At some point in the life of a discipline there is a drive toward certification. Want to be a real estate agent? It’s a quality thing, so we’re told. I was once a Certified Performance Technologist, and as I said to Dave Ferguson, I don’t see much value in re-certification when it consists of checking off boxes of how many conferences you have attended. Tom Gram, now Certifiable (Certified Training & Development Professional with CSTD), wonders:
Most learning and performance professionals will notice areas where the competencies could be modified to incorporate crossover disciplines and meet emerging trends. For example, I think technology in learning and performance is at this point a core skill, as are informal learning approaches and sister competencies such as knowledge management and performance consulting.
I gained much from my CPT certification process as it was based on what I had done and I had to show competence. My professional responsibilities derive from the CPT standards of behaviour. However, certification can create a closed society that keeps competent people out and reinforces the status quo and the money flow. Such was the case the Ontario College of Teachers when a judge determined there is more than one way to show competence in a field. Certification can also become self-serving, as a primary revenue generator for the association.
In my case I didn’t renew my CPT designation because not a single one of my clients recognized it. I still follow the code of ethics and stay current in my field, but the piece of paper has no business value. So what is the future of certification when disciplines overlap and meld and certification bodies move with glacial speed in keeping up with the times? Certification, like professional associations, will have to change and become more reflective of the networked workplace.