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Every aspect of the economy these days seems to be driven by a need for accreditation. From the highest level of organizations becoming internationally recognized down to a single person’s career options, the level of accreditation the organization or person has often dictates success. While a master’s degree or high level of accreditation isn’t explicitly necessary to go far in a profession, it’s become significantly harder to make it in the traditional business world without these certifications. Just take, for example, the research that has come out following the economic collapse of 2007. The only demographic of people to see a net growth in the job market are those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Those with only a high school education have seen their job prospects dwindle. This is a big turnaround from the economy most people over 40 remember. It used to be just finishing high school was a one way ticket to the middle class, but no longer.
How did this all come to be? Why do workers and the highest achieving laboratories all seek out these time consuming certifications when they can probably find success without them? Because the competition in the business world has grown at an exponential rate over the past twenty or so years, specifically as the internet has grown more prevalent in our lives. Now it’s not enough to simply have a lab with a top of the line staff and capabilities. Now it’s also recommended that the lab obtain ISO 17025 accreditation as well. Have a bachelor’s in biology? That’s not going to be enough in this economy. If you want any of the high paying jobs in the sciences, you’ll need to earn your PhD.
Simply put, it’s harder these days to cut through all the noise. There are many bright, talented individuals and organizations out there. And now everyone is competing with everyone else from all around the globe. The only way to signal that you’re a cut above the rest is earning these internationally recognized accreditations. Take ISO 17025 as a standard for example. Laboratories use it as a quality system in order to regularly produce valid results. It is the globally recognized gold standard for labs that produce testing and calibration results. An accreditation body will award certified status to a lab that goes through the required processes and comes up with a documented quality management system. Earning this accreditation opens up many business possibilities for these laboratories.
Don’t let this discourage you, though. It’s not impossible to achieve a post-graduate degree like a PhD. You’ll find that the idea of going back to school is usually more intimidating than the act itself. Once you’re taking classes again you’ll see that it’s not so bad, and that your teachers are all in it to help you succeed, and that there are plenty of others just like you who have succeeded. If you’re going back to school for, say, a Degree in Security Analysis & Portfolio Management since you are wanting to start a career as an investment banker, you have the option of going to a conventional campus as well as an online school. Simply making the decision is a huge step in and of itself. Not only will it secure a stable job in the finance world but will also produce a better income.
The same idea applies to individuals looking to get ahead in their careers. More people than ever are graduating with bachelor’s degrees (though it’s still less than 30 percent in America) and there needs to be some other way to signal competence to an employer. Extra certifications, including postgraduate degrees, display a high level of knowledge and the discipline needed to devote a large chunk of time to a task. It will be interesting to see how our credential-based society evolves over time as more and more people earn these accreditations. One thing is for sure; if you’re looking to compete, you need them.
James Daniels is a social worker who is very passionate about volunteering. He also enjoys playing Lacrosse with his local league.