Is a Professional Certification Worth It?

Fred Schenkelberg
4 min readJan 6, 2020

Is a Professional Certification Worth It?

The way we learn, prove our worth, and the nature of work are all changing. Professional societies are struggling to adjust to these changes. Universities and employers likewise are experimenting and exploring new ways to operate.

Over the past few months, I’ve received about a dozen inquiries on how to prepare for the ASQ Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) exam in order to obtain the ASQ CRE certification. Many also asked if I had a course available. Thus, I decided to run a live course (learn more at the live course page — note: if you see this after the course start date we’ll have a sign up for those interested in future classes).

The Changes Around Certifications

ASQ continues to offer a wide range of certifications, yet recent changes in the funding of divisions and sections have limited the availability of exam preparation classes. I’ve also found the body of knowledge for the CRE and CQE has fallen further behind current practices.

ASQ’s certifications continue to be a milestone market in one’s career based on mastery of a body of knowledge along with education and experience requirements. Some employers discount certifications given the outdated state of the body of knowledge and instead focus on the person’s demonstrated work prowess.

Universities and online MOOC’s (massive open online courses) now offer certification programs. These are becoming widely accepted by employers as evidence of one’s education background. The programs often bundle a sequence of courses with or without exit exams that allow you to gain recognizable documentation of the course work.

The labor market is tight, yet my professional network is not generating requests for candidates to fill reliability positions. Over the past 30 years, the ratio of requests for employment opportunities vs requests for qualified candidates has signaled shifts in the employment climate for reliability professionals. While this crude metric is by no means accurate, it suggests a slow down in demand going forward. Good reliability engineers will still find rewarding work, that is not changing, yet the demand seems to be slowing. A certification on…

Fred Schenkelberg

Reliability Engineering and Management Consultant focused on improving product reliability and increasing equipment availability.