The Basics of Achieving Professional Certification

The Basics of Achieving Professional Certification: Enhancing Your Credentials

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Features

  • Helps employees understand the process of obtaining a professional certification
  • Outlines the requirements necessary to obtain a professional certification using numerous examples
  • Compares the pursuit of professional certifications to certificate programs
  • Provides a framework for training and development that supports different types of certification

Summary

Professional certification has become a very popular topic and a significant number of individuals are making it a priority. Some people are torn on whether or not to obtain a certification to bolster their career. Others see the advantage of diversifying their professional portfolio and pursuing popular certifications in the areas of Project Management, Information Technology, Quality, or Human Resources. The Basics of Achieving Professional Certification: Enhancing Your Credentials provides clear-cut guidance on how to select a certification that is right for you and how you can continue to build your credentials in support of personal and professional goals.

This easy-to-use guide can help anyone looking to achieve professional certification make informed decisions about the many options available. It can also help avoid the pitfalls of making the wrong choice as a result of being incorrectly informed. Examining the range of professional certifications offered by associations and organizations, it explains how to select the right professional certification and outlines best practices for completing the certification process.

The book includes a CD that represents more than a year of development between resources in the U.S. and Europe. Packed with tools, it supplies permanent access to a suite of helpful training and development software, including:

  • Library management system to track training material, books, and related items (created in MS Access)
  • Learning management system to ensure training compliance (created in MS Access)
  • A number of project management resources, including a comprehensive exam preparation program
  • Royalty free multimedia resources to add pizzazz to your e-learning programs
  • Forms, templates, and checklists to support training administration
  • Tools to help evaluate training programs
  • Software to make training and certification more interactive and enjoyable

Winner of a Cleland Publication Award, Willis H. Thomas, PhD, PMP, CPT, not only outlines the requirements for obtaining professional certification, but also provides a framework for training and development that supports the range of professional certifications. The book includes helpful test-taking tips for oral and written exams and also describes how to find supporting resources for study group participation.

Filled with illustrative examples, the text includes testimonials from professional associations on how professional certification has benefited their members—making it helpful to professional associations as a means to encourage association membership and participation.

Table of Contents

Foundations
Key Lessons
Professional Certification Defined
How Does the Professional Certification Process Work?
     Assessment
     The Application Process
     Lack of Knowledge about Resources
     Certification Maintenance
     Ongoing Requirements to Stay Connected
Why Is Professional Certification Needed?
Who Needs Professional Certification?
Where Should a Person Obtain Professional Certification?
Which Path Should Be Taken to Achieve Professional Certification?
When Should Certificate Programs Be Pursued?
What about Qualifications?
Suggested Reading

The Certification Marketplace
Key Lessons
The Certification Jungle
Milestones in Professional Certification
Credentialing Authorities
Centers and Institutes for Association Leadership
Association Management Companies
Business Partners and Consultants
Professional Association versus Professional Organization
Professional Association Governance and Membership
Professional Organization Structure and Community Members
Registered Education Providers
Educational Institutions
Employers
Critics
Suggested Reading

Preparing for Professional Certification
Key Lessons
Getting Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Mastering the Body of Knowledge
Financing Professional Certification
Accessing the Professional Certification Handbook
Filling Out the Professional Association Membership Application
Interpreting the Professional Certification Application
Previewing the Different Types of Certification Fees and Dues
Clarifying the Type of Professional Certification Assessments
Optimizing Certification Preparation Resources
Determining Test-Taking Strategies
Overcoming Anxiety and Mental Blocks
Completing the Readiness Assessment
Suggested Reading

Achieving Professional Certification
Key Lessons
Ready, Set, Go
Career Planning
Out of High School or with a General Equivalency Diploma
Picking Up One- and Two-Year Programs
Continuing on to the Four-Year Degree
Stretching to Advanced Degrees
Terminal Degrees and Beyond
Practice Analysis
Competency Development
Learning Methodologies
Capacity Building
Day of the Certification Exam
Publicizing the Credential
Updating the Résumé, Curriculum Vitae, Portfolio, and Biography
Applying for New Positions
Suggested Reading

Maintaining Professional Certification
Key Lessons
Sustaining Professional Association and Professional Organization Professional Certification Programs
Budgeting Time, Energy, and Money
Balancing Family, Friends, and Recreational Interests
Earning PDUs and CEUs
Volunteerism
Obtaining Lifetime Professional Certification Status
Reviving an Expired Professional Certification
Sunsetting a Professional Certification That Has Been Retired
Handling a Professional Certification That Becomes Problematic
Reinstating a Professional Certification after It Has Been Revoked
Deciding Not to Maintain Professional Certification
Suggested Reading

