Home > Training > Certified-Certificate-Certification?? What’s in a word?

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

Brenda Pichette

Brenda Pichette

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 pre-requisites for jobs and for requirements 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 3 part assessment you will be certified. The IAP2 Foundations Program is a knowledge prerequisite for the Certification Program. The Foundations Program demonstrates basic understanding of the important principles and aspects of public involvement, as practiced by IAP2.

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

  1. Moose Michaelson
    November 11, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    As trainers, we have always been careful to make that distinction when delivering the IAP2 training. But that has not prevented a few individuals from misappropriating the use of the term certification.
    Thanks for clarifying again the distinction.
    That said, I would still maintain that people who have taken the training understand more about effective, meaningful, value-driven, and appropriately designed public participation than 90 percent of the people who normally conduct it. Even among people who have been practicing public participation for a decade or more, when they finish the training they often remark that they “finally understand” what they should have been taught when they first started. That’s why the Foundations course is a cornerstone of the new certification process.

  2. Leah Jaramillo
    November 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I am so excited the option to become certified is available. Thanks to all of those who helped in this process…The Certification Committee volunteers, those who participated in the pilot, IAP2 Staff! Congratulations to the first round of MCP3s!!

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