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The Vocabulary, Rationale and Critiques of Professional Credentialing

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When Sarah Jane Rehnborg, Ph.D., wrote her doctoral dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh, she not only fulfilled an academic requirement but also helped document the basis of the new “Certified in Volunteer Administration” (CVA) competency-based credential for the Association of Volunteer Administration. In this issue of e-Volunteerism, we present an updated chapter from Rehnborg’s previously unpublished dissertation, “Field Test and Assessment of a Certification Program for Administrators of Volunteers.”

In this important work, Rehnborg takes readers behind the scenes of the credentialing process. She defines the key terms and extensive vocabulary used when discussing credentialing – terms like professional credentialing, licensure, certification, accreditation and diplomas. She also provides a history and rationale for certification in occupations and professions, as well as a brief overview of the ongoing objections to this practice.  Rehnborg’s work, which has been reviewed and updated for current applicability in several countries, provides important documentation of a sometimes complicated and misunderstood topic.