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July 17, 2012

What is the Value of a Professional Designation?

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Over a recent holiday, I was cleaning out my home office and found some pins and jewelry associated with one of my professional designations.  Seeing them, my daughter commented, "Wow, that's real gold!  I bet they're worth over $200 apiece!"  While laughing at her reaction, I also decided to post the following question on my blog.  "What is the true value of a professional designation (PMP, CPA, CLU, etc.), and why are they important / unimportant?

What my daughter did not know is that for me, the pins and jewelry represented the hundreds of hours learning curricula and taking exams and the exams I invested in achieving them; all in an attempt to advance my career and serve my clients better.  I also know it is possible to compute the expected life time income of a professional that completes a designation compared to one who does not.  And, I know that Net Expected Earning sets a provable value on a designation.  But, is it the best measure of a designation's value?

Questions: Do you encourage young professionals to take on the added burden of a professional designation?  How should we measure the value of attending educational and networking events sponsored by associations of professional designees? 

Do you think management consultants should seek designations in a specific vertical that they serve?

I'd like to see what you think the future of professional designations holds.  Are they really worth the effort?