The value of accreditation : a survey of accredited business communicators
Hartigan, Donna Marie
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This study concerns the value of accreditation in the communication profession. Licensing of communication professionals, although continually debated, is unlikely. Accreditation programs, though, exist to designate and recognize communication professionals. The literature, however, lacks evidence of accreditation's importance and value. In this study, communicators, accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) share their views on the value of accreditation to tangible rewards such as position advancements and salary increases. They also express their views on accreditation's value to intangible benefits such as personal pride and recognition from their peers. The accredited business communicators (ABCs) suggest that accreditation is valuable to intangible rewards (professional values) and has limited value to tangible benefits (career values). By associating more professional values than career values with accreditation, the ABCs suggest the credential truly designates professionalism. Therefore, it is important to the communication/public relations profession. Furthermore, the data suggest ABCs have a clear understanding of the accreditation program's purpose, are proponents of its growth and development, and believe the process leading to accreditation of a portfolio review, written examination, and oral examination is effective. They express dissatisfaction with the visibility of the ABC credential outside the communication profession and are somewhat more satisfied with the visibility of the ABC credential inside the profession. ABCs employed by public relations firms or agencies are more likely than ABCs employed by corporations to value accreditation for tangible rewards. A number of recommendations are made for IABC, a worldwide association for more than 11,500 individuals employed in communication and public relations.