Can Accreditation Boost Your Career? ABCs validate the strategic value of accreditation
Recently released findings of an international research study with accredited business communicators (ABCs) indicate they clearly recognize the value of strategic communication practices to organizations and to the enhancement of the communication profession. The study findings also provide insight into the high value accredited members, their supervisors and clients place on IABC’s credential program.
The study, sponsored by IABC/Chicago and L.C. Williams & Associates Research Group in Chicago in late 2007 and endorsed/sanctioned/approved by IABC Research Foundation, was conducted with accredited members, their supervisors and clients. It was undertaken to identify and understand the perception of the value of accreditation from ABCs, their employers and the communication profession.
“For the first time, we have an understanding of what employers and clients find of value in accreditation. One of the most important findings is that employers and clients recognize the skills and knowledge accredited communication professionals bring to their organizations,” said Anna Willey, ABC, chair of IABC’s Accreditation Council. Forty-two percent of supervisors said that since becoming accredited, ABCs apply new knowledge and skills to their work.
“Accreditation can also provide that differentiator for a communicator in their work. That’s an amazing finding to help all communicators in their professional development. differentiates communicators because they apply the strategic communication process to their work,” Willey said. More than half of the clients who responded to the survey said the main factor that differentiates an accredited business communicator from a person who is not accredited is that ABCs use the strategic communication process. Clients also say that ABCs show positive outcomes and the strategic value of activities.
ABCs support these findings, with more than half of the 356 respondents who said since achieving accreditation, they now ensure evaluation, measurement and monitoring are part of their plans (one of the components of strategic communication planning), and 44 percent said they now use the strategic communication planning process. In addition, 51 percent of ABCs say they now take a more strategic approach to activities and process and link communication and business strategy.
ABCs add credibility, respect
Another key finding—agreed on by ABCs, clients and supervisors—is that accredited professionals increase credibility to their departments and organizations and increase respect within their industries. In addition, ABCs say accreditation enhances the communication profession because it sets a professional global standard and it increases credibility to the profession. Other highly ranked values are that accreditation sets ethical standards, reinforces the role strategic communication plays in achieving organizational goals and increases respect for the profession.
The accredited business communicator designation offers personal value as well. Seventy-nine percent of accredited members said it enhances their resumes. Large majorities also report that accreditation increases their confidence and personal credibility and gains them recognition from their peers.
“For many individuals, IABC’s accreditation program is the gateway to learning and advancing the practice of strategic communication management,” Willey said. “The skills and results that employers value are ones that ABCs already have proven they can deliver.”
There are many benefits to pursuing accreditation through IABC.
IABC has provided the following video to learn more about accreditation and the value it holds for those who have obtained the ABC title. In the video, a recent survey of accredited business communicators is discussed. An executive summary of the surveys findings is available.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation tests your ability to plan, implement and measure communications. To qualify to become an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC), you must have a minimum of five years of experience in the communication profession and a bachelor’s degree, or a total of nine years of experience and/or post-secondary education. To become accredited, you need to submit an application, a portfolio demonstrating a range of communication projects for which you’ve been responsible, and you must pass a written and oral exam. For more details see:http://www.iabc.com/abc/
There is a plethora of resources available for those considering or in the process of accreditation.
Accreditation Month is October of each year, submit your application in October for a chance to win prizes.
It’s important to remember that once you decide to become accredited you don’t have to go through the process alone. Members who have earned their ABC are often available to serve as your mentor.
If you are an ABC and interested in signing up to be an ABC mentor, you may fill out the form and send it to IABC headquarters.