How to Increase Your CE Program’s Recertification Rate

How to Increase Your CE Program’s Recertification Rate

September 21, 2017 Recertification 0
student studying at laptop with pen and paper.

You must make it easy for people who complete your training to re-certify with your program.

You can sell your certification program once, but what happens to your users when their certification expires?

Do they drop off the face of the earth, never to be seen or heard from again?

Or do they keep coming back for more?

For some industries, ongoing certification is a requirement. For others, it’s an option.

And if your users don’t have to be certified with your program, the best way to build loyalty is to maintain a relationship with your recipients, even after they finish your program.

Here’s how to keep the connection alive so your users will be sure to return when it’s time to re-certify...

Be clear about their certification expiry date.

When your learners first take your course, make sure they’re aware of when their certification expires.

Certification periods vary depending on your industry, so you may have set parameters to work with.

But if you’re offering a course of your own design, it’s up to you to determine how long your certification is valid for.

There are many very good reasons for setting an expiry date on your certification program. You may want to limit access to course material to a set time to prevent others from stealing your course or sharing their login credentials.

Or you may be aware of changing industry standards, in which case the materials in your course may grow old after a certain point.

You may just want an opportunity to resell a new and improved version of your course.

Whatever the reason, the first step toward encouraging recertification is to ensure your users know they will need to do it at some future date.

Let your users know before they enroll, and include the expiry date on their certificate. That way, your most proactive learners can keep track and be ready to enroll when the time comes.

Let learners know about course improvements.

As we said, certification expires for good reason. Standards change, technology improves, industries evolve, and what was true a few years ago no longer holds weight.

Beyond that, we all tend to forget things.

Regular certification is an important way for many industries to retest their employees and ensure that everyone still knows the rules.

One way to increase interest in recertification with your program is to let your current recipients know what you’ve done to make it better since the last time they took your course.

When there’s something new to learn, recertification feels less like a bureaucratic chore and more like an opportunity for self-improvement and professional advancement.

Send reminders as recertification approaches.

It’s easy for your learners to lose track of dates. Even with the expiration date printed on the certificate, many of your recipients will forget to sign up unless you remind them.

Fortunately, this is some real low-hanging fruit. In fact, it’s so obvious that we’ve made it one of our automated features.

If you know when your learners’ recertification deadlines are coming up, you can send out an email in advance to remind them to re-certify.

Just remember, depending on what they have to do to meet recertification requirements, they may need time to pull paperwork together.

Help learners understand the requirements.

Are there any prerequisites your learners must meet in order to re-certify?

Have you developed extra material, such as micro content or a webinar, that they can use to prepare for recertification?

Do they need to assemble any documentation or earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through an additional course?

For instance, some industries provide CEU credits for attending certain events or conferences, but they usually require learners to provide supporting documents as proof. These can be great opportunities for learners, but it can be a nuisance to dig up old conferences passes if the event was some time ago.

Be proactive about reminding your recipients to track their CEUs. If you offer any events that may qualify, or if you know of any industry conferences that your recipients might attend, you can email your learners beforehand to keep track of their registration.

Contact learners after their certification expires.

If one of your recipients allows their certification to lapse, it’s not necessarily a sign that they’re not interested in your program.

It could be that they got busy, missed your earlier reminders, or weren’t able to round up their paperwork in time.

It’s well worth your time to check in with these users to see if there’s anything you can do to move their recertification process forward.

They may just need another reminder from you to nudge them toward enrollment. Or they might appreciate a list of upcoming opportunities for them to earn CEUs.

Pay attention to your metrics.

If you’re noticing problems with your recertification rate, go back to your user data to diagnose the problem.

Is your struggle with enrollment or with the program itself? Do you notice a point in your program were users tend to drop out, or are they simply not signing up?

A problem with enrollment could be addressed by adjusting the dates of your reminder emails. If you send them out too early, recipients may not sign up right away. Too late, and they may not have enough time to gather their requirements.

Or it could have to do with frequency. Too many emails and your users may become irritated; not enough and they could miss an important deadline.

On the other hand, students dropping out of your program indicates a more serious problem.

You may need to add some additional course information, or break it down into shorter segments. The best way to find out is to pay attention to what the numbers are telling you.

Help your learners help you.

You want your certificate recipients to come back to your program.

The best way to do that (besides offering an excellent course to begin with) is to help them out along the way.

Do what you can to remove any barriers to enrollment. Make the process as painless as possible. And send timely reminders so that your learners don’t miss their deadlines. You’ll see your recertification rate improve, and your business along with it.

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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