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Recent Blog Posts

Alternative Item Types – The Big Picture

March 18, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Alternative item types (AIT) is a catch-all term, and can refer to any item type that's new or a bit different from the standard multiple choice (MC) item. AITs are sometimes called innovative item types or technology-enhanced items.

This post is the first in a planned series on AITs. In this post we’ll consider why program staff might want to add AITs to an exam program and a useful approach to designing the item types so that they will be successful. Future posts will address some popular AITs individually, along with other factors to consider when implementing new item types.

Your Certificants are Your Best Marketers

March 11, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

You have built your certification program from the ground up: from conducting market research to calculating the ROI of your program. You have identified experts to enhance the profile of your program and recruited customers to build a network of certificants. The next logical step forward is expanding your program. While traditional forms of marketing and advertising are necessary for program growth, no program can make it on its own.  It is increasingly important for you to look to your certificants as ambassadors and equip them with the tools to bring recognition and credibility to your program.

Helping your certificants market their certification also helps establish good will between you and the certificate holders and helps underscore their value in investing in this certification. It is a way that you can remind your certificants that they have made a commitment to their career and personal development by seeking out certification, that their new credentials are a representation of having achieved and exceeded industry standards for skill and knowledge, and that your program is here to support them.

Creating Profitable Certification Programs

February 25, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Certification is a buzzword in the assn world and few would argue that offering a certification isn’t a great idea. Over the past few decades, there has been a proliferation of certifications (in the thousands) develop across industries and professions with nonprofits leading the way. But many nonprofits do not create a business and marketing plan that realistically outlines the long-term investment needed to develop and sustain a profitable program.

Thinking of Developing a Certification Program? The Top 5 Things You Need to Do

February 18, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Christine Niero, Ph.D. Over the past few decades thousands of certification programs have proliferated, several in industries that didn’t even... View Article

Sorting Through Credentialing Confusion: Understanding the Differences Between Certificate and Certification Programs

February 11, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

It’s confusing enough that we live in a credentialing society where the use of acronyms proliferate.  Adding to the confusion is the misuse of key credentialing terminology, in particular, when “certification” is used interchangeably with, and as the outcome of, “certificate” and training programs.  If you are thinking about developing a credentialing program, understanding the differences between “certification” and “certificate” programs will help you determine the best type of program for your profession.

Credentialing Examinations

February 4, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

The lifeblood of every credentialing body is its credential examinations.  Although sometimes in addition to experience and education, credentialing exams... View Article

Intellectual Property

January 28, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

The most valuable assets of most certification organizations are intangible. The certification examination, and the credential itself, are the foundation... View Article

Fostering a Culture of Excellence Through Certification

January 21, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

If built and executed correctly, a credible certification can help brand an organization as the standard of “excellence” for a profession or an industry. For example, the “seal of approval” synonymous with credible certifications can help pave the way for associations to proactively position themselves if regulation is proposed—through certification, a model for setting, measuring and enforcing standards already exists.  The stringent ethical requirements required of credible certification programs help support a “culture of excellence,” as the codes of ethics certificants must uphold are frequently more robust than the requirements of membership or regulation.

Certification: A Value Proposition

January 14, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Today certification has become a buzzword in our society extending far beyond the familiar MD and CPA we instantly recognize as consumers.  Over the last few decades, we have seen a proliferation of certifications develop across industries and professions ranging from IT security to automotive services.  Many non-profits have led the way in developing voluntary certifications to promote industry standards, create avenues for career advancement for members and to demarcate those professionals who have gone the extra mile to distinguish themselves.  In fact, non-profits occupy a special niche in the world of voluntary certification and in so doing have created a unique value proposition for their stakeholders—beginning as advocates of standards.  After all, who better to set industry or professional standards than the members themselves?

The Value of the Credential

January 7, 2015  | By  | Leave a comment

Very few people desire credentials that have little or no value. Each credentialing organization faces unique challenges when defining the... View Article