or fine arts.

A year ago, the board charged the committee to reorganize and expand the mission to provide a meaningful alternative way for these ISA members to advance to accreditation. The result is a specific, two-step process beginning with your letter to the committee requesting acceptance to follow this path to accreditation, accompanied by your CV/resume, transcript for your highest degree or relevant academic/professional education and a log of appraisal hours. The latter just became a requirement Sept. 1 to document your experience as an appraiser.

Once the committee accepts your application, you may be asked to submit a paper (possibly an article already written) if you do not have an ISA-recognized certificate in a specialty study or graduate degree prior to submitting your appraisal report. If your prior study meets this requirement, you will be asked for an insurance appraisal of five items in specific categories as directed by the committee. In both situations, your paper and/or report will be sent anonymously to three reviewers who are specialists or experts in your appraisal area. They have 45 days to report back to the committee which then considers their evaluations and either awards you your accreditation or requests a revision of your appraisal report. When the latter occurs, you receive a specific list of issues which need to be readdressed. The revised report will be vetted by one of the original reviewers before the committee makes its final decision.

It is NOT our goal to make it difficult for members to advance but rather to provide a meaningful experience that ensures you know how to apply your knowledge and appraisal methodology to arrive at your value conclusion and relay it succinctly and comprehensibly. It IS our goal to assist you in advancing your professional credentials, sharpening your skills, and becoming the best possible appraiser at this stage of your career.

Our Application Guide lays out the specific requirements in greater detail and can be accessed by contacting Catherine Toupin,, at the ISA Headquarters. All submissions go through Catherine, who will then assign your application a specific number by which you will be identified without revealing your identity to reviewers. I am also available if you have specific questions and can be reached at We hope that many of you will consider this path as appropriate and viable for your situation.

Francine Proulx, MS, ISA AM, ASA
ISA Specialty & Advanced Studies Committee

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