The benefits of being certifiable

June 5, 2014
Certifications are the proof that the industry is trying to better itself

I finally figured it out. Yes, I am indeed certifiable.  After admitting that, I know there is a peanut gallery out there that is agreeing a bit too much with that statement. I am certifiable, but not in a way that makes me hop into a shopping cart and ride it down a stairwell like you might see on a YouTube video.  I have three letters behind my name that refer to me as a Certified Director of Safety (CDS). 

In our industry, everything is certifiable.  At TCA alone, in terms of staff, we have a CDS, a CMP and an M. Ed.  The North American Transportation Management Institute offers six certifications in safety, maintenance and even cargo security.  Please don’t misconstrue this plethora of certifications noted in this column as me mocking them, but rather understand that I am applauding them.  This industry offers everyone the opportunity to learn more, to continue to better themselves through the use of available resources, and to become experts in their field. 

Certifications are more than just letters after a name.  Even entry-level driver-training schools can have their courses certified through the Professional Truck Driver Institute—and not just for bragging rights.  As an industry, we are trying to go the extra mile, and we are actually doing it.  Individuals and organizations alike are yearning for extra education and to be in the know, so that they can be viewed as having quality and substance, and because our industry takes these certifications very seriously.

Obviously, with the attainment of any kind of credential or certification comes the prestige and knowledge that you, as an individual or organization, have achieved a level of excellence that we, as an industry, have deemed “rarified air.”  This means that these certifications are not just handed out like candy on Halloween; they are earned through hard work and the ability to demonstrate the knowledge that you understand the topic at hand and put it to use.  In other words, not everyone has one. 

It is important to remember that all of these certifications were developed with input from stakeholders, including carriers, schools, insurance companies, safety engineers, risk managers, government, and other experts.  Being certified not only makes you a colleague of these industry pioneers, but also opens up entirely new avenues of networking that you may not have been exposed to before. 

When I attained my CDS, I developed relationships with people that I still rely on to this day, and the same can be said of any certification or credential in the industry.  Getting exposed to subject matter experts can also provide you with an avenue to rely on when further issues arise.

So, yes, I can say that being referred to as certifiable may not necessarily be an uncommon term used to describe me; however, I can take solace in knowing that the certifications and credentials that our industry has developed, endorsed and partake in are truly top-notch.  We have developed an industry standard and image of training that many other industries strive to duplicate yet rarely achieve.

David Heller, CDS, is director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Assn.  He is responsible for interpreting and communicating industry-related regulations and legislation to the membership of TCA. Send comments to [email protected].


About the Author

David Heller

David Heller is the senior vice president of safety and government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association. Heller has worked for TCA since 2005, initially as director of safety, and most recently as the VP of government affairs. Before that, he spent seven years as manager of safety programs for American Trucking Associations.

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