The Interactive Television Alliance has announced a certification programme for interactive television professionals.

The ITA is an independent, non-profit trade and professional organization with the objective of accelerating deployment of interactive television in the United States.

“Interactive television has come of age,” said Allison Dollar of the ITA. “With that maturity the industry needs rigorous standardized training, formal job definitions, and recognized career paths. Many ITV practitioners have acquired critical skills informally, and it’s important that those skills are codified and valued properly in the marketplace. This isn’t about sending people back to school. It’s about elevating the profession to the status it deserves — and paving the way for young people entering this industry.”

The US still represents a relatively undeveloped and fragmented market for interactive television. While any formalisation of this emerging field is to be applauded, it remains to be seen whether it has reached the status of a profession or indeed an industry requiring certification.

Elsewhere interactive television is becoming established on the academic curriculum. Postgraduate courses are already available in the UK and there is an established Interactive Television Research Institute in Australia.

However, the television business has traditionally valued practical experience over paper qualifications, and real world experience in interactive television remains at a premium.