Diversity Certification: How to Select a Competent Cultural Diversity Professional
What is Diversity Certification?
Diversity Certification refers to credentialing training that empowers professionals with expertise in consulting, training, managing, and leader cultural diversity. Cultural diversity expertise credentialing is still in its infancy.
Most seasoned diversity practitioners bootstrapped their way to success. Diversity certification offers training for both seasoned professionals and the novice. The program prepares someone new to the cultural diversity profession for the role. A good program will take seasoned professionals to the next performance level by building on existing competencies and providing credentials.
Completing quality training and certification needed to (1) serve optimally in the practitioner role promotes professional reputation, (2) enhance professional identification and (c) increase understanding of certified diversity practitioner expertise.
A comprehensive, well-designed credentialing program is backed by a body of diversity management knowledge based on what has been learned from pioneers, evidenced-based techniques and tools, a strategic framework, leadership competency, and training skills.
A high impact diversity certification program teaches how to lead a successful inclusion initiative, develop solutions based on needs analysis and business acumen, leverage technology to enhance organizational learning and much more. The better Diversity Certification programs use a common language to unify the cultural diversity and inclusion profession.
How to Become a Cultural Diversity Practitioner
What Are the Responsibilities of the Cultural Diversity Practitioner?
There are at least four sets of cultural diversity practitioner responsibilities, depending on the job role:
Which Cultural Diversity Practitioner Role is For You?
One of the roles described in the above list will likely be more attractive than the others. Once you decide which one you believe suits you, the next thing is to determine if you have the full range of competencies needed to fulfill the role.
Do You Have the Necessary Diversity Practitioner Competencies?
Cultural diversity practitioner consultants tend to use word of mouth and networking to secure their first opportunities. Over time, they develop a reputation and become the vendor of choice if successful. The competition is stiff and continuous education is a must to stay relevant and competitive.
In-house professionals are typically appointed to the position after success in other roles within their organization. The leadership turns to in-house talent when a new diversity leadership role is introduced. Someone in training, HR, sales, or a number of other positions will be asked to take the lead because they "know the culture" and work well with the leadership. Diversity champions and ambassadors may also potential recruits.
Once the role has matured, the organization tends to hire practitioners with at least five years of experience in the position. Increasingly credentials, such as cultural diversity certification, is expected.
We Have Made the Mistakes. Let Us Help You Avoid Them
You can bootstrap cultural diversity practitioner competence like many of the pioneers. But it is risky. Consider the diversity trainer that, in his best efforts to increase cultural awareness, ended up getting the organization he worked for sued. It turns out that one of the activities he used created a hostile work environment for a white male participant. At least that is the way the court saw it in awarding the victim damages. The trainer clearly did not know what he didn’t know.
Wouldn't it be better to learn from expert cultural diversity professionals who have made all of the mistakes and eager to help you avoid them?
How Can a Cerified Diversity Professional Make a Living?
A cultural diversity professional can take on a range of roles and responsibilities. Some work within the human resource management department. Others have essentially an EEO role. Still, others are directors of student life in colleges and universities. The vice president and diversity officer titles are typically reserved for those reporting directly to the leader of the organization. Some choose to be an independent consultant.
The core responsibilities of the certified diversity executive include leadership, training and facilitation skills, assessment, organizational development, internal consultant, and partnering with human resource managers. While knowledge of cultural diversity best practices is important, diversity certification goes beyond an understanding of how to implement these popular solutions.
Diversity certification develops the competence needed to apply organizational change techniques to identify inclusion gaps and develop a diversity education plan to close the performance gaps. Cultural diversity and inclusion strategy serves as a foundation from which the certified diversity professional creates strategic alignment, identifies needs, develops and delivers solutions and evaluates performance.
What Are the Different Types of Diversity Certification Credentials?
What is the Certified Diversity Trainer Program?
The Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Trainer (CDT)™ program focuses on developing participants’ facilitation skills and ability to design high impact training. There is very little attention given to managing or leading cultural diversity. Cultural diversity training requires specialized skills due to the reactions many have towards cultural diversity topics, the difficulties of getting people to talk honestly about cultural differences, and the techniques needed to maintain a learning environment when conversations become heated. Successfully creating and maintaining a community of learners during a diversity training even when conversations stretch participants’ ability to remain civil requires skills that few possess. Thus, the need for specialized training.
What is the difference between the CDP & CDT Credentials?
The DELA CDP, or Certified Diversity Practitioner, training best suits the individual who wants to learn about how to lead a cultural diversity and inclusion initiative either as an in-house or independent consultant. The CDP focuses on strategy, training, communications, and managing cultural differences among staff. The Cultural Diversity & Inclusion Trainer (CDT)™ certification is for the professional interested in primarily serving in a trainer role. The training covers high impact facilitation skills for managing hot topic discussions, managing emotional reactions to diversity and inclusion, and keeping the audience engaged.
What is Difference Between the CDP & CDE Credentials?
The DELA Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) provides credentials for those in higher level leadership roles, such as Vice President of Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer, and Diversity Executive. A CDE practitioner is expected to be a strategist, has considerable independence, and works closely with the leader and leadership team in promoting inclusion. The CDP is also a good choice for those interested in serving as an independent or in-house consultant with at least some training responsibilities.
Who is in Charge of the Diversity Executive Leadership Academy?
Dr. Billy Vaughn, CDT CDP CDE is the founder and executive director. The video below shows a sample of his teaching skills. DElA faculty are selected based on their ability to deliver the best training for adult learners.
Are the Diversity Certification Programs Accredited?
There isn’t an accredited program. There are programs in accredited universities and colleges. Accreditation is certainly important to demonstrate that a program meets some minimum standards based on independent evaluations.
The quality of a diversity certification program today reflects are mostl reflected in past customers evaluations based on their experience. Their reviews seldom tell us about the program strengths, weaknesses, or relevance to the practitioner needs. Some programs emphasize training that prepares participants for passing an examination. Others focus primarily on classroom learning, and there are also blended classroom and distance learning formats. Please check out the Diversity Officer Magazine article, Selecting a Diversity Professional Credentialing Program, for a review of programs:
You want to take into consideration (a) your professional objective, (b) how long the program has been in existence, (c) testimonials, (d) reviews and (e) how much the program is being talked about in the media. A combination of these factors will lead you to the right choice.