Why am I putting the time and effort into getting APICS CPIM certified?  Sometimes I ask myself this very question after studying for hours or right before walking into the testing center to take one of the modules.  I came up with 5 benefits of being APICS certified to answer this question.  It’s hard work but these 5 benefits outweigh the costs:

1.  Interview and Resume firepower

When a prospective employer is looking through resumes to for a supply chain positions, he/she will be looking to see who is APICS certified.  Many of the open positions in my company have APICS certification as a requirement.  Once you pass all 5 tests you’ll be able to go into any interview with more confidence and you’ll proudly tell the interviewer that you are APICS certified.  You don’t want to say “I’m working on it’, “I’m planning on taking the tests soon”, or even “I have one more test to pass.”  Don’t let the next person in line who is certified knock you off the new hire list.

2.  Expertise Indicator

Certification gives you more credibility in your field and among your peers.  Every day I see a few emails with the signature “John Doe, CPIM” and my trust in what that person has to say on the subject of production and inventory control increases.  Those 4 letters tells me that this person is serious in expanding their knowledge in the industry by putting the time and effort in to passing the 5 exams.  Once certified, you’ll gain more respect from your co-workers, and colleagues, as well as higher-ups in your company.

3.  Career Advancement

In my company and my position, one of the requirements to move up in job grade is to become APICS certified.  If I’m not APICS certified I hit a ceiling and can go nowhere.  Your company may not have such a requirement, maybe your supervisor doesn’t encourage getting APICS certified, or maybe they don’t even know anything about it; why even worry about it then?  Companies like employees with INITIATIVE.  If your company doesn’t push you to get certified, you’re in an even better situation than I am.  You’ll blow your boss away when you tell him you decided to get APICS certified in order to bring more expertise to the team.  Your name will rise to the top in their mind of people who are really committed.

4.  “Sharpen the Saw”

In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the final habit that Dr. Steve Covey discusses is “Sharpen the Saw.”  In other words, keep feeding the goose that lays the golden eggs… your mind.  Investing in yourself is one of the best investments that you can make.  What happens to professionals who don’t put the time and effort into keeping up to day on latest a greatest in their industry?  They don’t remain professionals for very long.  Don’t get lazy just because you have a stable job right now… it probably won’t stay that way, which leads us to the next benefit.

5.  Job Security

In today’s poor economic situation, having a little extra justification of why you shouldn’t be laid off can definitely pay off.  Recently a manufacturing company near where I work, laid off hundreds of workers, salary and hourly alike.  I started wondering how employers decide who gets the ax and who doesn’t.  Here’s a portion of a recent article on www.getrichslowly.org I recently read about avoiding the ax:

  • Update your skills. It’s easy to become distracted by everything that’s going on today at home and at work. We neglect investing in ourselves. We can get away with that during boom times, but during tough times we need up to date, relevant skills. Start immediately. If you need training, get it — but don’t mistake training for application. Make sure you are practicing your skills professionally on a day-to-day basis. (http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/12/04/10-essential-steps-to-take-before-youre-laid-off/
APICS certification is a perfect way to update your skills and show that you’re serious about your profession.  Let you employer know you’re pursuing it.  Also, be sure to apply what you learn instead of just studying this material to pass an exam, we’re not in highschool/college anymore.
I hope this list gave you at least a little encouragement to keep your nose to the grindstone and push through those times you just don’t feel like studying or any sort of discouragement.  Keep the end goals and results in mind when your working at it, and in the end it’ll all pay off.
What other benefits do you think there are with APICS certification?  Feel free to comment below.