Episode 010: Credential

Transcript from Stirred By Words Episode 010: Credential

Chrissy Holm (00:05): Do you love words? Are you passionate about diving into meaningful conversations? Hi, welcome to Stirred By Words. A podcast that focuses on words and questions that impact our daily lives. I'm your host, Chrissy Holm, health educator, writer, curious creature and now podcaster.

Chrissy Holm (00:42):

Today, we'll start with the health tip. This week's tip is learning something new. According to upskilled.edu.au, the mental health benefits of learning a new skill are that it improves your brain health and memory, increases your mental well-being and happiness, fosters connection with others, and keeps you relevant. Learning can help you build your confidence and sense of purpose. It also helps you connect with others and encourages a growth mindset. Whether it's learning a new language, learning how to fix something, or reading a book or article, there are many ways you can learn. And I challenge you to learn one new thing this week.

Chrissy Holm (01:23):

Now it's time for today's word. Credential, dictionary.com defines this word as number one, evidence of authority status, rights, entitlement to privileges, or the like usually in a written form. And number two, anything that provides the basis for confidence, belief, credit, et cetera. Fun fact, the word credential was first recorded in 1425. And words that are related to credential are authentic, conceiving, certification, deed, diploma, license, paper, and permit.

Chrissy Holm (02:02):

Today's question is how have credentials impacted your life? If they are important, why? And if not, why not? So I've been a certified health coach. I've studied in college to be a certified health education specialist. And my bachelor's degree is in Public Health Education and Promotion. I've taken many courses including LGBTQ plus sexuality and gender, how to become a meditation teacher, the science of well-being, SEO cooperating, and so much more.

Chrissy Holm (02:35):

I'm ordained so if anybody needs me to marry them, I can, but honestly, I just love learning. And in the previous episode, I talked about always signing up for courses and learning opportunities, and that still rings true today. If you haven't checked out that episode, make sure you go back and listen.

Chrissy Holm (02:54):

Outside of myself, I really think of the credentials that are surrounding my life. For example, doctors who have helped me when I've sprained my wrists and ankles. Nurses that have helped me like the one time that I fell rollerblading and had gravel stuck in my knee. The nurse took care of it. I think of the midwife certification, not only do they help deliver my daughter, but they've helped deliver some of my family members, my niece, nephews.

Chrissy Holm (03:23):

I think about these things day in and day out of the people who help and support others. I think credentials can be important, but it's really not the only way to pursue knowledge. I understand that not everyone has access to the funds, privilege or opportunities to achieve these credentials. And yet, they can still be wise and help people beyond a piece of paper or a few letters behind their name.

Chrissy Holm (03:48):

Today, we'll hear from one listener, Lizzy Miller, with their thoughts on these questions. How have credentials impacted your life? If they're important, why? If not, why not?

Lizzy Miller (03:59):

If you look me up on LinkedIn, it might look like I'm overcompensating with the amount of letters following my name. My name is Lizzy Miller and Chrissy graciously invited me to give my two cents on credentials, how they've impacted my life and if I think they're important or not. So here we go.

Lizzy Miller (04:19):

Like I said, if you look me up on LinkedIn, you're going to see a lot of letters following my name. I have a Master's in Nutrition, a Master's in Public Health, I'm a registered dietician nutritionist, and I'm a national board certified health and wellness coach. My LinkedIn profile name is Lizzy Miller, MS, MPH, RDN, NBCHWC, and just like everyone else, I worked hard for those letters and I'm really proud of them. It is a mouthful though. The only time I truly flex my credentials is in relevant professional or academic settings. And even then, I keep the flexing to a minimum.

Lizzy Miller (05:03):

Credentials have played an important role in my career. I can't deny that. They helped me land a job right out of grad school. And even though I no longer directly work in a field that requires my credentials, they certainly facilitated the career path that I'm on. I definitely think credentials are important and I don't think their importance is going anywhere anytime soon. I don't think they're dwindling. However, there are a few points I want to make before I explain why I think credentials are important.

Lizzy Miller (05:39):

My first point is that I think there's a fine line between credentials and experience. And I don't agree with someone's credentials or lack thereof being the only deciding factor for getting a job or being promoted. Of course, this is a moot point if the job requires specific credentials. I couldn't be a dietician if I didn't have the credential of being a registered dietician nutritionist.

Lizzy Miller (06:09):

So for my experience, my credentials helped me get a job, but my work ethic interest the way I've chosen to continue my education and on the job experience helped me get where I am today. We all have to start somewhere and I think credentials help define your starting point.

Lizzy Miller (06:34):

Secondly, I think there is a time and place for showcasing your credentials such as your resume, when explaining how you meet job requirements or qualifications during an interview, or when giving a presentation where you're considered a subject matter expert on the given topic.

Lizzy Miller (06:54):

Okay. So onto why I think credentials are important in professional in academic settings. Anytime you hear someone talk about the importance of credentials, they'll probably mention that they convey credibility and show that you've completed some kind of competency based training, which I totally agree with. I can't argue that. In some jobs, you need very specific credentials for the role while in others, they're not required but they do give you a leg up. They make you more competitive.

Lizzy Miller (07:31):

My grandpa always told me to focus on education because what I choose to absorb through learning is something that no one can ever take away from me. And he was spot on with that. As the workplace and workforce change, what we do and what we need to know is also changing. That requires us to continue learning and adapting our knowledge so that we can keep up with our changing world.

Lizzy Miller (07:59):

Also, more than likely, if you hold a set of credentials, that credentialing agency requires proof of continued education. This is another reason I think credentials are important and I could go on and on about the importance and benefits of continued education, but I'll hold back and stay focused on our topic.

Lizzy Miller (08:21):

My final thought is that you can have expertise in a given field without having credentials but through years of experience. There's also the other side of that coin that can be true. You can have expertise in a given field through the work you completed when obtaining your credentials, but you can lack years of experience. So to wrap up my two cents, I think the importance of credentials boils down to context. And when it comes to getting a job or hiring someone for a job, a tasty blend of experience and credentials should be considered.

Chrissy Holm (09:13):

Today's book recommendation is Credentials: Understanding the problems. Identify the Opportunities. Create the Solutions by Paul L. Gaston and Michelle Van Noy. The credential environment grows more complicated by the day. This book enables readers to grasp the key issues and take informed action. For ease of reference, each chapter opens with a summary of its content and closes with a list of key takeaways for readers to consider.

Chrissy Holm (09:42):

In the first of three parts, they offer broad view on the topic. How credentials work, how proliferation and credentials has created an unprecedented array of educational choices and the implications of this abundance in considering the models we use.

Chrissy Holm (09:59):

In the second part, they focus on the categories of credentials from the associate's degree to doctoral degrees and non-degree credentials. This book concludes with two chapters that consider the implications of the information the authors provide for leadership in volatile times, such as considerations of equity, and they offer 12 propositions for action.

Chrissy Holm (10:21):

Before we wrap up this episode, I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions. How have credentials impacted your life? If they're important, why? If not, why not? What credentials and people surround your day-to-day life and how would your life be impacted if someone didn't have that credential.

Chrissy Holm (10:46):

If you have any thoughts on this episode, suggestions for the show or want to be a future guest, contact me via my website at www.chrissyholm.com, that's C-H-R-I-S-S-Y H O-L-M. Thanks for listening to another episode of Stirred By Words. This has been your host, Chrissy Holm. Until next time, keep learning new words, always ask questions and stay curious, my friends.

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