Certificate Program Standard: Status Update
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Certificate Programs: Renewable?

Here's hot issue number one regarding the ASTM International standard for certificate programs.  Please weigh in with your feedback.

Should certificates be renewable?

The current ASTM International standard draft does not allow for an issued certificate to be renewable.  The rationale is that this is a key feature distinguishing certificate programs from certification. 

According to both ANSI and NCCA standards for certification programs, a certifying agency must have renewal (or recertification) requirements as an element of their certification scheme.  Because of this, certifying bodies must have ongoing communication with and ongoing tracking of their certificant populations.

In contrast, existing certificate programs usually issue a certificate similar to a college diploma (there are exceptions).  The certificate issued indicates that certain criteria were met up to that given point in time; however, the certificate issuer does not monitor the certificate holders beyond certificate issuance.  Should they?  Do colleges have ongoing requirements for their graduates?  Do training providers have ongoing requirements for their learners?

At first glance, you may ask why shouldn't certificate issuers be allowed to have renewal requirements if they want?  To me, the problem is that it makes certificate programs too much like certification.   Right now the two are often confused and blended.  We need to distinguish between them, and I believe this is one area that can do that.

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Share why through comments or to me directly by e-mail.

FYI, NOCA's current standard draft allows for a renewal period.  ASTM's current standard draft does not.

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