March 12, 2019

How to Save Staff Time on Tedious Certification Tasks

How to Save Staff Time on Tedious Certification Tasks

Associations are seeing an increased member and employer demand for credentialing programs. But with everything else you have to do, how will you ever find time to develop and manage new programs? Eventually, they’ll generate enough revenue to allow your association to hire new staff, but until then, you’ve got to find a way to work more effectively.

Don’t you wish you could spend less time answering the same set of questions from certificate applicants, doing data entry, printing and mailing certificates, and dealing with other tedious administrative details? If you could find ways to streamline or automate this work, you could spend more time researching market needs, developing new programs, and improving existing programs—doing work that makes a real difference.

The administrative work involved in certification management takes its toll—on your level of productivity, stress, and engagement with your job. But thankfully, there’s a solution to this problem: an online, automated process for certification applications made possible by certification tracking software.

Let Certification Tracking Software Improve the Application Process

Everyone expects to take care of their business online—joining an association, paying dues, registering for an event, or applying for certification. Don’t put your applicants through the laborious chore of handwriting, copying, and mailing their application and payment. Let them do it the way they do everything else in the 21st century—online.

Don’t make them think too hard either. Set up your online application so it walks them through the different steps of the eligibility criteria and application process. Display a progress bar showing exactly where they are in the process, for example:

  • Application overview
  • Personal information
  • Education
  • Professional experience
  • CEU credits
  • Select exam location
  • Review and confirm
  • Standards of conduct
  • Attestation

Look for association management software that allows you to configure the steps of your application process so it mirrors your old paper application. Configuration also comes in handy for other updates, such as application status.

Applying for certification is an anxiety-laden process as it is, do everything you can to alleviate the stress. Use certification tracking software that auto-saves the application throughout the process. Applicants will appreciate not having to rush through the steps in fear of having a system time them out.

Prevent applicant errors and oversights so you won’t have to take or make as many calls as you do now. You can make certain fields required so you don’t have to chase down applicants for missing information. Credits can be date-sensitive so applicants can only use them for one application, if that’s what your policy requires.

What are the most common applicant questions or mistakes? Anticipate and address these concerns in a FAQ linked to the application.

Set submission eligibility rules, so you can ensure that applicants meet a minimum criteria before submitting their application. They won’t waste their time completing an application for nothing, and you won’t have to spend time reviewing it and getting in touch with them to explain why they don’t qualify.

Just think, some day you can get rid of all those file cabinets in your office containing applications and associated paperwork. That day will come soon thanks to software that allows applicants to apply online and upload any supporting documentation.

Let participants pay for certification applications and renewals online too. Personal payment data is more secure when applications are processed online instead of being mailed or faxed (yes, it still happens!). Online payments can be automatically applied to the appropriate GL code or product line—saving time for all departments involved.

Set Up Automated Workflows for Certification Applications

No matter your place on the org chart, you shouldn’t be doing data entry. Data entry is bad for your morale and bad for your association’s payroll. If your existing process doesn’t allow you to automate your certification and CEU tracking processes, it’s time to look for a new solution.

Provide application status updates. When it comes to online experiences, we’re all spoiled. We expect immediate responsiveness and instant gratification. If an individual interacts with your association online, for example, submitting an application, they expect to see a response from you right away. They want assurance that you received their application. They may even want to know if it’s been approved, even provisionally. Does your software do that yet?

Score applications. Automated workflows make both instant gratification and immediate responsiveness possible. Certification tracking software automatically scores applications based on an applicant’s answers throughout the workflow. They can immediately see their provisional status. If their application wasn’t approved, they’re told why so they know what to do next without having to call or email your office.

Upload exam taker info. Upload applicant information directly to the exam test center as soon as the applicant completes and pays for the application.

Update records with CEUs. Nowadays, you can reduce the time spent on administrative processes that can be automated with some IF/THEN logic. For example, if you host an event that is eligible for five CEU credits, your solution should be able to automatically assign the five unverified credits to registrants' records, skipping the task of entering the CEU credits manually.

Import exam scores. With software that integrates with your Learning Management System (LMS), you can eliminate manual data entry. With the click of a button, you can import thousands of exam scores into member (and customer) records. Applicants will even see an update of their score on the member portal.

Let Applicants Help Themselves

When you give your constituents the ability to do things for themselves, you give yourself the ability to get more meaningful work done. Certification tracking software makes it possible for members to take care of certification business when it’s convenient for them, instead of having to remember to call you during office hours.

They can see how they’re doing on their certification application and renewal, and know exactly how many credits they need to complete either. They can self-report any CEUs they’ve earned from other organizations. You can choose to verify those credits or not before approving them. They can also go online to print certificates or transcripts instead of asking your staff to print and send them a copy.

You have more important things to do than enter data, deal with paperwork, and handle routine calls and correspondence. Find out how MemberSuite’s Certification and CEU tracking solution can help you get more time back in your day.