The Issue of Certification

There is no question that a recognized Executive Protection Certification is what the industry needs. But I get the impression that many of those working in the profession or trying to work in the profession do not understand the concept of a Professional Certification.

Many practitioners want a standard, but they want the standard to meet the curriculum of the training program that they attended – that is not how it works.

In almost all other professions, certifications are awarded by a third-party, standard-setting organization. The candidate is certified when they pass an assessment process indicating mastery of a defensible set of standards. The standards are developed through comprehensive job analysis, resulting in an outline of a particular profession’s required knowledge and skills. Along with the knowledge and skill requirements, some level of professional experience will be required.

After initial Certification, the awarding organization requires proof of continuing education (often called continuing education units, or C.E.U.s) to maintain professional standards.

So, the question becomes, what standard-setting organization does most all other industries use? And, by a wide margin, the most recognized credentialing organization is – The American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ANSI encompasses nearly every industry; the Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations and 30 million professionals worldwide. The key phrase is “nearly every industry” – one of the few industries not certified by ANSI – is Executive Protection.

Question number two – Is there a need and a market? – It has always been the opinion of ISDA that the job market wants and will support a certification that meets standards set by respected industry and government organizations. Those who supply job opportunities welcome a certification that withstands the scrutiny of the corporate, legal, and insurance community. Nonetheless, there are still global job markets in the protection business where Certification is not a significant concern.

For those who may not know of ANSI – this is from their website – “It is ANSI’s mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and safeguarding their integrity.”

This is how the Certification Process works. Looking at the ANSI website, they state – “ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (A.N.S.) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (S.D.O.s) and approving their documents as American National Standards (A.N.S.).”

Until the profession takes itself seriously, you can’t expect the market to take the industry seriously. So, this needs to be said – we suggest that all serious practitioners put their egos – training program loyalty and self-interest aside and support these organizations.