Certification as a Training Tool or Goal
By Robert O'Halloran Professor & Director, Hospitality Management, East Carolina University | March 17, 2013
Professional development, training and education are constant in today's competitive marketplace for businesses and their employees remain current. Many professions require ongoing development for its members and in some cases resulting in professional certification.
For example, professions such as education, music, law, technology, and accounting have required professional certifications in their field for many years. Notably, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) has been a hallmark certification for anyone working at a public accounting firm and given the state of our tax system, the CPA will continue to be an important designation.
Professionalism has always been a point of concern for the hospitality industry. We are a field of service and specialty businesses that attracts entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and no barriers to entry into the industry. Certification can be one such tactic to combat a perceived lack of standards.
Certification is saying that an individual has met the standards for being a professional (Tuley, 2006). One can argue that even the most highly qualified individual's needs to be certified as a gesture of solidarity with the profession as whole (Hadfield, 2004). The issue for an organization and its training and education efforts is; does a hospitality certification provide value to its business and its employees?
The hospitality industry requires that its employees, both management and staff have current managerial, technical and service skills. For example, many organizations in the food service sector have incorporated certifications such as ServSafe Food Safety and ServSafe Alcohol into their training and or professional development programs.
As other segments of the hospitality industry continue to grow and evolve certifications for all segments of the hospitality industry including lodging have been developed and offered for industry application.