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THE PROBLEM WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 19, 2020

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– They are not all created equally.

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There are several types of professional certification programs in the world today, be it in engineering, construction, auto repair, medicine, etc. Basically, certification is saying the holder is proficient in a specific subject and should be recognized as a legitimate professional. To the holder, certification looks good on a resume and, thereby, is useful for generating more income. To the customer, certification instills confidence that the holder theoretically knows what he or she is doing. Such programs are supposed to define the level of competency needed to perform certain tasks and means the holder is intimate with specific methods, tools and techniques needed to perform the work. It is also not unusual for certifications to be renewed periodically to assure the holder is staying abreast of industrial developments.

However, not all certification programs are created equally and many are not worth the paper they are printed on. Two things bother me about certification: when it becomes too easy to obtain one, and if the certification is based on sheer humbug.

I’ve seen some programs where a person is awarded certification simply for signing the attendance roster for a class or seminar (and then quietly slips away for a round of golf). It shouldn’t be a matter of merely attending a class, but if you truly learned something which, of course, should mean passing a test of some kind. The validity of certification is dubious if it only requires signing your name and answering an open book test. All it means is that the holder knows how to read and write.

I have seen some certification programs based on plain quackery, particularly in the I.T. industry. It is one thing to demonstrate proficiency in a particular programming language or technology, quite another when it comes to theories of management, systems or any area lacking standardization. In other words, certification should be based on science, not art. The difference between an art and a science is subtle but significant. An art form is based on the intuitiveness of the person performing the work, something that is difficult, if not impossible, to pass on to another human being. For example, apprentices serving under an artist may try for years to emulate the master, but may never attain his level of skill and creativity. In contrast, a science is based on tried and proven concepts and facts and, as such, can be easily taught to others. Certification, therefore, should be based on science, not art. Any certification program Without a set of standards and proven principles is meaningless.

It should be no small wonder why I am skeptical of someone claiming to be certified in a particular field of endeavor. It might sound nice, but I still want to determine if the person is truly competent before they perform a service for me. I consider such things as: what they know, what experience they have, how rigorous was the testing for their certification, and the integrity of the institution issuing the certificate.

Just remember, certification programs are big business. True, there are legitimate certification programs out there, but there are also some that are nothing more than marketing ploys. Does all this mean I frown upon certification programs? Absolutely not. I’m just saying, “caveat emptor” and challenging the institutions to be less frivolous in how they are issued.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also, I have a NEW book, “Before You Vote: Know How Your Government Works”, What American youth should know about government, available in Printed, PDF and eBook form. DON’T FORGET GRADUATION DAY. This is the perfect gift!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “THE PROBLEM WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS”

  1. Lawrence Marlin said

    Certification also seems related to how powerful the present practitioners are. By this I mean, if practicing hairdressers want to prevent competition, the simply make the certification so difficult, time-consuming and expensive that others give up, leaving the present hairdressers with no new competition. Naturally, this certified monopoly will now be free to raise prices and make demands on customers. Additionally, I sure some of the certification fees go to government which then has a financial interest in keeping the certifications mandatory.

    Like

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