Certification Matters 

By Diane Petras, CTIE, President of The Travel Institute

“I already know my job.  I don’t have time.”

If either of those statements sound familiar, I ask that you read this article and consider the many benefits of earning your certification. There is no better time than now to consider advancing your career during our Promote Your Professionalism event in July when certification scholarships are offered at a 50% savings.

Here are just a few of the benefits you can look forward to …

It is more than experience:  While there is no replacement for the education you receive from on-the-job experience, it is not the end of learning. Experience can make you strong in some areas, but not all, and certification brings new skills, ideas, and opportunities.  You don’t know what you don’t know, so try something new. I am reminded of this in our CTC AND CTIE chat rooms with comments like these from seasoned professionals:

  • Wish I had taken these courses last year! I learned so much about managing my team.
  • My company is implementing new software, and this course showed me how to deal with my frustrations. Really well done!
  • This comprehensive series was well delivered, and I have 10 legal pad pages of notes!
  • As CEO, I face complex leadership challenges, and these CTIE courses have helped.
  • I am going to make a workflow chart for my agents! Great idea!

It is a brand differentiator:  When customers inquire, employers interview or peers compare – the competition is stiff. But, if you are certified, and others are not, then you have a competitive advantage. It is a very powerful – and visible – way to set yourself apart from the travel hobbyists in our industry. Use it and promote it.  If you need help promoting your certification, we have tools for you, and we soon will offer a new way that showcases and explains your credentials to the outside world.

It is membership to an elite club:  Your credentials plug you into an exclusive community of insight and knowledge with others who have earned certification. When you are at a conference or networking event, seek them out, exchange business cards and use this peer group to build your business. If you are studying for certification, take advantage of study groups and test prep webinars. Stay connected to your classmates throughout your career. Networking is critical to personal growth and business development.

It builds confidence:  I remember asking a recent graduate how she felt after earning her CTA and she said “I just feel so much more confident in myself and feel good when I can help others in my office.”  When you make a commitment to yourself, put together a plan, work hard, and reach your goal, you gain confidence. It is one of those YES! moments, and that positive attitude spills over into all aspects of your life, and you may even notice new body language! Start using your power as soon as you graduate.

It makes you a better mentor:  First, you see one, then you become one, and then you teach one. Just like the CTA graduate mentioned above, you are in a better position to help others. Always remember who inspired you and do the same. Mentorship is a two-way street. No one learns more than the teacher, and the lessons you teach will remind you to take your own advice.

It sets you up for continuous learning:  Certification does not end when you graduate. It marks the beginning of ongoing learning. Maintaining your certification requires 10 Continuing Education Units every year. Taking the time to learn about a new region, country, or specialty in depth adds to your skill set and offerings to your clients. Remain curious and take every opportunity to learn something new. You will gain respect and admiration and be a model for success.

It launches your career:  Many career changers seek certification to get themselves established as travel professionals. They come from other industries where certification mattered, and they want the same benefits and status in their new careers. Additionally, certification helps those new to the industry build their business from the ground up.

It brings you more money:   Ah yes, the holy grail. Many of our students see earnings increase 20% or more after they graduate, and The Travel Institute’s recent industry survey confirms this trend (below).  When you learn more, you earn more. Certification builds the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to take risks, improve marketing, revise business plans and take action.

Make 2018 the “Year of You.”  Start now.