Regardless of educational background, certification provides consistency and comparability of knowledge in terms of its quality and content. Certification validates a standard of acquired knowledge and skill, which distinguishes professional managers from the regular. Certification signifies individual achievement and commitment to the management profession.
Everyone knows that MD following an individual's name indicates a medical doctor and CPA signifies the individual has met requirements of a certified public accountant. Thousands of industries utilize lesser known professional certifications to recognize individuals for their competency in a chosen career field as assessed by their ability to perform to a set of standards. Ask a certified professional, "Why?" and they'll tell you that the certification process is one of the single most important steps you can make in your career development. Here are several reasons why to pursue professional certification:
- Certification demonstrates commitment. Certification demonstrates to peers, business associates, and the general public one’s commitment to a profession. College degrees no longer represent the full measure of knowledge in today’s rapidly evolving workplace. Instead, certification serves to distinguish professionals as leaders in their fields.
- Certification enhances a profession's image. Certification grows, promotes, and develops professionals who stand out in an industry. They are publicly recognized by their professional credentials, i.e. CPA, CFC, CMA, etc. Organizations that invest in certified professionals gain an advantage over the competition by employing the best and the brightest.
- Certification reflects achievement. Certified professionals make the effort to improve themselves both professionally and personally. An impartial, third-party certifies that a set level of knowledge and skills have been attained. This achievement is evidence of a pursuit for excellence and the ability to meet standards and requirements.
- Certification builds self-esteem. Certification programs set standards for performance, ethics, and continuing professional development (through recertification). Certified professionals control their own destiny and possess a deep sense of personal satisfaction.
- Certification improves career opportunities and advancement. Certification provides an "edge" when being considered for a promotion or key assignment. Certification distinguishes professionals in the decision making process. In a 2003 survey conducted by the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), 52% of respondents indicated that individuals holding professional certifications earned more than those without.
- Certification leads to greater on-the-job responsibilities. Since certification is voluntary, it indicates one’s willingness to invest in their own professional development. Certified professionals are aware of the changing environment surrounding their profession and possess the tools to anticipate and respond to change.
- Certification yields professional recognition. Certified professionals receive increased recognition from peers and business associates for earning certification credentials. Recertification makes certification a lifelong activity that continues to pay off beyond the initial investment.
Excerpts from the American Society of Association Executives' (ASAE's) Top Ten Reasons to Seek Certification