The advantages of using certification systems to identify qualified personnel
Release date:2019-11-20
In many countries evidence of qualification to perform a job is defined by the level and type of education or experience that person has acquired. However, there is often no formal link between a person’s education or experience and the knowledge and skills needed to perform a job successfully, Sometimes when education is the only requirement for a job, employers complain that despite having the requisite education, workers are unable to competently perform a job.

Education content is generally solely developed by the education faculty who teaches a specific course and may or may not be familiar with specific job requirements. Additionally, the education content may not even be designed train people to do specific jobs, but rather is designed to be broader in scope. Certification, in contrast to education, requires that there be a systematic analysis of the knowledge, skills and abilities are to perform each of the specific tasks that make up a job and mechanisms to assess that the knowledge skills and abilities have been attained. 

Certification systems require that employers and other stakeholders participate in identifying the knowledge, skills and abilities (competencies) than individual must have to do a job properly. Employers will then participate further in defining the certification requirements including the assessment mechanisms that should be used to identify those individuals who possess the requisite competencies.

Using certification systems to identify qualified personnel provides more assurances than solely requiring education that the competencies individuals bring to the job match employer need and improves the quality of the workforce. Key characteristics of a certification system include the following:

Certification is a public statement or declaration that one has passed an examination, and otherwise met specified criteria demonstrating that one has the necessary competencies necessary to successfully perform the jobs that comprise a specific occupation.

Certifications are granted for a limited period of time and must be renewed to ensure that individuals continue to possess the competencies required to perform the job. Certification renewal may require ongoing education and/ or assessment and/or experience.

Certifications can be issued by anyone or any type of organization. These include government or regulatory body, professional or trade associations, private, independent certification organizations, employers or equipment and software developers.

Certification for certain occupations may be voluntary in some countries but is mandatory in others. Sometimes the certification becomes so important to job attainment that it can be considered quasi-mandatory. This occurs when the certification is written in as a requirement in job descriptions, career laddering systems, or project specifications.

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