Businesses dipping their toes into export activities will inevitably run into regulatory considerations arising from the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), or both. Not only can non-compliance subject companies to serious civil and criminal penalties, but in worst-case scenarios it can also lead to export restrictions and compliance requirements imposed via consent agreements that could disrupt a business’s operations.

Knowing the parameters of ITAR and EAR is vital when applying these sometimes complex regulations to your business operations. With the help of a robust certification program, you and your company will have the foundational blocks necessary to handle both commonplace and unusual export compliance issues that you and your team members will face within the purview of your roles.

How Export Compliance Certification Programs Can Help Candidates

Export compliance is a complex field with many nuances. Surprisingly, however, training options addressing ITAR and EAR issues are limited. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) does offer occasional seminars, conferences, and high-level educational videos on its website. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, on the other hand, offers only basic information about ITAR and the U.S. Munitions List (USML), and occasional licensing-related webinars.

Fortunately, tailor-made certification programs for ITAR and EAR exist. These programs can make all the difference as you and your staff work to understand and implement these rules, as well as match candidates’ capabilities with appropriate credentials. Some of the ways that ITAR and EAR compliance certification programs can help in this regard include:

  • Creating Enhanced Career Opportunities. acknowledges that certifications can be a difference-maker to employers who are having difficulty selecting between similarly-situated candidates and can also pave the way for higher salaries and advancement options. Vetted export compliance certification programs can help show prospective employers and business partners that you have the experience and acuity required to help companies navigate challenging decisions.
  • Filling in critical export-related educational and knowledge gaps. There is no government-endorsed export compliance certification. Third party ITAR and EAR certification programs, coupled with rigorous testing components, can help you fill and address educational gaps and bolster your organization’s day-to-day export compliance programs.
  • Helping your team members identify and mitigate compliance risks for your company. Due to how EAR and ITAR are drafted, companies can find themselves in export-related predicaments without needing to ship physical items internationally. ITAR’s definition of “export,” for example, encompasses the performance of defense services on behalf of, or for the benefit of, a foreign person, and also includes any transfer of technical data to foreign persons in the United States. Working with trained professionals experienced in the nuances of these regulations will help you become better equipped to address relevant issues throughout your work.
  • Mitigating your chances for misclassifying products. Companies do have the option to submit a commodity jurisdiction (CJ) request to DDTC or a commodity classification request through BIS’s SNAP-R portal to request agency guidance on how to classify specific items. Ideally, however, exporters should have the capabilities to bypass these processes and self-classify items independently. If companies decide to self-classify products on their own, they should have the requisite technical training and knowledge of the USML and EAR’s Commerce Control List (CCL) to determine where their products would fit in. Certification programs can help your team make informed classification decisions consistent with BIS and DDTC guidance.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Export Compliance Certification Programs

Obtaining a certification can serve as helpful proof of your knowledge of complex export regulations and licensing requirements. However, your participation and involvement can matter just as much regarding how much you get out of the program. As cliché as it sounds, a certification program is only as good as the work you put into it. With the right attitude and a proactive approach, you can leverage the many advantages your certification program provides to realize immeasurable results and knowledge. Some of the ways you can maximize the impact of your certification program include:

  • Attend Your Seminars in Person. For one, you should seriously consider attending an in-person seminar. Doing so will help you concentrate on the subject matter and engage with the experienced instructors who are teaching you. Attending in person also allows you to ask questions to clarify points you might not understand, deepening your understanding of critical export control principles as applied to real world scenarios.
  • Engage With Your Colleagues in the Room. An even more underrated perk to attending in-person is having the ability to speak with your fellow attendees. In a live classroom setting, you can learn more about the challenges your peers are facing and hear their questions and discussions. These conversations can give you an added perspective on how to approach issues in a way you can never glean from an online seminar.
  • Fully Work Through the Case Studies. Every topic and case study you will find in your program will have some root or nexus in a real-life problem that your company may eventually confront when exporting goods. By fully digesting and working through the materials, you will notice critical patterns and defensible solutions that you can apply when you return to your day-to-day work. Of course, all of the information you will be learning will help prepare you for your certification exam.

To meet the needs of the export community, ECTI offers two export compliance (ECoP®) certification programs that individuals can pursue to gain the skills required to better guide their companies through wide-ranging export issues. Our programs are unique in that they allow participants to attend applicable 2-day seminars on EAR/OFAC and ITAR Trade Controls or a University Export Controls seminar, all of which offer in-person training by established compliance professionals. Each program also features a robust testing component, requiring participants to score an 85% or better on an examination that assesses how candidates would approach common licensing issues using practical solutions and know-how. Our programs also include unique tracks geared for U.S. companies and organizations based abroad.

Click here to see our upcoming training events and how our live programs can help bolster your ITAR and EAR compliance skills.

We hope this article helps you understand why export compliance certification matters and how it could apply to your company. As we said earlier, export compliance is a complex and detailed undertaking. Your company’s investments rely on achieving 100% compliance with all applicable export regulations and controls. That said, it is absolutely achievable—you can do it, provided you take the necessary time up front to align with an established and widely acclaimed export compliance training partner who can guide you step by step toward compliance success.

Contact the Export Compliance Training Institute

Do you have questions about getting started with export compliance certification, or other export compliance challenges for your company? Visit to learn about our company, our faculty, our staff and our esteemed Export Compliance Professional (ECoP®) certification program. To find upcoming e-seminarslive seminars and live webinars, and to browse our catalog of 80-plus on-demand webinarsvisit our ECTI Academy. You also can call the Export Compliance Training Institute at 540-433-3977 for more information.

Scott Gearity is President of ECTI, Inc.

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