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Promoting professional standards and ethical business practice in the communications industry throughout Southern Africa.


What is the role of SACIA?

SACIA is a professional body that operates in terms of the National Qualifications Framework Act. We have several regulated responsibilities, including the responsibility to:

  • Promote public understanding of, and trust in, professions through the establishment of professional designations.
  • Work with Quality Council’s to ensure curriculum development is aligned with industry trends and the needs of employers.
  • Support the development of a national career advice system.
  • Encourage the development and implementation of continuing professional development.
  • Act as an Assessment Quality Partner to ensure education standards and assessment criteria are consistent across all training providers.

I’m told that the SACIA designations are listed on the National Qualifications Framework. What does this mean to me? Am I receiving a qualification?

Unfortunately not. The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a comprehensive system, approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, for the classification, registration and publication of articulated and quality-assured national qualifications and part-qualifications.

The objectives of the NQF are to:

  • Create a single integrated national framework for learning achievements;
  • Facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, education, training and career paths;
  • Enhance the quality of education and training;
  • Accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities.

While professional designations are listed on the National Qualifications Framework they are not articulated against a specific NQF level and are not recognised as a qualification.

What is the difference between and qualification and a professional designation?

The primary differences are:

  • A qualification is awarded by a training provider registered with a Quality Council (either the Council for Higher Education, Quality Council for Trades & Occupations or Umalusi), while a professional designation is awarded by a recognised professional body.
  • A qualification is awarded to an individual for life and reflects their knowledge at a point in their career. A designation is awarded for a limited period. In order to maintain the designation, an individual needs to participate in a programme of continuing professional development, maintain membership of the professional body and abide by a code of professional conduct. Individuals who fail to maintain their designation are de-registered from the National Learners Register Database (NLRD)

What does SACIA membership cost?

Fees are set on an annual basis by the SACIA Board of Directors under guidelines published by the South African Qualifications Authority.

Why do I need to participate in a programme of continuing professional development?

The SACIA designations don’t only signify your membership of the Association. They also indicate a commitment to excellence in all aspects of the communications industry. Individuals who hold a designation are required to keep up to date on the trends and technologies shaping the future of our industry.

There are many opportunities for individuals to earn CPD credits, including participation in training programmes, acting as a mentor or trainer, reading relevant literature, delivery of training and skills development programmes, volunteer activity, etc.

What happens if I do not meet the CPD requirements?

Individuals who fail to participate in the required CPD activity will lose the designation and forfeit the right to use the professional designation.

I’ve held my designation for several years but am now retired. Can I continue to use my SACIA designation?

The use of the SACIA designation signifies that an individual is fully conversant with the latest trends and technologies being used in the profession. Retired members will be de-listed from the National Learners’ Register Database. These individuals who maintain membership of SACIA can continue to use their most recent designation but will add an (Emeritus) to the designation to signify their retired status [Example: John Smith CertBCT Professional (Emeritus)]. Individuals who do not maintain membership of the Association will lose the right to use the designation.

What is SAQA’s objective in registering professional designations?

Part of South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA’s) mandate is to ‘further develop and implement the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)’. By developing and implementing a policy for recognising professional bodies and registering professional designations, SAQA seeks to promote ‘coordination and collaboration across education, training, development and work’.

This promotes public awareness of these professional designations, inspiring pride in the profession, and sets the scene for public protection by requiring adherence to a code of professional conduct and applying a procedure to address contraventions of the code of conduct.

Who decided on the criteria used to assess individuals applying for a designation?

The criteria used to assess individuals applying for a SACIA designation were developed by SACIA’s certification council with input from our various Councils. Before these criteria were finalised, they were published in the Government Gazette for public comment. The criteria are consistent with the requirements specified by SAQA and have received the necessary approvals from the SAQA Board, as well as the relevant quality councils.

What are the academic criteria for the SACIA designations, and what is the rationale behind this requirement?

Through its promotion of the NQF Act, SAQA stipulates that each designation must have its foundation in an NQF qualification. SACIA recognise that many industry professionals working in the market do not hold a relevant qualification and will award a designation based on a recognition of prior learning.

We recognise that learning does not only take place in an academic environment and will recognise vocational and workplace learning, as well as mentorships/ apprenticeships.

Individuals without an underlying qualification applying for any designation should demonstrate additional work experience in a related field.

How do individuals articulate from one designation to another?

Part of the logic in developing these designations is that it creates a career path for individuals working in the market. For example, at the start of an individual’s career as a camera operator he/she could apply for recognition as a CertBCT Associate based upon their broad understanding of video production techniques and technologies. Over time they’ll gain experience and acquire new skills. As they elevate their knowledge and competence they’ll have an opportunity to apply for the Practitioner level designation, followed by the SASC designation. At each step they will provide a portfolio of evidence supporting their claim of increased knowledge and competence.

Contact details

96 The Bridles, 777 Douglas Crescent, Sundowner, 2188

+27 11 083 6418,

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