Is It Time To Get Certified? - Management
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Is It Time To Get Certified?

Written By Mary Sedor

Article Date: 04-01-2006
Copyright (C) 2006 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Certification. The word has become very common in today’s society – search Google and you’ll find more than 546 million entries. From certified technicians and managers to certified used cars, it seems everyone and everything is becoming certified.

Why? Because certification indicates a level of professionalism and guarantees a standard has been met. Judith Hale, author of "Performance-Based Certification," says certification programs are designed to "enhance the stature of a role or position, to promote continuous improvement, to increase productivity and to maintain employee skills and knowledge."Certification recognizes industry professionals for the completion of required position-related training and acknowledges their skills.

The AED Foundation recently introduced another AED membership benefit – certification for parts and service managers through AED University, the Foundation’s continuing education program. (The Foundation will introduce certification for branch and rental managers in the late 2006.)

"The certification program is being met with great enthusiasm," says Carol Schrader, Director of Development for The AED Foundation. "The AED Certified Parts and Service Management Programs give the participants recognition within their companies, and it gives the company credibility to have certified managers."

By offering management certifications, The Foundation is encouraging the industry to support employee development and challenging the industry to seek a higher level of expertise.

"Certification programs serve as a way for companies to compete for and retain competent staff, establish uniform performance standards, raise the level of core competencies across the organization and imply a multi-disciplined approach to solving complex problems," says Hale.

"We want to create an awareness in our industry of the importance and the advantages of employee development," says Kari Bogdan, the Foundation’s Manager of Continuous Education.

The Foundation’s 2006 President Don Shilling says certification has a three-fold effect on a dealership.

"Certification contributes to excellence in a dealer’s operational areas," he says. "In addition, it facilitates needed continuous training to ensure current knowledge and skill levels, and it reinforces the concepts of career path and advancement. And, certification provides managers with a tangible recognition of their expertise.

"It instills a sense of pride," says Shilling. "Believe it or not, just a simple certification program combined with your willingness to have them participate in these educational offerings shows employees you care about their careers and their futures. Employee retention becomes the payback."

Dealerships, which typically have positions with similar roles, certification can be especially important.

"Certification is being used to specify job requirements, identify skill gaps and develop individual performance improvement plans," says Hale.

Certification Requirements

The process to become certified through the Foundation begins with a Personal Development Plan, which outline a manager’s educational path. The first step is the completion of a Basic Skills Assessment, which can be accessed with a username and password on the AED University website at Managers taking the Basic Skills Assessment specifically to become certified should contact Bogdan.

"It’s important we hear from those managers seeking certification," she says, "because we modify their personal development plans to meet those needs. There are certain courses that should be taken in a specific order to achieve certification."

The Foundation is approved by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) to award CEUs (Continuing Education Units).

"The Foundation’s approval by IACET signifies that Foundation offerings have met a rigorous set of standards for design, delivery, testing and evaluation," says Shilling.

Certification for parts and service managers through AED University requires:

  • A minimum of three years of experience as a parts or service manager
  • Current employment at an AED member company.
  • A minimum of 44 hours of formal training (4.4 CEUs) within the past five years in required areas of management training: People, Operations, Customer and Financial Management.
  • A score of 80 percent or higher on the Certification Examination
  • Written recommendation from the applicant’s supervisor or other appropriate company manager/supervisor
The 44 hours of formal training can be met using AED self-study courses, AED seminars, and sessions at the AED University Managers Conference held each year.

In addition, managers can submit previous training courses for credit. Training courses through dealers, manufacturers, and public or private educational institutions are also acceptable, however this training must meet learning objectives as specified by the Foundation, and must be verified with proper documentation. Bogdan is also working with manufacturers to develop a list of courses that qualify for certification.

"We would like to recognize the training managers have already completed when developing their certification programs," says Bogdan.

For more information, contact Carol Schrader at 630-468-5113 or at  

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