When I was actively involved in the insurance industry working with employers, I used to loathe going to conferences that offered boring "recycled" certificates to attendees. What bothered me more than anything else was that the topics were "stale", and the instructors were "boring." There was nothing new or innovative with these certification courses.
You couldn't take away anything of value. There was also no real accountability to ensure that attendees were actually retaining the information they were receiving at these conferences. All an attendee needed to do to receive a certification was pay the fee, show up, and survive until the end of the conference.
Sometimes my colleagues and I would point out the absurdity of these types of certifications by counting the number of attendees that were sleeping during presentations or working on their smartphone. It was just about going through the motions; and in the end, these certifications didn't really hold any value because everyone knew that anyone can get a piece of paper after sitting through that course for 60 minutes.
Holding this type of certification didn't mean that you were competent, special, or at the cutting edge of the industry. How many of you have sat through an hour long certification course and come back inspired with new ideas and concepts to implement? You really can't accomplish much in such a short amount of time. What's the point of sitting through basic one hour presentations of stuff you already know to get a certificate you put in your filing cabinet?
We all know that these certificates don't help you get a promotion or assist you with career advancement.There is always a better way. This is why I am very excited that the Corporate Health and Wellness Association has finally launched the Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and The Certified Corporate Wellness Provider designations.
These certification programs are aimed at improving education, communication, providing transparency, and equipping professionals with a competitive edge in a rapidly growing industry. The certification requires eight-hours of educational training/classes (plus coursework and reading a manual), followed by an online exam - which can be completed in person at our 4th Annual Corporate Wellness Conference, taking place October 24-26th, 2012 on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Beach, FL.
These certifications will have testing requirements. The days of merely showing up and receiving certification are over. Employers want to be able to know with certainty that their employees - as well as potential hires - are truly knowledgeable of the industry's best practices. Because the landscape of our industry is ever changing, we have incorporated within our certification a yearly continuing education requirement so that professionals can stay current with each and every one of the best practices as they evolve.
The continuing education requirements ensure employers that those who have received the Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and The Certified Corporate Wellness Provider designations are always at the cutting edge of innovation in wellness and best practices.
The days of using the same lesson plans year after year have finally passed; each year the continuing education courses will be brought up to date and current. We are not just regurgitating past lesson plans. When we launched a soft-release of these certification designations a couple of weeks ago, we were astounded at the size of the response - especially since we had not officially launched the designation.
It is clear this type of program has been long in coming. The best part is letting industry professionals choose their learning method - whether they choose to certify online or in person. One huge benefit of completing the certification training in person - as opposed to online - is that attendees will be able to sit face-to-face with industry leaders, as well as participate in active learning sessions.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with other professionals within the industry and share best-practice(s) experiences. It should also be noted that those people who attend the conference will have the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A at the conclusion of each session.
One of the most alluring reasons for professionals to obtain these certifications is that they will help them stand out from the rest of the crowd. Our certification provides an excellent career building designation that will give recipients a competitive edge over other candidates working - or trying to obtain work - in the industry. We permit designees to list their designation on their business cards, as well as on their social media connection sites (i.e. Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
We also list our graduates on our searchable association website so that employers and professionals will be able to find certified specialists in their city, state, and country (should employment/business opportunities become available). Graduates who pass their exam(s) with a score of 90% (or higher) will be listed on our association's Honor Roll; they will also be featured in our magazine (Corporate Wellness Magazine).
The best part... All of this can be reimbursable by your employer. Spaces are limited and filling up fast. If you are interested in registering - or learning more about registration - please visit our website at www.CorporateWellnessConference.com.
Remember, this certification is anything but a piece of paper; it is a way to raise the bar of our industry while simultaneously providing professionals with a designation that provides professional stability in these tempestuous times. The question isn't, "why should you do this?" The question is, "what are you waiting for?" Because when it comes to opportunities like this, you're either on the bus or underneath it.