The 8 Best Certifications for Records Managers
Since the creation of AIIM’s Certified Information Professional (CIP) program, we’ve certified over 1,500 information professionals. Throughout the years working with students to help them prepare for the CIP, I often get asked about other good certifications for records managers.
But, when there are literally thousands of certifications in the marketplace, and dozens that have some connection to records or information management – how can you determine which one is right for you? Here are a couple of different ways to think through this:
- Are you looking for a certification in the job you’re doing…or in the job you want? This could be a specialization in a particular work area like privacy, or a more advanced position compared to what you’re currently doing.
- Are you looking to specialize? Are you looking to demonstrate your skills in a specific process role, your expertise with a particular technology solution, or perhaps something more generally applicable, such as change management or project management?
- What support is available from your employer? Is your current employer willing to support you in one program or certification over another?
This post focuses on formal certifications that are globally available. Formal certifications require some sort of formal assessment, such as a proctored exam, as well as ongoing requirements to renew or update them. Programs that are called “certifications,” but which do not require a formal assessment or ongoing maintenance, are not considered certifications for the purpose of this post (though many of them are of significant value). There are any number of local certifications and/or training programs in the marketplace. These will addressed in a future post.
With this framework as a background, let's take a look at the best certifications for records managers.
The Best Certifications for Records Managers
- Certified Records Manager: Administered by the Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM), this advanced certification consists of 6 separate exams covering all aspects of records management, from strategic planning to day-to-day operational activities. Candidates must document a combination of professional experience and higher education.
- Best For: The Certified Records Manager (CRM) is best for records managers who want to demonstrate a solid grounding in records management theory and strategy.
- Certified Records Analyst: Also administered by the ICRM, this intermediate certification includes Parts 2, 3, and 4 of the CRM and focuses more on the operational aspects of records management. Candidates must document a combination of professional experience and higher education.
- Best For: This is best for records managers who don’t have the background in management for Part 1 and technology for Part 5.
- Certified Information Privacy Professional: Administered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, this advanced certification is offered in a number of specializations: United States Public Sector, Europe, Canada, and Asia as well as a certification for privacy technologists (CIPT) and one for privacy program managers (CIPM).
- Best For: Every records manager can benefit from the CIPP appropriate to their geographic jurisdiction. If there isn’t one, the CIPP/E (Europe) is recommended as it focuses squarely on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is becoming the template for similar initiatives around the world.
- Information Governance Professional: Administered by ARMA International, this advanced certification focuses on the higher-level, strategic practice of information governance.
- Best For: This is best for records managers who are moving into a more strategic focus.
- Certified E-Discovery Specialist: Administered by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists, this advanced certification is specific to the technical practice of e-discovery. Candidates must document work experience in e-discovery or closely related fields and submit letters of reference.
- Best For: This is best for records managers who actively participate in e-discovery projects and processes.
- Project Management Professional: Administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), this advanced certification focuses on the general practice of project management throughout the project lifecycle. Candidates must document work experience as well as formal training in project management.
- Best For: The PMP is best for records managers who are or intend to become consultants or who are significantly involved in working on or managing projects within their organization. PMI also offers a number of other certifications, including Certified Associate in Project Management, PMI Risk Management Professional, and PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.
- Certified Information Security Manager: Administered by ISACA, this advanced certification affirms individuals’ ability to understand information security issues and develop strategies and processes for effective information security. Candidates must document work experience.
- Best For: The CISM is best for records managers with the requisite background who are focused more on information security.
- Certified Change Management Professional: Administered by the Association of Change Management Professionals, this advanced certification allows certificants to show they can create change programs and manage change across a variety of processes and practices.
- Best for: Change management is critical to ensuring the success of major change-inducing programs, including records and information management initiatives.
There are a significant number of certifications that records managers can use to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in various information management-related disciplines.
In selecting which to pursue, records managers should consider the price of the exam, the price of maintaining it over time, how well the program is recognized and perceived as valuable in the marketplace, and of course, whether they qualify based on experiential requirements. But any of these would broaden a records manager’s skillset and add value to their current organization…or to their next one!