Certification is a voluntary process by which a nongovernmental agency formally recognizes specialized knowledge, skills and experience in a designated area. Certification establishes minimum competency standards in the specialty and offers recognition for those who have met the standards. A primary purpose of certification is the protection of the public through a means of measurement of current skills and knowledge through a standardized comprehensive examination.
Professionals working in the field of vascular access can demonstrate mastery of specialized knowledge by meeting criteria and passing the examination offered by the Vascular Access Certification Corporation.
What’s the Difference Between Certification and a Certificate Program?
The Institute for Credentialing Excellence has defined the differences between certification and certificate programs. It is important for the public and professionals considering taking part in these programs to understand the differences, as well as what completion of each of these programs represents.
The differences between certification and assessment-based certificate programs, are defined by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence as follows:
Assessment-based Certificate Program:
“A training program on a topic for which participants receive a certificate after attendance and/or completion of the coursework. Some programs also require successful demonstration of attainment of the course objectives. One who completes a professional certificate program is known as a certificate holder. A credential is usually NOT granted at the completion of a certificate program. There are three types of certificate programs: knowledge-based certificate, curriculum based certificate, and certificate of attendance or participation.” ICE Guide to Understanding Credentialing Concepts (2nd Edition)
“A process, often voluntary, by which individuals who have demonstrated the level of knowledge and skill required in the profession, occupation, role of skill are identified to the public and other stakeholders.
The voluntary process by which a non-governmental entity grants a time-limited recognition and use of a credential to an individual after verifying that he or she has met predetermined and standardized criteria. It is the vehicle that a profession or occupation uses to differentiate among its members, using standards, sometimes developed through a consensus-driven process, based on existing legal and psychometric requirements.” ICE Guide to Understanding Credentialing Concepts (2nd Edition)
What Are the Benefits of Certification?
Certification offers potential benefits for the professional, employer and public and may include:
- Creating a standard for professionals in a particular discipline.
Identifying professional achievement
- Offering validation of knowledge and increasing professional credibility
- Furthering knowledge in targeted area
- Assuring employers and the public that the certificant has met rigorous requirements in areas of practice
- Higher wages for employees
- Employment advantage over non-certified job applicants