Susan Mucha

Why you should consider a certification program.

When I look back on my career and consider the key ingredient to my success, I’d say whenever opportunity knocked, I had the right skill set to walk through the door. I was fortunate that my first electronics manufacturing services (EMS) employer had both a tuition refund program that paid for my master’s degree in management and an internal management training program. That started me on a path of continuous learning that included multiple certification programs and other training programs. And, as advancement opportunities came up, I had the right qualifications and a results-focused track record.

Company-sponsored educational resources are more limited today. That said, technology has made it possible and convenient to engage in focused continuous learning opportunities. IPC’s Certified Electronics Program Manager (CEPM) training and certification program is a good example. What once required multiple trips to training locations and a solid week of classroom time can now be done via computer either in live sessions or through reviews of class recordings. The program was redesigned to an online format in 2017 and now is a six-week program with two two-hour classes per week, providing overviews of program management, sales, cost accounting, materials management, contracts, production planning, quality and leadership. Students are assigned to teams that complete a case study each week related to the concepts presented. A variety of online exercises reinforce key concepts. The goal is to ensure participants are provided a common framework of knowledge and the opportunity to interact with peers to discuss best practices. Information on the program and upcoming dates is available here:

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