Professional Certification

By Henry Bagdasarian

Many people question whether a professional certification has any value in the workplace. The quick answer is the one a consultant would provide; "It Depends", which brings up the following questions:

1) Is the certifying organization providing awareness and training such as blogs, discussion groups, and other resources which serve the greater society?

2) Is the certification name a registered trademark to protect the organization and its certificate holders?

3) Is the certificate holder qualified for the field,

4) Does the certificate stand out as the leader in a niche and growing filed? and

5) What value do companies place on certification?

Let’s attempt to answer the above questions and further explore each area:

The image or perception of the certificate issuer is extremely important. The issuer must be a recognized leader, credible, and trustworthy with integrity. Certifying organizations must provide services and value to their members and respective industries by:

a) defining a scope of responsibility for the profession,
b) drafting articles, newsletters, research analysis and documentation to expand knowledge,
c) assessing member knowledge through exams and/or background assessments,
d) providing training for up to date knowledge,
e) helping members share information related to the profession and employment, and
f) connecting members to one another and companies.

Certifying organizations also provide services and value to companies by:

a) ensuring trained and skilled employees through formal examination and enforcement of completed and required training, and
b) connecting companies to certified members.

Certification Limitations

The total value that a professional may provide can not be solely determined with a certification. Therefore, the certification can only provide assurance for some of the qualification factors that companies are looking for which include education, experience, personality, appearance, passion or enthusiasm, creativity, integrity, and hopefully proven credibility and track record. The value of a certificate is determined by a combination of factors, however, a designation only complements the assessment that companies must perform to hire the best. For example, a certification does not guarantee that a person has great personality or creativity, however, it might provide assurance that the certified person's professional background has been assessed through an examination or other means of evaluation, and to some extent an assurance that the person is enthusiastic or ambitious. A professional designation means that certified professionals have passed a rigorous certification assessment, including education and experience verification by the certification organization, and that certified members continue to be involved in their chosen professional field and take the necessary training to maintain their up to date knowledge.

Although some certification programs may provide a grandfathering period to become a certified professional without taking a certification exam, member background is reviewed and verified to ensure validity and competence.

And lastly, in order to assess the true value of professional certification, the view or perception of a hiring company and its management must also be considered. A certificate like every thing else in life has no value except the value we give to it, therefore, the degree by which a hiring company and its management value professional designations is important when evaluating a certificate’s true and overall value. If management strongly considers a certificate or even requires one from job applicants, then the certificate’s overall value increases accordingly. In general, there are some people who highly value professional certifications, and there are others who have no respect for them. Interestingly, those who don’t respect certifications also lack professional designations.

It is commonly said that a certificate increases the overall value of an employee, and those holding a professional designation earn higher than their counterparts who do not have a professional certification. It’s somewhat true that certified professionals can demand higher salaries and find jobs much more quickly, especially in tough economic times when the job market is much more competitive. A person has nothing to lose but every thing to gain with a little investment to be involved in a professional organization and maintain a professional designation. It takes very few resources to gain an employment competitive advantage, and a professional certification from a recognized organization offers that competitive advantage. The cost of certification is well worth the investment for a long and prosperous career.

Even if some companies do not reimburse the cost of the certification such as membership, study guide, training and exam fees, it is still recommended to aim for the desired certification in your chosen filed since no one really cares about your career as much as you do. The resources that you allocate to a professional organization or certification program is never wasted given the value you receive in return such as networking, knowledge, and credibility.

On a final note, a certification which has been registered for trademark protection will ensure that the certification will maintain leadership in the marketplace and offer protection to the certifying organization as well as its members for many years to come.

Identity Management Institute has carefully designed certification programs for the identity management and protection field which are evolving as the organization grows. All the programs have been registered for trademark protection and continue to be recognized internationally ensuring leadership in a niche career field.

Visit Identity Management Institute to learn more about the growing list of niche certifications in identity management.