Value drives demand for programs

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

More companies are asking security personnel for a higher level of commitment by requiring staff to hold specific certifications.
Approximately 55 percent of security professionals are required to have certifications as part of their employment, according to new research from Security Director News. But what those exact certifications are vary greatly as 11 percent require the CPP designation, 11 percent look toward association certifications and 11 percent of businesses ask for completed International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety's certification. Nearly 27 percent of readers identified other programs including those offering facility security officer, state public safety, certified protection officer and certified lodging security director certifications.
John White, manager of security services for Enloe Medical Center, said he requires all security officers to complete IAHSS certification and has implemented similar programs at previous healthcare facilities as well.
"All officers are required to obtain the basic certifications within six months of hire as part of their job requirements," White said. "I feel these certifications bring a higher level of professionalism to our workplace."
Dennis Haskins, director of corporate security with Astellas Pharma Technologies, said his company does not require certifications, but obtaining the CPP is strongly recommended.
In an interview with Security Director News, Ed McDonough, chair of ASIS International's PCB board and director of global security for Tyco Fire & Security, said certification brings credibility to the market.
"On a personal level, it is great achievement," he said. "It is a sense of being competent in your knowledge of the security industry."
Of total survey respondents, 74 percent of industry professionals hold industry certifications regardless if their organization requires it. Why? More than 47 percent value the educational aspect, 39 percent see it as a way to secure advancement opportunities and 36 percent said it adds to job security.
Although there are proven benefits to obtaining such designations, industry professionals do have reservations. The most common concern voiced was value and who perceives that value, as well as the cost associated with keeping current with these initiatives.
But benefits can very well outweigh costs. McDonough said there is a direct correlation between certifications and annual salary increases.
"I know a number of people that have been promoted or some companies began to require certifications in the job," he said. We are seeing that as a positive recognition of these certifications."