6 Reasons Why Your Continuing Education Program Needs Digital Certificate Tracking

6 Reasons Why Your Continuing Education Program Needs Digital Certificate Tracking

September 14, 2017 Continuing Education 0
Shelves of black and white numbered binders.

Never lose track of your certificates.

How do you store and manage your certificates?

If you’re like many CE providers, you probably have several spreadsheets of data to help you keep track of certificates and recipients. And if this is the case, you probably know how complicated and messy this system can be.

In order to maintain your program, you need a good certification tracker. This is a piece of software that helps you link specific certificates with their individual recipients.

Without a certification tracker, you won’t be able to verify what individuals hold certification through your institution, or which certificates belong to which recipients.

In short, it’s a pretty crucial piece of software.

If your program doesn’t have a tracker as part of its certification management system, here are the top 6 reasons why you should start using one as soon as possible.

1. You can manage updates more effectively.

Many CE programs need to make updates to their certificates at some point or another.

Maybe they need to change the activation and expiration period of a particular type of certification, or they only need to make a change to an individual’s license.

For many CE programs, these updates are time consuming and tedious. Program administrators have to update several files, from the certificate itself to the program database. And an error in any of these entries can prompt further updates in the future.

But what if you only had to manage an update in one place for those changes to affect the rest of your records?

Or what if you could bulk manage the updates, so that you could edit multiple certificates at once?

Your administrators have one fewer task to manage, and your users get their updated certificate more efficiently.

2. You need to keep accurate records.

Record keeping isn’t just about attaching a name to a number on a certificate. It’s also about keeping a change record of all the updates along the way, and ensuring that that record is consistent across data bases.

As it is, managing updates across multiple spreadsheets increases the likelihood of error.

Let’s say a recipient changes their name and requests an updated certificate. You make the correction in one spread sheet, but not in the other.

Or what if an employer requests validation using the recipient’s previous name?

If you haven’t kept a record showing the changes you made, you won’t be able to validate the certificate. Both of these scenarios can have serious repercussions for your users—and by extension, your business.

3. Revoke and reissue with ease.

Some professional certifications are based on an employee’s position within a company. This means that they may lose certification if they leave a company, in which case their certificate will need to be revoked.

Back in the days of paper certificates, revoking certification required some extra steps to ensure a recipient couldn’t continue passing off their credentials as valid. But with digital certificates and tracking software, you can manage the process instantly.

Or what if you need to reissue certification to an individual or a group?

Industry standards change, and it may be necessary to suspend certification until an individual complies with new protocols. Managing these updates becomes much more efficient with the right software in place.

4. It makes your certificates harder to fake.

If you aren’t tracking your certificates, then anyone with a working knowledge of Photoshop can forge their credentials.

This can seriously hurt the integrity of your program.

The fake certification industry is unfortunately alive and well.

Just a quick Google search yields dozens of results for businesses that offer forged credentials for any number of documents, including professional licensing and educational diplomas. Some of them even offer customized certificates with embossed seals.

Needless to say, this can pose a threat to your business, particularly as your program becomes more valuable. Certification tracking can help prevent theft by making replication more difficult.

5. Validation increases value.

Validation isn’t just about protecting your business from fraud, it’s also about providing value to your users.

When your learners buy certification from you, they need to be able to prove that their certification is legitimate. Because of the threat posed by fake certificates, most businesses and institutions want to be able to verify where an individual’s certification comes from.

Certification tracking makes it easy for them to confirm certification credentials with your institution.

And good certification management software can provide a 3rd party portal for institutions to verify certificates coming from your program, without having to contact you. This reduces the burden on your customer services, and adds convenience to your users.

6. You will know when learners must recertify.

Most certificates expire after a set period.

Depending on the certification field, some industries require recertification every year, or three years, or five. Whenever that time runs out, you want to ensure that your certificate recipients renew with your program.

However, marketing recertification is next to impossible if you aren’t keeping track of certification and expiry dates. And even if you have those expiry dates recorded in a spreadsheet somewhere, how do you know when to remind one of your certified users unless you check yourself?

You can use certification tracking software to resolve this problem.

Instead of relying on your own memory to track down and notify recipients of their impending recertification, you can program a reminder email to go out as the expiry date draws near.

You can boost your recertification rate without having to lift a finger.

Can your continuing education program survive without a certification tracker?

Certification tracking is something your program can’t do without. It facilitates program management, reduces user error, and cuts down on fraud.

In the process, you spend less time administering your program, your users have fewer requests to bring to your customer service department, and employers and institutions can validate credentials with ease.

All of this increases the value of your program while also cutting down on the costs of administration.

If that’s not a win for everyone involved, we don’t know what is.


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Author Bio

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of SimplyCertify. Justin has spent the last decade consulting individuals and Fortune 500 companies on how to get the most out of their continuing education programs.  Twitter | LinkedIn