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What is the Difference between the ECBA, CCBA, and CBAP Certifications?

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Ever since the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) announced a new multi-level, competency-based certification framework, there have been a lot of questions as to the differences between the levels. The IIBA designed the levels to allow BA professionals to demonstrate your ability to perform and prove you can apply your experience in a given situation. The program includes four levels of credentials, three of which involve a written examination process. So, which one is right for you?

The four levels of credentials follow a BA’s career path and are meant to be a guide, but you do not need to complete them in order.  For example, if you already have the experience and requirements of a CBAP®, you do not need to complete the ECBA® or CCBA® first.  The table below briefly explains the purpose of each credential.

IIBA Certifications Overview

The ECBA exam is strictly knowledge- and recall-based that requires candidates to understand basic business analysis. The CCBA exam contains some scenarios, and more knowledge- and recall-oriented questions that require candidates to apply their knowledge of tasks and techniques in the BABOK. The CBAP exam has many case study and scenario-based questions; applicants are required to draw upon their experience and apply it to analyzing situations and synthesizing information. The CBATL does not have an exam and no details have been released as of the time this blog was published. The table below further details the target audience, requirements, and assessment for levels 1-3 of IIBA.

IIBA Certification Details

Now that you know what certification is right for you, you may be wondering what to study for towards your particular exam. The table below details the exam blueprints for levels 1-3. These blueprints are guidelines giving the percentages of knowledge areas represented on each of the exams. Take the exam blueprints seriously. They help you focus your study, and knowing them is part of a good preparation plan. For example, the CCBA exam only has 6% of its questions on Solution Evaluation. You won’t need to study that chapter of the BABOK Guide as much as Requirements Analysis and Design Definition. The latter, along with its associated techniques, represents nearly one third of the questions you will see on your exam and deserves extensive study.


Whenever you are ready to start pursuing an IIBA certification, Watermark Learning can help!  We offer numerous products, resources, and certification preparation courses to help you prepare for your CBAP or CCBA exam. (An ECBA course and product bundle is currently being developed. Our BABOK 3.0 Flashcards and BABOK 3.0 Study Tables are great ways to drill and learn the central concepts of the BABOK.)

View our IIBA Certification FAQs, or visit the IIBA website for more information on the new certification framework.

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12 thoughts on “What is the Difference between the ECBA, CCBA, and CBAP Certifications?

  1. I am beginning my research on the certifications out there for Business Analysts, and have a few questions.

    1) Is it common to go for a CBAP without earning ECBA and CCBA? If this is the path I choose, is that not good? Meaning is it best to start with ECBA and work your way up, even though I have been a BA for nearly 5 years.

    2) At the end of this year I will be coming up on roughly 7200 hours of BA experience. Is it common to apply prior to hitting the 7500 min hours work experience? Knowing that by the time I take the exam I will have hit that bench mark?

    3) Can you provide info on exactly what the Knowledge Area Expertise and Professional Development requirements are? Are these both the training leading up to taking the exam?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • Hi Alex, thanks for contacting us.

      1. I would go for my CBAP, there is no need to have all three of them and little, to no value unless you are just entering the field. Then you might want to get your ECBA and as you get enough hours in as a business analyst and are building up your credentials you could go for CCBA and then CBAP. However, if you have enough hours as a BA – I would go for the top tier. It also saves you money and a lot of study time.
      2. You cannot apply until you have the 7500 hours. You can’t pre-date your experience. I would also capture more than 7500 hours for a buffer in case they do not accept some of the experience. You can download our application worksheet, which will help you with the hours you need, since you need 900 hours in at least 4 knowledge areas.
      3. The knowledge areas are covered in the BA Body of Knowledge. If you are a member of IIBA you can download a copy, otherwise purchase a copy. The 6 knowledge areas are Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring, Elicitation & Collaboration, Requirements Life Cycle Management, Strategy Analysis, Requirements Analysis and Design Definition, and Solution Evaluation. Each Knowledge Area is a chapter in the Body of Knowledge and which you must apply your hours towards in the application. Professional Development requirements are training needed to sit for the exam. You could take the CBAP prep class to get your 35 Professional Development hours or take other BA classes that cover the 6 knowledge areas and add up to 35 hours of class time.

  2. Hi,

    I’ve worked as an ERP consultant. Worked as an implementation consultant and support as well.
    I’ve 5 years of experience.
    From which certification i should start.
    Looking forward for your answer.


    • Hi Varun.
      The requirements for these certifications differ widely. The CBAP requires 7500 hours of experience in specific areas. Qualifying for that certification is quite the undertaking. Even the CCBA requires 3750 hours of experience. The ECBA is an entry-level certification that is growing rather rapidly and is definitely worth considering. The question about which path to pursue really depends on your experience. I would explore the iiba.org website which will help you understand the qualifications and requirements for each. Any of them are great options. Good luck to you!

  3. Hi,
    I have 3 years of experience as a QA and moved to BA position recently. And I m thinking about doing certification related to BA. Which one is suitable in this situation?. If I m planning to do CCBA, is it suitable time to do now. Or I have to gain any experience?

    • Hi Sharmi,

      You do need years of experience for CCBA and CBAP. You need 3750 hours of experience in 7 years to sit for the CCBA exam and you need 7500 in the past 10 years to sit for the CBAP exam.

      You may sit for the ECBA (entry-level BA certificate) without any experience. This will introduce you to the BA concepts, terms and the work generally applied to a BA role.


  4. Hi,

    I have 11 years of overall experience in QA with last 4+ years being a (BA + QA).
    Can I take CCBA certificate?

    How do we show the hours/work experience for the certificate?

    • Hi Jon,
      To get your CCBA, you need 3750 hours of BA experience in the past 7 years and must have 900+ hours in 2 Knowledge Areas or 500 hours or more in 4 Knowledge Areas.

      Knowledge areas include:

      • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
      • Elicitation and Collaboration
      • Requirements Life Cycle Management
      • Strategy Analysis, Requirements Analysis & Design Definition
      • Solution Evaluation

      So, if you can meet these criteria, I would say move forward. I would also say to check iiba.org for the latest certification information and get a copy of the BABOK to learn more about the Knowledge Areas to see if you qualify. Thanks!

  5. Hi,
    I have 6 years of work experience in Sales where in i was heavily involved in Business Analysis Planning & Strategy Analysis. Currently, I am working as project operations associate. I also have a masters degree in Engineering Management.
    Should I go ahead with CCBA? Please suggest.

    • Hi Anubhav,
      To get your CCBA you need 3750 hours of BA experience in the past 7 years and must have 900+ hours in 2 Knowledge Areas or 500 hours or more in 4 Knowledge Areas. So if you can meet this criteria and have 900+ hours in BA Planning and Monitoring and Strategy Analysis each, I would say move forward. I would also say to check iiba.org for the latest certification information. Thanks!

    • Good question. It may be some of your QA and testing activities were actually business analysis activities, while some of your activities are testing activities, which are not listed as a business analysis activity. You will need 7500 hours of business analysis experience to sit for the CBAP exam and 3750 hours of experience for the CCBA exam over six key knowledge areas: Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring; Elicitation and Collaboration; Requirements Life Cycle Management; Strategy Analysis; Requirements Analysis and Design Definition; and Solution Evaluation. To further review the tasks in each knowledge area in which activities must be experienced, obtain a copy of IIBA’s Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK). Also, if you go to watermarklearning.com, there is an application template that will also help you determine if you have enough hours to sit for the exam.

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