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Certified Protection Professional progress report: certification - present and future.

Certified Protection Professional Progress Report

Certification--Present and Future The Professional Certification Board (PCB) would like to thank all the Certified Protection Professionals (CPPs) who submitted questions for the CPP examination question bank. This support helps maintain the PCB's goals of excellence, integrity, and validity. The quality and availability of questions are vital to preserving the high standards of certification examinations.

The PCB often receives questions from security professionals--CPPs and non-CPPs alike--about the advantages of certification. To discover how certification programs are viewed, senior human resources managers currently or formerly with four major Midwest corporations were polled. The corporations are among the top in the nation in assets or revenues. Their responses varied, and not all interviewees answered all questions.

The questions asked were:

* What effect does professional certification have on recruitment, selection, or promotion?

* From a personnel viewpoint, is the professional certification process considered a learning experience or is it a validation of the level of experience and knowledge at a given time?

* How does a shrinking work force affect the view of professional certifications?

* How does professional certification affect the remuneration package offered or position salaries?

* What is your view of the future for professional certification programs?

Kurt R. Kline, employment manager for Mutual of Omaha Companies, offered the following comments:

"Professional certification is viewed positively during recruitment, selection, and promotion. Certifications are viewed favorably since none are easily obtained, and they lend credibility to an applicant's stated experience and knowledge. A good certification program validates the knowledge gained from work experience as well as from schooling.

"The purpose of the initial certification accreditation process is not to be a learning experience--though it lends itself to that--but to validate a professional's level of experience and knowledge. Learning and development occur during recertification.

"With some exceptions, professional certification does not affect salaries or remuneration packages. It may, however, qualify an applicant for a higher level position or raise an applicant's starting salary.

"The importance of professional certification will continue. Certification may even carry more weight as viable professional applicant pools shrink. Some certification programs now offer both an initial and a senior-level certification accreditation. Senior-level certification uses much more stringent criteria, both in experience and knowledge."

Vern H. Krider, vice president of Human Resource Management Corporation in Omaha, NE, and former vice president of personnel for Union Pacific Railroad, gave the following advice:

"Professional certification ranges from a requirement in some technical disciplines, such as engineering, to a plus in professions such as human resources and security. It is a strong indicator of professional dedication. Professional certification is a definite plus even when it's not a position requirement.

"Half the advantage of certification is attaining it. The rest is maintaining it throughout a career. In cases where certification occurs in the beginning or middle of a career, a substantial portion of that career remains in the future, making continuing professional development important.

"Certification demonstrates an individual's commitment to professionalism as a continuing process, not an isolated event. Education for recertification enables organizations to remain up to date in a discipline through their employees. Continuing education thus is a long-term advantage for an employer.

"Emphasis on certification is slowly growing in many professions. As organizations are unable to obtain certified professionals when needed, they will encourage or require employees to become certified, thus contributing to the growth of programs.

"Certification only indirectly affects remuneration packages. Employers generally do not pay a certified professional more. Still, several factors indirectly raise the salary of certified personnel. For example, marketability and demand generally result in a higher salary for certified professionals.

"Some organizations recognize and reward education through pay and benefit packages. If an organization wants its employees certified, and the person hired or promoted is not, the employer may incorporate a specified salary increase for certification into the performance review. If a program requires periodic recertification, an astute manager incorporates it into the performance appraisal.

"Professional certification programs are the wave of the future, though not a tidal wave. The less technical the discipline, such as management and human resources, the less the free market system supports certification as a discriminator for recruitment, selection, and promotion. Programs in general will emphasize personal and professional growth, development, and commitment to accepted standards.

"Professions where certification programs will grow most strongly are those involving public policy issues, such as safety and other mandated concerns. In professions where such concerns are not so great, professional certification will be a personal and professional development issue."

Brad Chapman, vice president of human resources planning and development for Peter Kiewit Sons Inc., stated his views as follows:

"Certification has little impact on recruitment, selection, or promotion processes except in technical disciplines such as engineering. However, if a client requires certified personnel for specific positions on his or her project, then a company will try to find them. Certification does not affect promotions because they are performance based. Should a situation arise where two individuals are equally qualified and one has a certification, then the certified applicant would likely be selected.

"Professional certification demonstrates understanding a discipline's body of knowledge. Preparing for certification over the course of a career is a learning process, but certification itself only validates a person's knowledge at that time.

"The 'half-life of learning' theory states that unless an individual's knowledge is continually updated, it will be obsolete within five years. A program without a periodic recertification requirement thus allows the certification to become invalid.

"A professional society, initially as a loose-knit group and later as a formal organization, defines the specialized knowledge necessary for satisfactory performance in its discipline. Examples are accounting, law, engineering, and data automation. Professional certification coupled with a viable recertification program raises industry standards in general.

"With a shrinking work force, certification can significantly affect employee development. Professional organizations influence the learning and experience required for certification and define appropriate requirements and courses of study.

"The bad side of professional organizations or educational institutions involved in certification is that occasionally teaching is geared toward passing an examination. That phenomenon has occurred in such respected programs as accounting, engineering, and law. Program credibility is significantly enhanced by separating the preparation for certification and the certification process.

"Certification generally does not affect salaries unless it is job or project specific. It is not significant at all unless specified by a client, and then a premium may be included in the remuneration package. Certification may have an indirect influence on salary through increasing an individual's efficiency and demonstrated competence.

"Certification is more of a factor when retaining outside services. It may substitute for familiarity with an individual or company. To be comfortable using certification in lieu of knowing an individual or firm personally, an industry must trust the certifying organization. That trust is especially important when hiring consultants. For example, if a firm is needed to review corporate financial systems, then corporate officers are likely to use one with certified personnel.

"The future for certification programs appears bright. Momentum created over the years will contribute to growth. Certification programs for professions affecting public interest, such as the environment and banking, will be better regulated. In such professions, industries will create courses to ensure employees are qualified to work in compliance with regulatory directives if a certification program does not already exist.

"Future certification efforts can be enhanced by high ethical and professional standards. If those standards are supported and a certification program is considered worthwhile, it will win business's support. Encouraging professional development through certification benefits everyone because it leads to better educated, more competent and productive employees.

One interviewee requested anonymity for himself and his corporation but did provide the following comments:

"Certification should be required for filling a position only in exceptional circumstances, yet it may well be used as a tiebreaker between two equally qualified applicants. A quality certification program guarantees those certified possess current professional knowledge of industry practice and principles and requires periodic updating through continuing education.

"Some companies require certifications in various professions because they like to say all personnel are certified. That idea can be carried too far, however, when qualified people with better performance records are overlooked. Certification should be one factor among many when hiring a professional staff.

"Pay differences favoring certified professionals are more likely to be found in larger companies that pay better salaries. Such companies should expect and receive higher quality credentials and performance."

These views are from a limited survey, which must be expanded before conclusions are drawn. The survey did, however, provide insight into how senior corporate officers view the certification process and where such programs are headed or should be heading in the future.

John T. Smith, CPP, CFE, is chairman of the Professional Certification Board Test Committee and general manager of Assessment and Control Systems of Omaha, NE.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Smith, John T.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1990
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