Lesson Plan

Kick-start your career with certifications

last Month, I visited Washington, D.C., to attend my industry association’s premier event, Association Media & Publishing’s Annual Conference. While there, I attended the association’s Excel Awards, which honors the best work from the association publishing world. Receiving an Excel Award is one of the greatest achievements you can attain in this profession, and that feather in your cap can add great credibility to your résumé and LinkedIn profile. On top of that, there’s a plaque that you can proudly display in your office. The award leaves no doubt that you’re a winner.

Associations, in general, have their own respective award or recognition programs, and ASQ is no exception. The difference with ASQ, though, is that you get something more valuable and sustaining than a shiny plaque—you get knowledge. And with knowledge comes power. That is what ASQ certifications are meant to do.

Earning ASQ certifications can be challenging. I’ve heard from readers who were discouraged and stressed, or who simply gave up after trying and failing a couple of times. Failing isn’t fun, especially when you feel you should know the subject matter like the back of your hand.

This month, we’ve got your back. In "A Quick Study," learn about how project management techniques can be put to use in building a study plan to help you pass a certification exam. In particular, using a prioritization matrix, Bloom’s Taxonomy and a work breakdown structure can be great tools to organize and focus on the material you must know.

Author Kristy Kistner writes that this extra effort can pay big dividends at the end of the study process, just like it did for her. "Being adequately prepared helped me overcome test anxiety and feel comfortable on exam day."

Two other feature articles in this issue make the case for pursuing certifications: In "Clear Pathway," the authors answer commonly asked questions for those who may be hesitant about investing time and effort into these career-advancing opportunities. In "Pulling It All Together," the author covers many of the ins and outs of professional certifications—in particular, ASQ’s offerings—and the payoff that waits for those individuals who achieve these special recognitions.

In related news, ASQ recently announced plans to transition its certification testing to a computer-based process. So starting in September, no more paper and pencils—just computers. The change will allow for quicker results, enhanced security, additional testing days and something that’s always music to the ears of quality professionals: a more streamlined process. Visit http://asq.org/cbt to study up on more details about this exciting development. 

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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