Research Library

Future of Professional Certification

Universities will continue to change and even take on new forms to support the need for the development and application of knowledge and skills to pursue the public goods that justify professions.


Author(s): Katherine Chow, Francesca Mendoza and Dimity Kingsford Smith

In its most general sense, certification is a process by which a person masters certain skills and competencies in a field as assessed by an external body (usually a professional association or a related body) in a particular area.  The professional association certifies individual professional competence by its formal exams that test specific knowledge and skills. It ‘assures employers, customers, students, and the public that the certificate holder is competent and professional’.  This title concentrates on professional certification by existing and aspiring professional associations. Certification can often be an essential step in becoming a professional. There are several models of certification, discussed below.

This title discusses the following issues:

  • What is professional certification and what is its purpose?
  • The costs and benefits of professional certification;
  • The international harmonisation of certification standards; and
  • Future trends in professional certification.


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