Many have heard about certificates and certifications.
What’s the difference?
According to the Talent Development Body of Knowledge (TDBoK, 2020), “A certificate is earned by acquiring knowledge. Course attendance is often the only requirement, although a test or project may be required. Individuals receive a certificate that never expires; however, they are not “certified,” which is a designation only bestowed on those who are in practice, such as a CPA.
“Certification is a program that is administered by a non-governmental organization and assess whether an individual has the knowledge and skill to perform a role measured against a set standard. The administering body grants individuals a credential for a specified period of time. Certification is available to those who meet predetermined, standardized criteria, and the knowledge required to pass an assessment is learned through classes, self-study, and experience. The assessment is independent of a class or training program. To retain the credential, recipients must meet renewal requirements.”
In plain English:
One you receive for completing a lesson, program of study, participating in a class or event. You get a lovely piece of paper to hang on your wall, and it never expires, there is no required maintenance to keep it.
The other requires self-study and experience in that industry, to pass a rigorous exam created by industry experts. You receive industry recognized designation of letters to place after your name, like CPA, APTD, SHRM, etc.
What are the benefits?
Depending on your area of expertise, location, and experience level, most certifications can result in a nice bump of salary or desirability to hiring managers.
Why Did I Choose to Get Certified?
After I finished up my masters, I went to work as an ID in a newly forming Talent Development department…WOW, if only I knew then what I know now…
Bottom line, I knew instructional design. I knew training, facilitation, and coaching. I knew about evaluations and technology. But Talent Development is a very large, all-encompassing, different bag of nuts and I quickly realized I had a ton of best practice gaps that were leaking water from my lifeboat like a sieve!
I realized that if I wanted to succeed in the Talent Development arena and become a trusted business partner, I needed to close those gaps, and quickly!
So…. da da da daaaaaa…. Enters the APTD certification!
I asked the question of several people, “Why did you get certified?” They answered, “To provide credibility, validate my expertise, leverage my knowledge and grow my skills, fill gaps, get noticed by hiring managers, etc.”
According to a recent search on LinkedIn.com, 54 jobs appeared for APTD, 104 for CPTD, 249 for CPLP (I guess they don’t know the title of the certification changed to CPTD), 5127 for PMP certified, and 2,729 SHRM certification.
What does it all mean?
It looks to me that certification is becoming a regular either job requirement or preferred job qualification!
So, if someone wants to make sure they stand out from the crowd, it might be beneficial to find an industry recognized certification showing up in job postings for your desired role, make a plan to go for it!!!