This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

August 19, 1998

Proliferation of Certifications

In our observations as futurists, we’ve noted on several occasions the rising importance of certifications. Becoming legitimately certified in a particular field or specialty is a smart way to validate your credentials and to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Individuals and companies should be wary of certifications. We’re seeing a disturbing trend for profit making organizations, some not-for-profits, and some universities beginning to take advantage of the movement toward certifications. Investigate certification programs carefully before accepting the value of the certification itself. Evaluate whether the certification process is rigorous enough to be valid. Inquire about the requirements for re-certification to validate continuing expertise.

We uncomfortably predict that certifications will become so narrow that the experienced generalist dedicated to gaining validation of credentials may accumulate a rather long list of initials to add to business cards. Example: a certification offered by George Mason University and a sponsoring organization. The credential: Certified Internet Meeting Professional (CIMP). The sponsoring organization: The Connected International Meeting Professionals Association. Saving grace: applicants must be certified previously by a recognized professional organization in the field, earning designations already widely accepted, such as CCM, CICM, CMP, CMM, CAE, or CEM.

Anyone can declare himself a certifying body and attract people hungry for recognition. This could well be an expanding market seeking gullible applicants. Be careful. In our field of management consulting for instance, there are several profit-making organizations offering to certify consultants for a price. Only the Institute of Management Consultants is a legitimate professional organization offering the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation.


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