International Discussion
New to Certification?

Impact of Growth on Quality

Next panel up at the NOCA Credentialing Leadership Forum: Denise Fandel, Board of Certification; Lenora Knapp, Knapp Associates International; Chris Smith, LERN

They suggested the following as influences on the growth of credentialing (disclaimer:  more were discussed than listed here, but, hey, I just can't type that fast.)

  • Rapid pace of change in the workplace. Scope of knowledge and skills is more broad and the lifespan is shorter.
  • Greater recognition of certification by the public. 
  • Shift of the purpose of credentialing from just protection of the public to advancing the profession.  (I'm not sure I agree with this one.  This isn't a new shift.  Yes, healthcare credentialing has traditionally been focused on public protection, yet many other segments have had industry/profession-focused certification programs for decades.)
  • Greater need for skilled labor in other parts of the world, and the need for ways to identify them.
  • Technology is making it easier to develop certification programs, to market them, and for individuals to apply for them.
  • We are on the cusp of a strong demograhic shift.  Boomers leaving the workforce, and leaving a shortage of qualified workers.

Some implications of the growth of credentialing discussed were:

  • Prevalence of certification has made braindumps lucrative...and this is impacting the perceived value of certification.
  • Environment is becoming more competitive - from legitimate or non-legitimate (diploma mills) and outside of U.S. borders (other countries certifying U.S. individuals).
  • More informed consumers are asking more questions of us. They have more options.  They are demanding more. 
  • More competition plus more informed consumers means they are going to be asking for proof of what we are promising.
  • Perishable just-in-time credentials (developed quickly and disposed of when no longer needed) are being developed.

Chris focused on the impact of generational transitions and the fact that the Boomers are retiring and questioned whether we are prepared for this to happen.  What do the new generations look like?  What will they value?  He thinks ROI.  Chris stressed that we've got to start paying attention to the young population (Les Wallace indicated earlier that >1/2 of the population is <25 years old). So, Chris suggests we all get the younger generations involved.  I take a look around the room.  Some Gen Xers present (myself included) but I don't believe any Millenials were.  This has to change.  We can't keep talking about them; we need to include them in the discussions.


Buck Chaffee

One of the most interesting questions at the session was "How can we keep up with the rapid changes in our industry?"

The author went on to say that several years pass from the time they recognize a new knowledge or skill in the workplace to the time it can appear on the exam. The entire production process is too slow for today's world.

As you think abou this you do realize that we are still treating certifications and examinations as unique, hand-crafted works of art. Perhaps it is time that testing entered the industrial age. Perhaps we can produce tests in a timely manner when they are pertinent and still achieve as good if not better quality with some mass production techniques. And we can probably save a bunch of money in the process.

It is worth some thought.

Buck Chaffee
President, The Caviart Group
Chair, The Certification Network Group

It training

skilled labor are always welcome and thats why certification rocks.Thanks for the information.

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