There is an organization that is the United States National Intelligence Association (NIA). The NIA’s mission is to support the U.S. intelligence community (USIC) through producing quality research papers. The Intelligence Association board has developed several professional standards to help its members meet their assignment. The most prominent are the Qualification Benchmarking Examinations (QBE), which rate candidates on seven different areas of performance, and their specialization test, which are administered only to people who specialize in intelligence activity. Because the NIA is committed to providing high-quality standards, it does not consider the candidate’s political affiliation or any other extraneous factor that might influence his or her performance in obtaining certification.
Although the NIA is not a regulatory body and no one can force you to get certified, they will look at your accomplishments and determine if you are qualified to be listed on their roster. Once you are certified, you must have an opportunity to recertify every two years, which is performed by taking an extra test. If you wish to sit for the national examination, you will need to pass three separate tests that are set in such a way as to be confusing, so that people with a wide range of expertise and knowledge can still get the answers wrong. If you fail the first two times, you will have to take a third qualifying exam in order to get certified.
Some people become disenchanted with the whole certification process because they believe that it is too involved and difficult to manage. They feel it is a bureaucratic system that benefits no one except those who write the checks. They fail to realize that government agencies benefit from the increased productivity that comes from good, informed people in top management positions. In addition, the job security that comes with being certified is quite appealing. These are very real concerns for some people.
On the other hand, there are also some more positive aspects to consider when getting professional research certification. If you are a college student, you can earn credits toward a degree that will help you later in life. This can help you secure higher paying jobs, especially in the field of public service, such as public health and safety, teaching, and law. For professionals already in the field, you can be sure that being certified will help you get recognized by industry insiders. Your clients will recognize your name and face, and you will gain the respect and credibility that you deserve. The most important thing is that you will be respected in the profession, and people will want to work with you because you have what it takes to serve the community well.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of getting your professional research credentials is the financial benefits. The pay is better, and the job outlook for this field is excellent. You will find that once you have your license, or if your employer does not require it, you can make six figures a year. This is a great incentive to go ahead and put the education you have gotten to work for you. Many people choose to further their education after obtaining certification, and find that they never look back.
Even if you already work in a professional capacity in another field, you may want to consider furthering your knowledge by obtaining your professional research credentials. There are many different seminars and hands-on classes offered all over the country, and many offer certificate programs for a nominal fee. This is an excellent way to get your name out into the world and set yourself apart from other professionals.
One of the biggest problems that people have today is learning that their ignorance is not going to get them anywhere. Knowledge is power, and the more you know the better off you are likely to be. If you think that you are a blank slate, and can pick up any knowledge there is, you are mistaken. Learning professional research skills is something that requires time, effort, and focus. If you are willing to put forth the effort, and truly believe in your capabilities, then you can become a successful researcher.