There is a lot of debate about professional certification. Currently, the drive and motivation for facility security officers (FSO) and security specialists to become Industrial Security Professional (ISP) certified is still determined by them. There are few real requirements for security professionals to devote time, money and other valuable resource necessary to getting the ISP certification. NCMS is performing the monumental task of creating a credible and viable certification program, but the industry as a whole does not seem to buy in to the benefits. There are few job announcements and job positions that actually require the ISP Certification.
The Department of Defense has not recognized the ISP certification as a requirement, but has instead created a certification for their security employees called Security Professional Education Development Program (SPeD) (pronounced speed). Some agencies do require the CISSP, but none have specifically called out the ISP Certification.
Since contracts, regulations and jobs don’t require those protection classified information to have the ISP certification, why would anyone want to pursue such an aggressive campaign to learn NISPOM topics? Here are five of the many reasons a professional would seek certification:
- Become more attractive as an employee-If a certification requirement does not exist, the employee could work out an agreement with their supervisor. The supervisor would agree to challenge all employees to study for and take the ISP Certification exam. Once they pass, they would be eligible for promotions and raises if they remain in good standing.
- Become more attractive while bidding for contracts-A company with ISPs can leverage that they have “employees board certified to protect classified information.”
- Prepare for better opportunities-An ISP Certification can set one employee above the rest. Sometimes being the best may not be enough; you have to prove it. Knowledge, skills and abilities are believable and proven with board certification. Though certification may not be a requirement, it can give you that extra push during evaluations, raises or job interviews.
- Help others-According to NCMS, ISPs can serve as mentors and ISP Certification Exam proctors. The ISP also gives credibility for those of you who like to teach and train within your profession. Being certified opens doors for you to be a mentor and proctor and help others become certified.
- Consult-Speaking of proof and credibility, many of you are consultants, or have plans to become consultants. If you write, teach, consult, demonstrate or represent industrial security to clients and customers, the three letters ISP behind your name will cause your audiences to pay attention.
If you are waiting for someone to make you get certified, then keep waiting. Trends show that security certification is not going to be required anytime soon. However, if you want to be among the few industrial security professionals get your ISP Certification. Demonstrate that you are among professionals board certified to protect classified information.