This feature first appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
Certified IT professionals often lead busy lives with complicated work and personal schedules. It can be tempting to view certification as a one-off steppingstone, which perhaps explains why many busy tech workers ignore recertification requirements and let their professional credentials lapse. But there are good reasons to find time for recertification.
As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the skills and knowledge required for professional success are also constantly changing. Emblematic of this trend is the growing awareness of the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to transform the employment landscape.
This is where continuing education and recertification come into play. By engaging in lifelong learning and maintaining up-to-date certifications, IT professionals can ensure they remain competitive and relevant in the job market.
What is recertification?
Recertification refers to the process of renewing a certification to demonstrate that an individual’s skills are up-to-date. It typically involves some type of evaluation of the certified professional's continued competence. This could include activities such as completing continuing education or professional development courses, demonstrating ongoing work experience, participating in skills assessments, or passing a recertification exam.
As an example, some of the ways certified professionals renew CompTIA certifications include completing qualified training activities, attending industry events, earning a related certification, or passing the latest release of the certification exam.
CompTIA-certified professionals may renew with a single activity, such as earning a higher-level CompTIA certification like CompTIA Network+ to renew an earlier certification like CompTIA A+. Or they may renew using a combination of numerous activities. Other programs, including those offered by large certifying bodies such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) and (ISC)², have similar recertification requirements.
What are the benefits of recertification?
Continuing education is a vital part of professional growth, and recertification is one way to demonstrate commitment to that growth. Recertification provides a platform for organizations and individuals alike to leverage investments in skills development.
Some of the benefits of recertification for individuals include:
Skill adaptability — According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, 40 percent of the skills required for most jobs will have changed from where they were just a couple of years ago. Continuing education and recertification allow IT professionals to acquire new skills and update their existing knowledge, ensuring their skill set remains current. This adaptability is crucial in today's IT workplace, as it enables individuals to keep pace with the latest advancements and trends, making them more valuable to employers.
Improved employability — Recertification demonstrates an IT professional’s commitment to professional development and their ability to stay tuned in to industry changes. This can lead to better job opportunities and improved job security, as employers are more likely to retain employees who are proactive in maintaining their skills and knowledge.
Higher earning potential — Continuing education and recertification can have a significant impact on an individual's earning potential. According to the 2021 Skills and Salary Report by Global Knowledge, IT professionals who actively pursue professional development and maintain up-to-date skills tend to command higher salaries compared to those who do not prioritize ongoing learning. This higher earning potential can greatly contribute to long-term career growth and financial stability.
Employer benefits of recertification
The benefits of recertification are not limited to the certified individual, but scale to benefit the employer organization as well. These benefits include:
Improved productivity and efficiency — Organizations that invest in continuing education and recertification for their employees can benefit from increased productivity and efficiency. Employees who are up-to-date with the latest skills and knowledge are more likely to be able to solve problems quickly, reduce downtime, and contribute to overall cost savings.
Better decision-making and risk management — Employees who engage in continuing education and recertification are equipped with the latest industry best practices and methodologies, enabling them to make informed decisions and effectively manage risk within the organization.
Greater employee satisfaction — Employees who engage in continuing education and recertification are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and stay with their current employer, reducing turnover and associated costs. Additionally, employees who are proactive in maintaining their skills and knowledge often require less training, resulting in even further cost savings for the organization.
Why have a recertification requirement?
Many, if not all, of the largest certifying bodies have a recertification requirement. Even many smaller, niche programs require recertification. This is true across industries from manufacturing to healthcare to IT.
Regardless of industry, recertification requirements are largely founded on the understanding that skills need to be continually maintained in the ever-changing environments where those skills are applied. This understanding is reflected in standards that certifying bodies meet to gain accreditation of their programs.
CompTIA’s certification programs comply with one such standard — the ISO 17024 standard. ISO 17024 is a globally recognized standard that specifies the requirements for a certification body's operation and management of certification programs for individuals. The standard sets guidelines for the development and maintenance of certification schemes, including the processes for initial certification, recertification, and ongoing competency assessment.
Recertification is an essential aspect of ISO 17024-compliant certification programs. It ensures that certified professionals continue to meet the established competency requirements and maintain their knowledge and skills in the relevant field. Though specific recertification requirements vary depending on the certification and the certification body implementing the program, there are some common themes found in recertification requirements.
By incorporating recertification requirements, certification programs aim to ensure that certified professionals remain up-to-date and proficient in their field of expertise. They promote ongoing professional development, help maintain the credibility and relevance of the certification, and provide assurance to employers, clients, and the general public that certified professionals continue to meet the required standards.