We’ve all seen the positive impact a quality credential has – on individual test takers, employers, and entire industries. More than 90% of credential holders believe a credential is valuable within their profession. And this commitment is recognized by employers, too. A global career impact survey found that after completing at least one certification, 76% of people received a salary increase or promotion. And the list of benefits doesn't stop there. From advantages during the recruitment process to increased confidence and ongoing professional development while in the role, it is hard to know where to begin with marketing the value of your credential.
We’ve worked with testing programs for the healthcare sector, IT, real estate, cosmetology and more. Although these industries are very different, the foundation-level benefits are similar across all. And we’ve seen time and time again the best place to start with marketing your programs is to establish where your unique credential adds value and determine which benefits are relevant to your different audiences.
Benefits for the test taker
Credentialed individuals stand out from the crowd, whether they are seeking a new position, looking to advance within their current organization, or increase reputation in the eyes of the client and public. Their expertise is proven and verifiable. Whatever stage of their career – perhaps graduates looking to get a foothold in a competitive job market or mid-stage professionals looking to enhance the breadth and depth of their knowledge – credentials open a range of opportunities.
A credential is an entry-ticket to many jobs, and sometimes a compulsory one. Not only is a test taker’s knowledge evidenced, but the skills necessary to successfully complete a testing program – time management, positive work ethic, project management – are also vital for a prosperous career. Investing in an appropriate credential is useful for many reasons and to multiple groups of people. Candidates can cultivate and demonstrate their relevant knowledge and skills, while recruiters can be reassured that candidates have the requisite competencies and attitude to flourish within their organization and industry.
However, the value of credentialing extends beyond the recruitment phase. Ongoing development is useful for both the personal and business growth of individuals and organizations. Does your organization provide continued access to work-related tools, proprietary information, and peer support to your test takers? The opportunity to keep pace with new technologies and skill requirements in a rapidly changing environment will be appealing to employers and employees alike.
Benefits to the organization
This proven expertise also helps to improve the reputation of the organization where a credentialed individual works – especially if that organization has encouraged and assisted the undertaking of that credential with time, financial support, or both. It demonstrates care for employees which has become even more important with the current fierce competition for top talent. What’s more, a proven, competent workforce will be attractive to any potential client. So much so that 84% of IT business partners believe certified IT consultants provide better service and support and are more valuable to their clients than non-certified colleagues.
The knowledge and expertise an individual gains through a credential will also be dissipated across a workforce. If an employee has undergone a testing program, their knowledge will be shared throughout their team and act as an example to incoming talent wishing to advance their career. Individual and organizational benefits progress hand-in-hand. A team can be strengthened by the lessons learned through a testing program, leading to a more cohesive, effective, and successful unit.
Benefits of your credentialing program
Bound up with promoting the universal value of credentials themselves, however, are the benefits of your particular credentialing program. Especially in industries where certification and licensure are a popular way of proving proficiency, you must stand out from the crowd and promote the specific advantages of your program specifically. The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) does a great job on their website highlighting the convenience of their testing options and sharing testimonials from satisfied nurses.
These benefits should be clearly communicated to potential test takers from the very beginning.
- Are you an industry leader?
- Does your program offer something unique over competitors?
- Are your test delivery methods flexible, with secure online proctoring and multi-modal testing options for example?
- Do you offer additional flexibility with micro or stackable credentials?
These are all relevant questions for anyone considering a credential, and if the answers cannot be easily accessed, your potential test taker may not be encouraged to choose your program.
Uphold high standards
Credentialing is an increasingly popular way of proving expertise and so credentialing organizations must hold themselves to the same rigorous standards as test takers. Whether this is proving yourself with thought leadership, or in concise and clear online communication, ensure test takers are attracted by both the benefits of credentialing overall and the unique attributes of your program.
Here at PSI, we are constantly striving to improve the test taker experience while upholding the integrity of the certification. “We work closely with credentialing organizations to develop and maintain valid, reliable, and fair tests to provide test takers the best experience while allowing them to adequately demonstrate their expertise,” Isabelle Gonthier, PSI SVP, Assessment Services.
There are manifold benefits to credentialing. From validating expertise to increasing reputational quality, the advantages to an individual’s career and the team in which they sit are undeniable.