When we first start looking for a job, it’s the latest academic qualification that we push forward. It could be engineering or management. A literature graduate or designing school major. But we live in a world where offbeat professional options are popular too. Great with the camera? Pick one up and click away – Candid photos, corporate events, pre-wedding shoots, Instagram posts – anything you like. Passionate about writing? Put your pieces together and pitch it to online/offline magazines. Good with social media marketing? You can start consulting with start ups and help them set up their online brand. Great with people and would want to train them? Become a trainer! Or should you? Let’s find out!
In a world of endless options of professionals to choose from, how do we pick the best ones? It’s harder if there are no stringent rules to qualify someone’s expertise. Like there are to, say, treat an ailment. Or design a house. Or calculate taxes. And that’s where a certification helps you stand out – at least till you build relevant experience to back you up.
WHAT IS A TRAIN THE TRAINER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM?
Learning a skill formally always adds to one’s knowledge and finesse. And Train The Trainer is a certification to help you become better at training skills, irrespective of your subject of training. A TTT helps you become an effective trainer by taking you through skills that a good trainer should have. Listening, probing, time management, responding, authority are some of the things I learnt in my certification program. You might cook very well but working with a chef and learning the skill sets from a professional will definitely give a more practical approach.
WHY TRAIN THE TRAINER CERTIFICATION?
Apart from learning a new skill formally, here are a few ways a training certification can help you:
1. It can give you a much needed leg up if you are just starting out in the training industry
2. Whether you are a fresher or moving to training from another profession, the training certification is your credential to apply for training assignments
3. A training certification tells your client that you’ve been exposed to the basic practices of being a good trainer.
4. The latest programs address the important area of marketing oneself as a trainer. These programs not just offer training skills but content making and selling skills too – the latter being important if you venture out as a freelancer.
5. Getting an advanced certification, like I did from IIM, Indore, not just adds to your credentials but also lends a new perspective to what we already know.
Once you are convinced that you should get yourself certified, the next question is – where to do it from?
WHERE TO GET YOUR TRAIN THE TRAINER CERTIFICATION FROM?
There are plenty of options today. But before looking into specific options, I’d lay down a few criteria to judge the certifying body with.
#1 What is the standing of the institute offering the certification?
I could impart knowledge about being a good trainer based on my experience and hand you a printed certificate from Soft Skills Studio. But what is the value of that certificate in the market? What does that piece of paper tell your prospective employers about your expertise as a trainer? Those are the important questions to ask. There are various training companies that offer a certification. But who is the certifying body that authorises them to certify you as a competent trainer?
When I completed my certification in 2009, there weren’t many options in India. And Dale Carnegie is a name to reckon with in the field of conducting programs. I’ve never had to a face quizzical looks – “Dale who?” Everyone knows Dale who! And I think it was money well spent just for the name. Although the program itself has left an indelible imprint on me as a trainer. I agree that trainers might change but the standards that Dale Carnegie upholds is adhered to by all its trainers. So I think it is safe to day that the certification from Dale still has great value.
#2 What is the price of the certification?
I would want to know this even before I see what it covers. If there are no qualifying criteria to hand out certifications, there are no governing bodies that keep a check on the price. The more popular I am – or the more powerful my branding is – the higher the fee for my certification! And unfortunately that is how it works in the absence of an objective criterion to decide the price. I’ve seen the fee ranges from a few thousand to a couple of lakhs and then some. What is your budget?
#3 What does the training certification cover?
More often than not, the content will be filled in to justify the fee. As I mentioned earlier that the latest programs cover aspects apart from training skills and hence charge higher. But it is for you to judge whether the content justifies the price. Also, since this is your first expense before you start earning income, how soon will you be able to recover that money? Does your certification have the power to open doors of opportunity for you?
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TRAINING CERTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Once you have a list with all the details mentioned above, it is time for some comparative study. The first question to ask is – What is it that you want to learn? Do you want only a certification that gets your leg in the door? Do you want a whole 3 course meal of training, content and branding? Or would you rather learn branding as a separate course?
For instance, when image consulting became a popular field, a lot of people suggested that I get a certification from Image consulting Business Institute, the no. 1 destination in the country to become an image consultant. I never had any interest in switching fields. But one look at their courses confirmed my decision. The soft skills (which I already train in) and image consulting course was a whopping 3 lac plus! So despite the brand name and the popularity of image consulting as a profession, this certification was definitely not for me. Instead I chose to go to IIM, Indore for an advanced certification for 24 grand! And that was directly relevant to and enhanced my profile. So feel free to first decide what works for you and not essentially what the certification claims to do for you.
The second thing to do is research. No matter which course you choose – more importantly if you chose a more expensive one – ask for testimonials. Ask to talk to alumni. Find out what they think of the course and its contribution to their training career? How is business going for them since the certification. Ask what kind of hand holding are they willing to provide? Will there be any help in connecting you to corporates or other training opportunities? Go for a certification that does justice to the price.
A friend of a friend got in touch with me recently for advice. And I gave her pretty much the same advice that I do in the post – how to become a corporate trainer. We also had a short discussion about the places that offer certification. She messaged me yesterday – 3 months later – that she chose to do it from Indian Academy of Training and Development. She thought that the course was quite exhaustive and helped understand the intricacies of the profession. She feels more confident after the course which gave her an opportunity to practice with her batch and get her instant feedback.
CONSTANT LEARNING IS THE KEY
No matter which subject you choose to train in, constant learning is the key. We live in rapidly changing times and concepts become redundant in no time. To be effective as a trainer, it is important to be a student of it. Read books, watch videos, take up courses. This will help you stay on top of the game and offer your unique knowledge and expertise to your clients. For instance, for my public speaking course, I’ve completed an online certification on Dynamic Public Speaking from the University of Washington and read some amazing books on TED talks. I keenly follow the World Championship of Public Speaking and gorge on the winning speeches. The more you add to self-development the better trainer you will be.
Do you have any more questions about training certifications? Are you planning to jump into the vocation of being a trainer? You can send me your questions here or on firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out the related posts below.
(Disclaimer: I do not endorse or recommend any institute mentioned in this post for certification purposes. Please carry out you own research to make a decision)