The Value of Professional Certification
Professional certifications demand a robust understanding of the knowledge and specialized skills that are necessary to perform with a high degree of competence in a field. Additional annual requirements for training or practice ensure currency of skill and knowledge of new developments in that field. In every profession, professional certification helps employee, employer and the consumer.
Employees benefit from professional certification in several ways.
- First is the validation of the employee’s skills and knowledge by a third party. In the case of the STC Technical Communication Certification, it is the Society for Technical Communication, the largest and oldest association for technical communicators, technical writers and content professionals that provides that validation. Additionally we are working with a vendor whose accreditation processes follow ISO standards. For the employee, STC Technical Communication Certification is professional milestone that carries weight.
- A second and important benefit for employees is differentiation from others in hiring and the ability to command higher pay. Professional certification is an important credential on a resume. It denotes a level of capability and is an indicator of quality performance and output. For those not looking for jobs, obtaining certification may be a requirement for advancing or a way of standing out from peers and commanding higher pay or responsibilities.
- Third, on a personal level, the certification process and requirement for annual training forces the practitioner to stay current, work on multiple types of jobs, learn new skills and most likely network with peers. The practitioner stays engaged in the field through certification.
Employers also benefit from professional certification
- Professional Certification is a quality marker that helps an employer gauge the effectiveness of the person he is about to hire. It reduces risk and simplifies the search through multiple candidates. When professional certification is a requirement in a job posting, it greatly focuses the candidate pool. Since the employer is depending on a third party’s judgement to verify a candidate’s skill, it is important that the certification is granted by an established and credible organization – like the STC.
- Employers also want their hires to stay current and continue to grow in the profession. Professional certification provides both a program and milestone to strive for and, after certification, a driver of continuing education and training. Employers can use achievement of professional certification as a requirement for advancement or pay changes as well.
- Finally, certified professionals with proven knowledge and competency may contribute more to an organization. They may be faster or more accurate workers. They may be more creative or insightful in solving related business issues.
In the end the consumer is better off as well. For technical communicators, professional certification sets a standard for skills, knowledge and performance across the field of content work. Better workers results in better output and a greater ability to achieve the goal of the message: instructions are more easily understood, warnings are relayed, descriptions are complete, content can be reused, and the device used to access the content doesn’t limit the user.
The Society for Technical Communication is fulfilling one of its mandates as an association by creating and sponsoring professional certification for technical communicators. We hope all of our members, academics, students and others in the field take advantage of this program.