The Accredited Zone Specialist (AZS) program is designed to elevate professional standards and distinguish foreign-trade zone professionals who have demonstrated knowledge of the FTZ program and regulatory change in today’s challenging environment. Earning the AZS credential demonstrates a level of expertise to your colleagues, employers, and clients.
WHAT’S IN A DESIGNATION?
NAFTZ requires a certain level of experience to achieve the AZS credential because we know you have to be involved in the industry every day to stay current with the program’s rapidly changing technology and regulatory requirements. Such in-depth experience couldn’t be captured on an exam. Therefore, at this time, we do not expect that there will be an exam-based qualification for the AZS credential, but we strongly encourage all FTZ professionals to get involved in one of the many industry committees that the Association sponsors as a way to both develop and demonstrate your knowledge and experience of the program.
EARNING YOUR AZS
Earning and maintaining the AZS is a two-part process. All candidates must meet eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application. Once you have earned the credential, you must maintain it by fulfilling designation renewal requirements every three years.
Contact Kwells@naftz.org to apply for the AZS.
Qualifying Work Experience
You have been employed in the foreign-trade zone field for at least five years.
Qualifying Professional Development Activities
Any continuing professional education offered by NAFTZ may be acceptable toward the professional development requirement.
Acceptable Professional Development Activities Include:
1. Confirmed attendance at a minimum of 5 NAFTZ professional development activities over the past 5 years. At least 2 of these must be met in-person or by attending virtual conferences; the other 3 can be webinars. AZS credit can only be given if you attend the original, live event. Credit cannot be given for watching the archived version of any NAFTZ event. We strongly recommend the Fundamentals or FTZ Seminar or the Fundamentals Track for those new to the industry.
2. NAFTZ endorsed events: AZS candidates can submit one of the following NAFTZ endorsed events for consideration:
- None at this time.
Qualifying Leadership Activities
1 out of the 3 below or a combined 100% by weighted average meets this requirement:
- Participation as a Speaker/Moderator at five NAFTZ educational conferences or seminars over the past five years. (Each speaking/moderating engagement accounts for 20% of total.) Event name and dates must be included on your application.
- Active involvement* in a NAFTZ committee during the past 2 years. (Each year of active involvement accounts for 50% of total.) Itemization of activities undertaken in which the individual made a significant contribution and a recommendation from the committee chair must be attached with application.
- Publication of at least three articles concerning FTZ operations within the past 5 years in a regional or national trade publication. (Each article accounts for 33.3% of total.) Attach copies of published articles as published as part of the application.
*WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “ACTIVE” COMMITTEE INVOLVEMENT?
A committee can be one of the most productive tools that the association has to work with. Whether one is chairing a committee or is a committee member, he or she faces the challenge of getting involved in the work the committee was formed to accomplish. Being an “active” committee member involves understanding the committee, understanding your role, and being able to commit your time, abilities, and energy. Determine in advance how and when you will contribute. The work or activities that committee members can participate in varies by committee, but typically includes taking part in an outreach or promotional effort or volunteering time at an NAFTZ event. Before submitting an AZS application, contact your committee chair to confirm active participation and to ask him or her to write a recommendation letter.
$300 for NAFTZ members/$600 for nonmembers
RENEWING YOUR AZS
AZS holders maintain their knowledge and credential by fulling the designation renewal requirements every three years. Application and payment are on the date of your credential expiration.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to renew your AZS
Confirmed attendance at a minimum of three NAFTZ professional development activities over the past three years. At least two of these must be met in-person or by attending virtual conferences; the other one can be a webinar. AZS credit can only be given if you attend the original, live event. Credit cannot be given for watching the archived version of any NAFTZ event.
$150 for NAFTZ members/$300 for nonmembers
PROMOTING YOUR DESIGNATION:
Congratulations, you’ve achieved your designation! Now what? It’s time to start marketing yourself as an accredited AZS professional to your employer, colleagues, and new foreign-trade zone professionals.
Share your achievement with your boss.
Convey your value by talking openly about your accomplishments.
Include your credential in all communications.
Your designation creates a positive image and increases awareness of your professionals. Start using the acronym of your credential after your name in email signatures, business cards, directories and listings, and Facebook. LinkedIn, and Twitter postings.
Post social media updates about your credential.
Tell your friends, family, followers and fans about your designation on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Display your certificate.
Frame and hang your certificate in a high-traffic area of your office.