In our hyperpartisan atmosphere in the United States, insights professionals – whether conservative, libertarian, moderate, or liberal – can come together over the fact that market researchers do not need to be licensed to practice. Conservatives and libertarians can celebrate the lack of government regulation and red tape. Moderates and liberals can appreciate that licensing is too often a regressive tax on those with lower incomes trying to find new paths to prosperity. Everyone can celebrate that our industry hasn’t created an artificial barrier of occupational licensing but instead welcomes newcomers with open arms.
Yet in a nation where anyone with a $30-a-month subscription to survey software can call themselves a market researcher, how do insights and analytics professionals demonstrate their commitment to the industry?
One way is to show a commitment to continuing education. On their resumes and on LinkedIn and Twitter, insights professionals can share their online badges and certificates of completion from Burke Institute, Cambiar, Research Rockstar, RIVA Training Institute, and the University of Georgia.
Those five educational organizations came together in 2019 in their shared commitment to the research industry to assist the Insights Association with the re-development of its certification program, which has emerged as another way of demonstrating commitment to the industry. The new Insights Professional Certification (IPC) program was shaped by qualitative and quantitative research. A key request from those interviewed was the desire for an easier on-ramp to the full program, with recognition available to those new to the industry who sought to distinguish themselves.
As a result, the organizations came together to develop five topic certificates, open to all. The four core certificates are IPC Practitioner, IPC Qualitative, IPC Quantitative, and IPC Analytics; taken together, these cover the entirety of the MRCBOK™ (UGA’s Market Research Core Body of Knowledge, the common learning objectives shared by the industry and developed by MRII expert volunteers). The fifth certificate, IPC Specialist, was designed based on feedback that the applications of insights and analytics are more diverse than ever before: the IPC Specialist is customizable and consists of mastering any 3 of the 13 MRCBOK™ topics.
These certificates form a pathway to full certification, available to those who have been in the industry for three years. Study all 13 MRCBOK™ topics and demonstrate your understanding by passing the assessment test, and you will earn IPC Principal. If you’ve been in the industry for ten years, you can take a longer assessment and be awarded IPC Master.
Finally, to celebrate the IPC program, the Insights Association developed the IPC Laureate, which cannot be earned on its own but is instead awarded to insights professionals who have demonstrated a career of leadership.
If you are one of the 84% of researchers who did not study market research as an undergraduate, you can demonstrate your commitment to the insights and analytics profession through continuing education, certificates, and full certification. Which, if nothing else, will give you a license to showcase your love of research.