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These questions have been frequently asked – hence the clever acronym.

Where Do We Start?

Or: How do we make the right decision?
Know what you’re getting into – before proceeding. The creation and maintenance of a credential requires substantial resources and the fact is, it may generate little net revenue or none at all. Be sure that all decision makers are fully informed on what is required to build a successful credential and the challenges and opportunities associated with offering one. Background readings and a briefing led by a credentialing expert can shed light on the realities.

Explore what type of credential best fits the needs of your market.Options include micro-credentials, assessment-based certificate programs and professional certifications. Equally important, consider whether a “credential” is what’s really needed (vs. an educational program, for example).

Gauge market interest. Too many organizations initiate professional credentialing programs with an "If we build it, they will come" philosophy, only to discover later that the target market is less than enthused, or worse yet, strongly opposed to the concept of credentialing. Don’t make assumptions – invest in market research so you can make informed decisions.

Develop a business case. A credential may be a good idea in concept, but simply not feasible for your organization. Or, the number of individuals served through the credentialing process may not justify the resource expenditure. A thorough analysis of the market size and need and organizational assets and potential challenges to success combined with revenue and expense projections and a break-even analysis will help you determine whether creating a credential is a good idea AND the right move for your organization.

Create a credential design blueprint. If you decide to move forward, a blueprint will provide the framework for building your credential. It includes:

  • A statement defining the purpose and goals of the credential
  • Descriptions of the target audiences
  • A description of the intended scope and level of professional practice to be targeted by the credential
  • Requirements for obtaining and maintaining the credential (if any)
  • A list of assessment types you’d like to explore further
  • A governance and committee structure to support program operations

Should We Be Changing Something?

Or: How do we know if it's time to make a change to our existing program?
Are your volumes plateauing or falling? Do you have a low completion rate or a high churn rate (i.e., new candidates are entering the program, but credential holders are not renewing)? Has your credential simply never lived up to expectations? These are signs that it's time to take a second look at your program.

The specific elements of a program review depend on the nature of the problem you are experiencing, but typically involve a combination of the following activities:

  • review of your customer demographics;

  • analysis of industry trends and their implications for the certification program;

  • evaluation of the competitive landscape;

  • an assessment of the program, which may include anything from its basic features (e.g., eligibility requirements, structure of the assessments) to marketing and branding strategy; and

  • market research to gather additional information and/or confirm hypotheses.

Depending on the findings of the program review, the recommendation may be to substantially transform your credentialing program, revive it by implementing moderate changes, or discontinue the program altogether.

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