Certified-Certificate-Certification?? What’s in a word?

Brenda Pichette, IAP2 Certification Task Force
Brenda Pichette, IAP2 Certification Task Force

Brenda Pichette, of the IAP2 Certification Task Force, explains why having a “Certificate” or attending the “Certificate Course” is not the same as being “Certified”.

Let’s bring some clarity to all of this. As P2 professionals we are starting to see “IAP2 Certification” as a pre-requisite for jobs and a requirement in RFPs. That’s awesome: the public participation world out there is starting to recognize IAP2 as the standard-setter for the practice of P2. IAP2 has been developing and setting standards for the practice of public participation for more than twenty years. Yes, twenty years!

So here is where we are at. The five-day IAP2 “Certificate Program” (now called the Foundations course) offers you a “Certificate of Attendance”, but that is not the same as being “certified”. That’s because to date, there has been no form of assessment to confirm that participants have the ability to apply knowledge and skills covered in the training, and attending the Foundations course cannot cover all the essential competencies in one short week. Again, attending the Foundations Course is not certification.

What is Certification?

Certification is a credential bestowed on an individual who can demonstrate that they have the essential competencies necessary for a profession. Certification requires successful completion of a formal assessment program to confirm an individual’s knowledge and skills. Certification identifies that an individual is qualified to perform a job or task and serves as a professional reference.

Certification often requires completion of specified courses, passing an exam, and/or assessment by an independent panel. Certification is not accreditation or licensing. Those processes have different purposes.

IAP2 is developing a Certification Program and once you successfully complete the three-part assessment you will be certified. The IAP2 Foundations Program is a knowledge prerequisite for the Certification Program. The Foundations Program teaches basic understanding of the important principles and aspects of public involvement, as practiced by IAP2.

Professional certification will both recognize the many individuals who already possess the essential competencies of a P2 practitioner – and provide an achievable goal for people joining our profession.

The Certification program is coming to Canada. If all goes well you will hear an announcement soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please visit the webpage on the Certification Task Force. There, you can watch the webinars that have been developed to help you understand the program, the development and assessment process.

And please …

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND HELP US EDUCATE THE P2 WORLD ABOUT THIS. A certificate of attendance does not equate to certification.

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