Get em while their hot!
I am a member of several trade groups, all of them offering certifications to members who want to show they have done over and above what is required to be counted as a professional in their industry.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry has CR= Certified Remodeler, CKBR= Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler and others.
The National Association of Home Builders and Remodelers has CAPS= Certified Aging in Place Specialist, CGR= Certified Graduate Remodeler and others.
Certifications show that a person has gone beyond the norm their profession requires, its an opportunity to distinguish yourself and promote your advanced skills and to show your clients your better educated than most other professionals.
Many certifications require little more than a fee paid and time spent in a group to eventually take an easy test and Voila!, you have an acronym after your name. Tests are easy and few fail, its something worthwhile but it isn’t a doctorate. Certifications are no insurance against lack of ethics or sloppy work practices either, but people who acquire them have more “skin” in the game and I believe would deliver a better experience to a consumer.
The ugly is that there are so many groups and so many certifications the public for the most part ignores these certifications. Add to the fact the different trade groups all have similarities and compete for market share to promote their education offerings. Certifications end up being another marketing tool for you and your organization more often than not. That’s OK and its a positive thing but nothing distinguishable.
What can we do?
As an industry we could unite for a national certification offering, put some meat into the program and have something that is truly unique and worthwhile, a national certification. A CC, or Certified Contractor go on to market himself industry wide and perhaps homeowners would recognize a certification that was recognized by the entire building community. Architects and kitchen/ bath designers have successfully done this. The National Kitchen and Bath Association has its CKD or Certified Kitchen Designer, and that is recognized by our entire industry.
Certifications can be a good thing, I have a few and for me the effort into getting certified encouraged me to go further in my studies of the building industry. I used my certifications as a springboard to advance my interest into Universal Design and Kitchen and Bath design studies. If you care, you find there is always more to learn.
Is a certification enough? For some it is, for some it fuels the desire to go on and really excel at some aspect of their business. Go ahead and get your certs, but don’t stop there. A certification is just the beginning of what will be for some of us a journey into really understanding how a continuing education can be satisfying for you and good for your customers.
By Paul Lesieur/Â EIEIO= Excellence In Everything I Offer