The Stakes Rise When a Raise is at Stake


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There are thousands of certifications, accreditations, and licenses that can help professionals advance their careers. Some certifications simply exist to provide opportunities for continued professional learning and development, but more often than not, obtaining a certification can result in a higher salary or better chance for promotion. In some occupations, employers won’t even consider hiring individuals without a specific set of certifications.

According to the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG), college-educated individuals with a certification or license make 14% more than those without, on average. When looking at individual positions within industries, that number can increase dramatically. Below is a list of five of the top occupations that often see a significant salary boost with a certification, according to Monster.com:

  • Certified public accountants (CPAs) make 35% more than accountants without certification
  • Financial analysts with a Chartered Financial Analyst certification typically make 35% more than analysts without a CFA.
  • Insurance actuaries certified as Fellows of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) make 31% more than those who do not hold a certification.
  • IT systems engineers holding a CCIE certification can make 27% more than those not certified
  • Crisis counselors certified as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) can expect to make 15% more than those without the certification.

Certification testing in a professional setting can be make or break for an individual’s career, so there can be no room for error. Because of that, the programs, courses, and exams that lead to a certification are often put through rigorous standards. The organizations and associations responsible for these certifications make it their mission to ensure the integrity of their programs. By putting their name and stamp of approval on a certification, these organizations put their own reputations on the line. Therefore, they go to extreme measures to protect their programs, often spending tens of thousands of dollars to build and validate the tests. After all, a certification is only as good as the value placed in its testing mechanism

Due to demand and need, many of these certifying bodies have used digital technology to allow individuals to take courses and exams online. While going online allows more people the opportunity to be certified, it also opens an entirely new set of influences that could negatively affect the integrity of the certification. This requires an even larger investment in the validity and security of both courses and tests. Without proper exam security, online test-takers could take advantage of the situation in multiple ways:

  • Pay someone else to take their test.
  • Copy questions from the test and disseminate them online.
  • Use unpermitted materials such as notes, books, smartphones, or secondary computers to search for answers.

These certifying bodies spend a substantial amount of time and money on their programs, but so do the professionals trying to obtain a certification. One cheater can undermine the entire certification program. Put yourself in the certifying organization’s shoes – cheaters would not only damage your position and prestige, but would also cause substantial financial damage as well (remember how much money can be spent to create and validate a test?). Now think about this from the perspective of professionals who honorably achieved their certifications – finding out about a cheater in your program would not only cause emotional distress but could also cheapen the certification you just invested your time and money in with the hope that it would advance your career.

With so much at stake for these certifying bodies and the professionals electing to participate in their programs, it would be irresponsible to not take as many precautions as possible. One great way to protect everyone’s investment and drastically reduce the chances of any of the above scenarios occurring is to utilize a proven, secure online proctoring solution. A good proctoring service will authenticate the test-taker’s identity, ensure no unpermitted materials are used during the test, take measures to eliminate the ability for a test-taker to screenshot or copy the test questions, stop (and report) test-taker behaviors that could be indicative of cheating, and provide technical support.

ProctorU is proud to be the trusted partner of many organizations and associations responsible for administering certification programs. Having proctored more than 4 million exams, we have a commitment to the strongest possible data security and the highest possible academic integrity.