In a 2013 qualitative study (funded by an Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. National Research Grant) child and youth care practitioners working in out-of-school time programs reported the following benefits to being certified:
1. Ensuring a common baseline of competence.
“I think we should all be on the same page at some level. Teachers have to be certified, why can anyone go into an afterschool peer program? Why can anyone go into a daycare? There should be some level of common knowledge.”
2. Increased motivation, a sense of accomplishment, confidence and empowerment.
“It definitely gave me some confidence that I know what I’m doing. I think that it’s helpful for my supervisors in that they can count on me because of what I’ve learned and come to me in a situation if they need advice or another site manager who maybe hasn’t had that much training.”
3. Increased awareness and mindfulness.
“It’s made me more efficient … When you’re more mindful about what you do and you know the meaning and the reason for it, for example the documentation or the building of those relationships; if you understand the why, then you’re able to be more efficient and carry it out more.”
4. A signal of one’s commitment to professional youth work.
“Letting the workers see themselves as professionals. It is a morale enhancer. It lets them know that you take them seriously as a professional and you want them to have this credential.”
5. Being part of something bigger.
“…. has allowed me to have awareness of what is going on in other areas of child and youth work including conferences that I can take advantage of. Also the actual certification process helped me to create and maintain affiliation with member-based programs which created networking opportunities and a sense of community.”
6. Valuing the learning as an end in itself.
“I feel like it’s the learning-the information is the most important thing to the individual worker.”
7. Increased recognition coinciding with awareness of the importance of advocating for certification within and outside the field.
“I would like to see more on the state and local level to collaborate and communicate about the national certification.”