Developing the Rating Criteria
A review of the data on each of the websites of the respective organizations showed a fair degree of consistency in the credentialing information provided. While not always easy to find, the information normally and customarily included on the websites could be categorized into the following 27 general topics or headings:
- Name and contact information of the developing organization
- Certification name
- Certification acronym
- Date Certification Initiated or started
- General description
- Process to get certified
- Does the certification require experience and if yes, how many hours?
- Does the certification require a degree or can experience be substituted in lieu of a degree?
- Is the credential exam based only, peer reviewed only or both
- If exam based, the duration of the exam
- Number of questions on the exam
- Type of questions
- Passing score or grade
- Cost of exam to members
- Cost of exam to non-members
- Membership cost
- Cost Comparison - whether better to join or not to join
- Books required to pass the exam (if any)
- Cost of the required books (if any)
- Course(s) required prior to sitting for the exam
- Number of hours training required prior to sitting for the exam
- Is there a paper required in addition to the exam
- For how long is the certification valid
- Renewal requirements
- Renewal costs
- URL for more information on the organization or credential
- URL for Training and other information
A summary of the data gleaned from the respective websites was entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Please note that while reasonable attempts were made to validate the information, including sending the file to responsible individuals active in these organizations, no formal request was made to the organizations themselves to validate or clarify the content. Also, the data was last checked on December 22, 2009 and may well have changed since that date.
As might be expected, the data presented on the various organizational web sites is typically limited making it difficult to draw any meaningful comparison between the credentials.
Whether this is intentional or not, practitioners and their employing organizations should consider insisting that professional organizations provide sufficient data to enable potential seekers of certifications to make a fair and rational comparative evaluation. This also applies to those who employ certified individuals and is a matter of rights as consumers. This topic will be addressed more fully in the recommendations.