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What are Professional Certifications?

A professional women receiving a certificate.

Clients often inquire about professional certification programs, and if they’re beneficial for their organization or association. Those new to the association management industry, or the world of certification, may find themselves at a loss when asked about professional certifications.

What are they? And what are the benefits of offering these programs to members?

Professional certifications are the process by which individuals gain skills that are either necessary to perform their job, or can enhance the level at which they perform. Certifications are usually earned from professional associations or education providers who monitor and uphold prescribed standards for their industry. These programs increase engagement for associations, offer another member benefit, and help position your association as an industry leader.

Types of Certification

Corporate certification

These types of certifications are made for organization’s internal purposes. They intend to bolster the skills and education level of volunteers or employees, and are often given for completing internal day-courses or modules.

In big associations and corporations, these certification programs offer excellent networking opportunities. Especially for places like associations, where an away-training day can mean that you make connections you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to, with professionals from different companies and even different countries!

Product-specific certification

Product-specific certification equips professionals with the tech skills needed to succeed in their field. Certification programs in this category help professionals bridge gaps in their software skills, which might otherwise act as a barrier to professional advancement.

For example in professions like marketing, there are many different software that marketers use to complete their day-to-day activities. Many new roles advertise for candidates who have specific skills in products such as Salesforce or Adobe. Product-specific certification proves the candidates skills in using the software.

Profession-wide certification

Profession-wide certificates are the most general of all, as they often encompass a range of skills and specialties that a professional is required to possess in their profession. They are often taken to increase the level of practice or prove suitability for a job. Organizations might establish such certification to ensure that the public, or customers, receive services by qualified professionals where a high level of specialization is needed, such as accounting, medicine or law.

Examples of such certification include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Human Resources Certifications (PHR, SPHR, SHRM) and Project Management Certifications (PMP).

To learn more about certification, contact out certification experts!


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