Fair or unfair, we live in a world where credentials matter. You can have years of experience and be eminently qualified, but more often than not, your opportunities to demonstrate those attributes are limited by the credentials that you bring to the table.
Employers need a reliable way to evaluate potential candidates. They want their hiring and promotion decisions to be legally defensible, financially sound and to reflect well on the company. Customers want to feel that their money has been spent wisely. Peers and co-workers benefit by association, because your credentials raise their own ambitions. They see and experience the advantages of belonging to an elite group.
Certification fulfills all these needs – as well as ensuring that your skills remain on par with the best in the industry. From a cost-to-benefit standpoint, it is one of the best career decisions that a security or investigative professional can make.
Simply put – if you want other people to take you seriously, you must first take yourself seriously. And taking yourself seriously involves meeting the expectations of the aforementioned publics. You do that by developing your skills and knowledge to an industry standard.
Accreditation from ASISFor security professionals, the best standard is certification by ASIS International as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), a Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) or a Physical Security Professional (PSP). While there are similar groups that offer more skill-specific accreditation, the ASIS programs are the best-known and most widely accepted standard of security excellence in the world.
Readers of Security Magazine are already familiar with the benefits of certification. For the new people in our industry – or for those readers who have been pondering whether a CPP is right for you – allow me to share some personal insight.
I have been involved in security and investigation work for more than two decades. For the first sixteen years, I managed contract security and detective agencies with little thought of professional development. Like many of my peers, I met once a month with a local professional group, and volunteered my time on industry regulation that affected my little corner of the world. In a word, my career was going nowhere.
Turning the CornerMy one nod toward professional growth was an ongoing membership in ASIS. Finally, in 2003, I decided to test my mettle and sat for the examination. Within one year of certification, and by taking advantage of the career-development resources offered by ASIS, I’d applied for, and been offered a job at the world-famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. At Mayo, CPP certification is a condition of employment for all security specialists and managers. My application happened to be one of a handful that met the CPP requirement.
Emboldened by success, I began to explore other ways to build my résumé. Within two years, I’d added accreditations as an ASIS Physical Security Professional (PSP) and a Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) – becoming the fifth ASIS member, worldwide, to earn all three.
Certification PaysI quickly learned that certification pays off. You immediately come to the attention of other like-minded people in the industry. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to attend and lecture at ASIS Annual Seminars; been invited to participate in test-development sessions; traveled throughout the United States to learn from other CPPs; and this year, was honored to accept an appointment to the ASIS Professional Certification Board.
During the same time, I’ve been fortunate to meet and make friends with other security professionals from around the world. I’ve been able to develop a network of contacts to a point where one of my greatest knowledge resources is the membership in ASIS. Best of all, I have a great job and get to work alongside some of the most talented people in healthcare security. None of it would have been possible without that first certification.
The past six years have been a whirlwind of rewarding experiences and professional growth. And I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted maintaining my membership in ASIS or earning that CPP. It has opened doors that I never would have opened alone – and provided opportunities that I never could have imagined.
So, if you haven’t done so already, I strongly encourage you to experience the Power of Certification. Join the membership of ASIS; pass the CPP exam; volunteer your time, experiences, and knowledge; and begin building your professional future today.