First off, I understand that “everyone’s doing it” – that is, getting their Foundation certification. I mean, who doesn’t want CF.APMP after their name, right? According to Rick Harris at the 2017 APMP Bid & Proposal Con (June, New Orleans), there are 8,299 Foundation-level certified members (or as Rick said, “Let’s round that up to 8,300.”) Of those, 810 are Practitioner certified. Now I don’t do math, but I believe that’s less than 10 percent. So why are so few going for that next level?

Are there no additional benefits to upping your certification? Will you get a promotion or raise? Is it too much trouble or too hard or too intimidating?

We have all read the benefits of certification on the APMP website. But how do these translate into REAL LIFE scenarios? I think it all depends on what YOU want to get out of it. If you are looking for instant recognition for your experience and capabilities, think again. Employers are not always able to accommodate “on-demand” promotions or raises, nor are they prone to heaping on the accolades. In some instances, they may not even recognize the benefits of “yet another certification.”

If you have these expectations, you may be sorely disappointed. You need to want this for yourself. Complete the Practitioner level to show yourself that you have “what it takes” to excel, to lead. Let it confirm that you really dohave valuable proposal knowledge. This feeling will instill a renewed sense of confidence and competence in your daily work. These qualities are what will ultimately lead to career advancement and recognition…not the certification itself.

So if you’re thinking about going for Practitioner, think first about what you want to get out of it…and what you’re willing to put into it. Research the requirements. Start gathering your documentation. Draft your PPAQ. Identify additional experience and knowledge you need to fill the gaps. Take more training. Do some self-study. Find a mentor. Take a Practitioner preparation workshop. Talk to your employer. Talk to colleagues who are pursuing Practitioner. Most of all – do not be afraid of reaching for this worthwhile goal. Do it for yourself…the rest will follow.