Editor’s note: The following is a condensed version of a guest blog on The NEWS website. To read it in its entirety, go to the bit.ly link that appears below.

Certifications Need Standards

By Jim Hughes

How do you prove that you possess the skills needed to perform a job? This has been an ongoing challenge, especially for those of us in the trades.

Certification would seem to be that metric, and a viable alternative to a degree. With certification, a third party verifies your skills in a given area usually by means of a test. This can be especially important in rapidly changing industries where what was true five years ago is not true today.

If certifications are to remain valid and gain acceptance with employers and society as a whole, we need to have standards. I believe these standards should include at least the following:

• Questions must have 95-percent skill validity, meaning that the certification assesses those skills needed 95 percent of the time. Obscure or outdated procedure, or skill sets that are needed once or twice in a career, should be excluded.

• Proper names must be used in place of trade names or industry jargon.

• Test questions must be spelled properly and include proper grammar.


Jim Hughes
Profit Assist
St. Louis

Publication date: 12/24/2012