Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Key Steps to Building A Certification Program

1. Identify the Purpose
The first step in building a certification program is to identify the business objectives and the program’s intended use, or “raison d’être”. To determine the purpose, you must consider the focus of the program, its intended candidates, and its nature. This can often include: increasing professional visibility; establishing professional legitimacy; elevating the professional/industrial status; ameliorating skills, ability and knowledge; and, addressing concerns of safety and public perception.

2. Define the Mission
The mission of a certification program is rooted in the need the program is attempting to meet. A plurality of needs may exist. An organization may seek to differentiate itself or its profession, particularly in a context of heightened competition. A certification program may be desired to establish an objective way to verify the skills, ability, and knowledge of an individual in an otherwise variable and uncertain environment. For candidates whose expertise and contribution is yet unrecognized, certifying may serve to enhance both the reputation and value of their given profession.
Establishing the mission requires careful thought to the intended beneficiaries of the program. The program may specifically apply to new entrants to a profession. Conversely, it may be intended for broader availability within the profession.
Key questions to ask when developing the mission: Who is the program intended for? How will the program fulfill its purpose?

3. Develop a Strategic Plan
Once you have identified your purpose and mission, you can then move on to developing your program’s strategic plan. Within this plan, you will examine the environmental opportunities and threats, such as technological factors that may impact the program. As part of this step, it is important to conduct an environmental scan to identify organizational strengths and weaknesses such as staff skills, branding, office space, relationships with program suppliers or other organizations, volunteers, financial resources, visibility, etc. These details inform the strategic goals to be developed as well as the criteria of success with which to evaluate the plan.

This post is based on content from 'ABC's of Certification' by Human Resource Systems Group, Ltd.

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