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Is Your Association Ready to Start a Digital Credentialing Program?

We recently hosted a webinar with industry experts titled, "How Digital Credentials Can Help Your Association Attract & Retain Members." We heard from leaders of professional associations about how creating a digital credentialing program, in addition to their learning offerings, helped grow membership and keep their members active. 

Debbie Amini, Director of Professional Development at the American Occupational Therapy Association, answers more of your questions from the live webinar below: 

Q: What if the certification requires continuing education for exmaple, the CPLP at ATD. How do you remove the badges if someone doesn't complete the requirements to keep the CPLP? 

A: Badges can be revoked and expiration dates can be set when they are issued. When a person earns a badge through AOTA, we set an expiration date of 5 years.  That means that in 5 years, although the badge will still show up on Facebook, LinkedIn or on a resume, if someone clicks on it, the platform will indicate that the badge has expired.  We also plan to have new courses available so that the person can renew by just taking a new course or two (they don’t have to re-take old courses).  With regards to being revoked, the same holds true, at this time the badge will not disappear, but if someone clicks on it, the platform will say that is has been revoked.

Q: Debbie mentioned the staff time (man hours) required to keep up with the curriculum and the badging process. Have you found that difficult to manage? Do you have wisdom on scaling? Sounds like you started with ten and expanded to 24 after some time.

A: We receive 2-10 requests per day.  The process of verification can range from 30-45 min so that is not a problem. Additionally, keeping up with curriculum can go smoothly and require less time if it is laid out will and work is done well ahead of time (i.e. create new courses before the badges are set to expire).

Scaling wisdom:  We have increased our badge offerings as we have created content that supports them.  Content selection is first because we have to meet the needs of our practitioners in the field.  If a topic is a good fit for a micro-credential, we will provide a badge and if not, we will not offer a badge for that topic.  Advice is to plan things out in advance—have your goals and criteria in place (business rules).

We went from 10 digital credentials to 24 within 3 years—16 are part of stacked sets so we have 14 topics. 

Q: Who is your accreditation body? 

A: Occupational Therapists have 2 credentials they must have to practice: they must be certified by the NBCOT (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy) and their state licensure board.  AOTA has OTs who take our courses are from all over the country and many from overseas.  We do not currently subscribe to an accrediting body, but our CE courses are accepted by NBCOT and the state boards. 

Q: Did you create parallel structure across programs for each level, to create consistency? 

A: I created a grid when setting up the first stacked course to get as close as possible to a parallel structure with regard to hours of content required to progress through levels.  That is why some topics have three levels and others have one or two.  When creating new courses I try to stick with the structure, but will also provide a badge if a course is of particular importance and contributes to the field.  For example, our new Enhance Medical Rehabilitation badge is based on a smaller number of course hours, but the course is very detailed and the content so important that I wanted to provide incentive.

If you're curious about starting your own digital credentialing program, please fill out the form below and we'll be in touch shortly: