There are many reasons to pursue a certification — professional development, to learn or improve a skill or set of skills, to gain employment, or to demonstrate to others what you know. Whatever your reason for choosing to go down the path to certification, there are benefits in the end.
In the world of print and more specifically color management there are a few certification options to look into. However, many of them are either very narrow in scope, vendor specific, or tied to an outdated curriculum that may not relate to the real work being done today. Making the right choice ensures the best return on your investment and that you get the most meaningful certification.
The SGIA Digital Color Professional certification is one that I can recommend with confidence to anyone working in the field of digital color. The most common path before taking the certification exam includes attending a Color Management Boot Camp, a two-and-half-day hands-on training class.
A somewhat unique aspect of this certification is that there are two levels of certificates offered, making it relevant to a larger group of people. The “Qualified” level — appropriate for everyone from customer service representatives to designers to executives — is reached after completion of the exam. Once verified, you have the opportunity to submit a print off your system to be measured at The Sonoco Institute (SGIA’s third-party validator) at Clemson University — one of the nation's top Graphic Communications university programs. This print is a way of measuring that the principles learned can be put into practice. Once this print passes the qualification criteria, you reach the “Certified” level.
Becoming certified is beneficial in many ways. As an individual, it can be key to demonstrating that you’ve mastered color management skills. It can give you and others confidence in your abilities and decisions. And with this confidence, you can be sure you’re following best practices to get correct color reproduction — not just doing what you’ve always done or what worked last time. A new certification could also mean new career opportunities either within your company or at a new one.
For the company as a whole, having employees with an SGIA Digital Color Professional Certification helps instill confidence in your customers that when they send their jobs to you, the colors will be as expected. It will also allow you to act as an authority to come to with color questions or to help customers get their color production right. There is a financial advantage to having a certified Digital Color Professional on staff as well. When the techniques learned in the certification program are put into place, it can lead to significant savings in ink, materials, and time.
Once you’re ready to start down the path to an SGIA Digital Color Professional certification, take the first step and sign up for a Color Management Boot Camp. The events are held all over the U.S. with a few international locations this year, so there’s likely to be one close to you or in a destination you’d like to visit.