Certification bodies provide broad access to materials, education, and/or training for certification exam preparation, ranging from endorsed curriculum delivered by postsecondary higher education institutions to self-study guide to online courses. Nearly 70% of certification bodies provide study guides to all individuals seeking their certifications, and work with a wide variety of education and training providers. This data strongly suggests that materials, education, and/or training is broadly accessible to individuals who are seeking certifications.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of accessibility to education and training for individuals who are seeking new credentials. While access in this context can encompass many different elements, it certainly includes cost, physical constraints, and ease of access.
Access for individuals seeking certifications can be even more highly nuanced. As certifications are awarded based on an assessment of a set of competencies, in addition to other criteria, access to certifications must also address access to supports to pass the required assessment.
Broad Range of Preparation and Study Materials Offered by Most Certification Bodies
According to a survey conducted by Workcred, over 80% of certification bodies provide this access in the form of study guides for some or all of their assessments. In addition to this direct support, all certification bodies surveyed worked with or more training and/or education providers to provide preparation for their assessments, with the majority working with more than one. These providers ranged from secondary educational institutions to universities to correctional institutions. Furthermore, over 40% of certification bodies had designated a process by which education and/or training partners could align their curricula to the competencies in their assessments.
The study guides are typically found on the certification bodies’ websites. While some are made freely available, others may require inputting contact information or are available for purchase. Certification bodies may also provide sample exam questions, exam content outlines, or strategies for test taking.
Many certification bodies will also provide materials specifically for education and/or training providers who wish to develop curriculum to prepare for as assessment. Combined with the other materials provided to support preparation for the assessment, these materials should increase the ability for education and/or training providers to support their students to earn certifications, either as part of an existing program or as an additional program.
Finally, while not directly addressed in this survey, it is worth noting that many certification bodies offer the option for remote assessments. For some, this option predated the pandemic, but many have begun offering remote assessment to meet the current need for social distancing and restricted travel.
This is the final post in a three-part series. You can find the first two posts in the series, Certification Bodies are Well-Positioned to Link Data and Deepen Understanding of ROI of Certifications, and Demand For Certifications Increasing During Pandemic, here.
Methods: Workcred surveyed a group of 30 certification bodies across multiple industry sectors over a period of two weeks. Workcred received 29 responses to the survey, all of which were complete. The survey was delivered and replies collected using SurveyMonkey.