Good Business Practices for Professional Certification
Key Lessons
Defining Best Practices
Developing the Professional Association Board of Directors
Increasing Member Satisfaction
Improving Communication with Professional Organizations
Motivating Others to Become Professionally Certified
Building a Culture That Supports Professional Certification
Promoting a Learning Organization
Networking for Continuous Improvement
Weighing Certification Options
Determining the Impact of Professional Certification Programs
Monitoring Cash Flow
Measuring Volunteer Engagement Specific to Certification Maintenance
Calculating Return on Investment for Training (an Example Model)
Creating Training Materials for Certification Preparation
Suggested Reading

Maintaining Compliance with Professional Certification
Key Lessons
A Reality Check
Reinforcing a Compliance Mindset
Enabling Feedback Mechanisms to Eliminate Blind Spots
Auditing Professional Certification
Evaluating Professional Certification
Implementing a Tracking System for PDUs/CEUs
Assigning the Job Role to Oversee Professional Certification
Reviewing Implementability Concerns
Sustaining Accreditation with a Recognized Authority
Adhering to Sound Instructional Design and Curriculum Development
Suggested Reading

Case Studies in Professional Certification
Key Lessons
Association for Operations Management
     Basics of Supply Chain Management
     Master Planning of Resources
     Detailed Scheduling and Planning
     Execution and Control of Operations
     Strategic Management of Resources
American Society for Quality
American Society for Training and Development
American Society of Association Executives
Association of Clinical Research Professionals
Cisco Learning Network
International Institute for Learning
International Society for Performance Improvement
Microsoft
Project Management Institute
Society of Human Resource Management
Suggested Reading

Resource CD
Acronyms
Glossary
References
Index

Author Bio(s)

Willis H. Thomas, PhD, PMP, CPT is a certified project manager and performance technologist who has been involved in training and organizational development across the pharmaceutical, telecommunications and information technology industries. His career focus has been in the areas of quality assurance, human resources, and operations.

Dr. Thomas is a recognized author. His book entitled "The Basics of Project Evaluation and Lessons Learned" received the Project Management Institute's 2012 Cleland Award. The Cleland award recognizes and honors the best project management literature published during the previous calendar year. It recognizes the author for significant contributions and for advancing the project management knowledge, practices, procedures, concepts, or other advanced techniques that demonstrate the value of using project management. He has also published in professional journals and is represented on training, project management and evaluation professional association websites. He was a featured speaker at the International Project Management Day on November 15, 2012 and has delivered global presentations on project management, training, and evaluation for a number of organizations.

Dr. Thomas has 10 years of pharmaceutical experience. He worked for Pfizer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the largest manufacturing site for drug products and active pharmaceutical ingredients. After the Wyeth-Pfizer merger, he worked five years in research and development in Pearl River, New York. Dr. Thomas’ work has been instrumental in maintaining regulatory compliance (i.e., with the FDA) and supporting process improvement (i.e., through assessing and developing global training programs). In addition to a deep and broad experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Thomas was in the telecommunications and information technology industries for 15 years where he supported quality initiatives and regulatory compliance. He worked seven years for Ameritech, a Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC); three years for Brinks, an international home security provider; and five years for Presentation Partners as a consultant.

In the area of project management training, Dr. Thomas has delivered courses on a virtual basis for the International Institute for Learning. He has also invested time to assist a number of professional associations with learning technologies, project management and evaluation. He has done this through creating e-learning, delivering webinars, in-person speaking engagements and publishing content.

He holds a PhD in Evaluation from Western Michigan University. The title of his dissertation while working at Pfizer was "A Metaevaluation of Lessons Learned Repositories: Evaluative Knowledge Management Practices in Project Management." In line with his extensive research, he has developed a comprehensive website on project management that focuses specifically on lessons learned at www.lessonslearned.info. Dr. Thomas studied directly under Dr. Michael Scriven. His Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management is from National Louis University. The title of his Master’s thesis was "The Impacts of Sales Integration on Interpersonal Communication Affecting Sales Representatives' Job Satisfaction." This was completed while at Xerox.

Dr. Thomas’ Bachelor of Arts degree is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there, he served as the editor for Datelines Student Newspaper and editor for West African Monsoons from Geocentric Satellites (Space Science and Engineering Department).

Personal Interests: Family, travel, visiting national parks, gourmet cooking, and publishing. Professional Interests: Evaluation, Measurement, Research, Certification Programs, Learning Technologies, Pharmaceutical Science, Project Management, Supply Chain Management, Records Management, Information Technology, Information Management, and Knowledge Management Professional Association Board of Directors Served on: ASTD, APICS, PMI, and ISM Current Professional Memberships: AEA, APICS, ASTD, ISPI, and PMI.

 
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