Using Job Task Analysis to Create Effective Certification Programs

Developing a professional certification program requires an in-depth understanding of the target role. Job task analysis (JTA) provides a rigorous process to gather this insight. Conducting a detailed JTA lays the groundwork for certification that accurately reflects job requirements.

What is Job Task Analysis?

JTA is a systematic methodology to capture the nitty-gritty details of a job. It identifies the discrete knowledge, skills, abilities, and tasks required for competent performance. JTA goes beyond typical job descriptions to drill down to specifics through tools like interviews, surveys, observation, and focus groups.

The in-depth understanding gained from JTA serves as the blueprint for developing certification exams, training, and credentialing requirements.

Connecting JTA to Certification

Certification validates that individuals possess the competencies required for a profession. JTA helps shape certification by:

  • Defining the performance domains. JTA details the capabilities and underlying knowledge mandatory for competent practice. Certification is built around assessing these core domains.
  • Determining appropriate prerequisites. JTA reveals baseline education, training, and experience needed prior to certification. These prerequisites become requirements.
  • Developing the exam. The task list provides source material for relevant exam questions. JTA links test questions directly to job duties.
  • Setting recertification requirements. JTA helps establish ongoing renewal requirements that promote continued competence.
  • Shaping curriculum. Training and test prep materials mirror the knowledge/skills from JTA. This sharpens exam readiness.

For example, a JTA for a medical device sales role may reveal negotiating with hospital procurement officials as a core duty. The certification exam would then accurately include questions on negotiation skills and hospital purchasing processes.

Conducting Effective Job Task Analysis

Follow best practices to ensure JTA yields a robust foundation for certification:

  • Assemble a panel. Include content experts, job incumbents, supervisors, educators, and association leaders to provide diverse input.
  • Employ multiple techniques. Use surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation, and documentation review for completeness.
  • Develop task and knowledge listings. Comprehensively catalog tasks, knowledge, skills, tools, and context required for competence.
  • Link tasks to importance and frequency. Rate the criticality and frequency of each task for relevance.
  • Review with the panel. Have the expert panel evaluate completeness and importance ratings.
  • Update regularly. Monitor role changes and refresh JTA data to keep certification current.

JTA for Meaningful Certification

Proper JTA informs certification that:

  • Aligns with actual job duties through relevant exam content.
  • Provides credibility through rigorous prerequisites and recertification rules.
  • Sharpens exam readiness via training reflecting required skills and knowledge.
  • Meets industry needs for qualified talent.

In essence, JTA helps ensure certifications provide true validation of readiness for a profession. Matching exams and requirements to core occupational demands promote merit and value. Both individuals and employers can be confident certificate holders possess validated competence for day-one job effectiveness.

The upfront effort to conduct job task analysis pays off through professional certification that accurately reflects “real world” skills. JTA provides the blueprint for exams, learning, and credentialing rules that match occupational needs. This strengthens the ability of certification to develop talent and demonstrate mastery.