Certification – Costs of Maintaining a Certification
The act of maintain a certification also has associated costs.
Some certifications require you to re-test every so many years (often four). That means that you have to budget for both the test itself and either the time to prepare to take the test or a refresh course. Keep in mind that the more technical the certification, the more things will change between tests. This will affect your prep time estimate or drive the need to go to a prep course. In either case, understand that the value of a second test to maintain your certification ensures that you still know and understand the subject sufficiently to be certified in it. Thus, certifications that require re-testing often maintain their value better than the ones that do not.
Some certifications require yearly dues to maintain your certified status. This practice helps to maintain the financial solvency of the certifying body. However, it does put you in the position to yearly decide whether the certification is giving you a value equivalent to the cost of the dues. If all the organization is doing for you is taking your money, I would suggest that may not be worth it. Consider any other opportunities that may come your way because of your certified status. Some “member” programs that go with the dues will give you discounts on programs or access to a group of experts. If you are availing yourself of such resources, by all means, pay the dues. However, be sure to think about WHY you’re paying the dues instead of just paying them.
Many certifications have a continuing education requirement. In other words, in order to maintain your certified status, you need to dedicate time and money to continuously educating yourself in your field. This can be a pain, as you must, at the end of every cycle (usually one year) demonstrate that you have been learning. If you are not good with time management, it can produce a rush to complete education before you lose your certification.
You can get around this problem by treating the process like the running of a marathon. Every week, you just make a small step towards your CPE goal, and by the end of the cycle, you should be well ahead of where you need to be. This not only fulfills the requirements, but continuously reinforces the thinking that the initial certification helped you to achieve. Of course, it is important to account for this accurately, but like all habits, this will improve with practice.
The costs of continuing education is governed by you. There are usually options for a variety of budgets, ranging from $10,000 training classes to free podcasts and webinars. Just keep your eye on the prize, and you should be fine.