At the Centre of CPD Excellence, we strive to look at ways to improve our industry as much as possible. We get asked often, ‘what information do I need to add to a certificate?’, as well as ‘who do we need to let know?’.
In response to these questions, we thought it may be easier to create a quick article on the best practices for issuing your students a certificate.
LOGO/YOUR BUSINESS NAME
Adding your business name and logo is important to ensure that an insurer can identify a business and verify its accreditation. It also allows you to brand your certificates and can also bring you in new students when they see another company display their certificate.
It seems that many academies do not include their business details on their certificates. Whilst, not a legal requirement, it should be good business practice and validates your training even further. Having your details displayed allow students to contact you when they have questions, and/or insurers should they need clarification on what was covered on the course.
Of course, you will need to add the course title that your student attended. Be careful of protected terms such as ‘Level’ or using trademarked names that you do not have permission to use, such as ‘Botox’, Profhilo and so on.
The title should be clear, avoid fancy names for example ‘platinum facial training’ for basic facial courses, or ‘my business name nails’, for a nail course. This can often cause issues with insurance when it cannot be verified exactly what the student was trained in. Keeping course names to simple titles will prevent any issues for the student down the line.
Continuing from the above, you should decide on what terminology to use on your certificate to avoid misleading your student, and potentially their customers.
Prior to adding in what course, the student attended, you will need to decide whether you want to add on any of the following:
‘Certificate of completion’
‘Certificate of attendance’
‘Certificate of competency’
What does each of these phrases mean?
Certificate of attendance means that the participant attended a course but does not mean or suggest that they are competent on the subject covered.
Certificate of completion means that the student attended a course and completed any of the tasks given, such as theory, tests, and practical assessments.
A certificate of competency can be used when confirming that a course attendee has shown competency in the subject being taught. This is especially useful when teaching practical based courses.
Other terms used may be ‘shown proficiency in’ which makes a statement that you have confidence that your student is proficient in the treatment.
Academies need to remember that the courses you are delivering are certified courses. Courses that are not backed by an awarding body such as VTCT or City & Guilds, cannot be referred to as a qualification. Students should be made aware that the course they are attending is a CPD Certified course and not a qualification.
This also refers back to not using the terms ‘Level’ on your certificates, i.e., level 2, 3, 4 etc. Level based terms are reserved for qualifications, using them on a certified course can be misleading to your student. They may inform people such as insurers that they have level 3 or 4 qualifications and only find out when they have a claim, that their insurance is not valid.
When advertising a course online and on social media, you should never refer to the course as being a qualification or that the student will be ‘qualified’ in a particular treatment. Some academies display NVQ on their certificate, unless this is a certificate issued directly via an awarding body, independent training academies cannot issue NVQ certificates.
Academies should make sure their student’s name is printed clearly on the certificate so that it can be easily read.
Many companies list the head trainer or the business owner on the certificate. It is good business practice to list the trainer that delivered the course and their position in the company.
Accreditation companies check that trainers are certified and experienced in delivering a course, listing the correct trainer ensures the validity of your certificate.
CERTIFICATE ISSUE DATE
Listing the issue date on the certificate allows insurers and accreditation companies to confirm when your student attended the training and how much experience they have in the subject area.
We always advise that academies keep records of all certificates that they issue. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that you can assign a unique, sequential number to each certificate. This will help when it comes to reissuing lost certificates as you can then refer back to the course date and course completed, preventing any fraudulent requests for certificates. You can also refer back to your records should a 3rd party, such as HMRC, an Insurer or an accreditor, for example, need to confirm the legitimacy of a certificate, which enables the industry to prevent certificate fraud.
Here is an example of a table you can use in MS Excel, Google Sheets or, Apple Numbers.
|Date||Students Name||Course Attended||Trainer||Certificate No:|
|12/09/21||Mrs A Smith||Haircutting||Mrs Trainer||1458|
|13/10/21||Mr M Doe||Manicure||Mrs Trainer||1459|
ACCREDITATION COMPANIES THAT ACCREDIT THE COURSE
Certificates should always include the details of the accreditation companies that the course is accredited via. Sometimes the course may be accredited by several accreditors, if so, all accreditors should be listed on your certificate – at the very least, showing their business logo.
If you are using pre-printed certificates, you may need to be careful that you do not have certificates with accreditation logos or business names printed, if you will be issuing the certificate in a subject that one or more of the companies do not accredit. Only list the logos and/or business details of the accreditation companies that actually accredit the course listed on the certificate.
Many accreditation companies provide their academies with a unique membership or reference number. If you have one of these, you can list it on your certificate. Take a look at our sample certificate to see an example of how you can add this information and the format or layout of your certificate.
Some, not all, accreditors, may give you individual course numbers to confirm your course is accredited. You can add this to your certificate. This can help a student, employer, accreditor, or insurer confirm the course was accredited at the time of training.
If your accreditation company is also a CPD provider, they will issue CPD points at the time of confirmation of your course accreditation. It is good practice to include this on the student’s certificate. This helps future employers to value the potential content of the course, as well as allow the student to record CPD training for their employment or accreditors etc.
The details that can be added to a certificate are extensive, but space is of a premium, with only an A4 sheet being used as confirmation of the completion of the course. You may be registered with the UKPRL and wish to display their logo and your UKPRN number. You may have won awards, teach in association with a brand whereby you need to add their name to the certificate also.
What many academies do not utilise is the back of their certificates! This is a great space to add further details about your course, contact details, CPD value and more!
It is on the back of your certificate that you can add on your full course syllabus and what the student learned, how they were assessed, how the course was delivered and any pre-requisite requirements!
Improving industry standards can start from this one small step. Companies such as insurers, pharmacies, local councils, and other training providers are now requesting that a student has gained experience or knowledge in certain areas. An example of this would be Anaphylaxis or first aid training, which if listed on the back of a certificate can allow the student to provide proof of this when needed!
Centre of CPD Excellence is hoping that academies start to incorporate these changes and ensure that they provide in-depth and detailed certificates to their students. This not only makes the academy appear more professional, but the student will also be confident in their ability to gain insurance, accreditation, local council licences, skincare accounts etc.
One other question that is often raised is about issuing copies to students. We always recommend that you verify the student against your own internal records and then re-issue the certificate, only this replacement should state that it is a copy. This is a practice used by many top training providers to reduce fraud.
THE FUTURE OF CERTIFICATES
There are many recent changes in the salon industry, with many more to come. The prospect of regulation is unnerving for many, whilst the majority are embracing this new idea.
Changes will be slow, but it is vital that training providers ensure that they start to implement better procedures and processes within their business to ensure their survival.
Centre of CPD Excellence is striving to create better ways for our academies to improve the quality of training and student support. Our new platform will soon be launched with many new features for our academies to utilise! One of these will be a verification system for your students’ certificates. More will be revealed soon.
If you have any questions on certificates please feel free to drop us a comment below, where we will be happy to help.