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 Is being MSPA Silver or Gold Certified Worth It?
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NinaS
Contributor

Vernon, BC
Canada
84 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2006 :  5:37:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been reading this and other forum threads re the certification process and decided to take the first step and Silver certify.
I agree with those shoppers who say its a cash cow for the ones who run it(I think its Surf Merchants who own Sassie and Prophet and all of their applications ask for MSPA certification numbers)There are a few that I ran into other than Sassie and Prophet that ask for certification but not many.
I know that I never learned one thing throughout the certification process, it was all just common sense for anyone working for another person or company.
Anyway now the proof will be in the pudding - will I get more jobs - I'll keep you in touch here in about a month.
Wish me more jobs
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JanetOKC
Contributor

Oklahoma City, OK
USA
57 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2006 :  6:17:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I silver-certified in my first month of shopping, so I don't know if it helped or not. I gold-certified last month, and I can't tell yet whether or not it helps. I figured it couldn't hurt, and it gave me a good excuse to go visit my aging aunt in Dallas. I learned a few new things at the gold conference, and overall it was a pleasant experience. There were reps from 4 companies there, if I remember correctly. Only one of those was a company I was interested in working with; I have had two nice jobs with them since the conference.

I did, however, notice that I was getting much better shops before I ever gold certified. A lot of it had to do with applying to as many companies as possible; I put apps in with over 150 since I began in October 2005. And I took lower-paying jobs with companies I really wanted to work for, and eventually several of them are giving me better jobs. I also did the "harder" applications -- some requiring mailed documents and one requiring a criminal background check. I was happy with the increasing quality of shops I was getting prior to gold certification, and I assume that just came with time, persistence in applying, and doing a good job for companies. Many apps I'd put in received no acknowlegement until 2-3 months after the fact. So my thought is that the quality of my jobs would have continued to increase with or without gold certification.

I've had two schedulers tell me that gold certification is very important to them -- IF they don't have prior experience with that particular shopper. A scheduler with one company I do a lot with told me that they "don't look at certification", but they care about maturity and experience.

Bottom line, I don't think we will every be able find a definitive answer on whether or not gold certification is "worth it." But for me, the conference in itself was a pleasant experience. And my guess is that it will help me out with companies that don't yet know my work. Certification appears to be of the most value for those of us who are relatively new to MSing, or for those of us trying to break in with companies that are new to us. Those are just my thoughts.

Janet
MSPA Gold Certified
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MSJamey
Valued Contributor

McKinney, TX
USA
116 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2006 :  01:46:25 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just saw something on another thread that confused me. It was a signature line that said "double gold certified"

What the heck is that? Is there continuing education with gold now?

That being said, I plan on doing the gold this year, and I really look forward to connecting and networking, and having a day to "let my hair down."

Jamey
I can see you.
MSPA Silver Certified
Queen of theater Standees!
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DonnaShops
Star Contributor

Murfreesboro, TN
USA
380 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2006 :  1:35:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
MSJamey, I haven't heard anything about continuing education with Gold. Maybe they went to two Gold Certification workshops. I'm glad I went, but can't see going twice if you paid attention the first time!

MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping Middle TN & Beyond
Someday my Spa Shop will come!
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Beth K
Apprentice

Colorado Springs, CO
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2006 :  2:05:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm new to MSing and got my silver certification. I agree with Janet for those of us who are new and trying to get jobs with companies the certification helps. Since we don't have any experience the ceritificate shows we are willing to put forth extra effort to get jobs. Just my thoughts on this subject.

Beth Kalb
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Lynne
Valued Contributor

Des Moines, IA
USA
226 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  06:46:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
In my case it was a "qualified" yes, not a resounding YES!!!

I live in a smaller medium sized city and travelled over 250 miles to get the "Gold". I figured that this would/should put me ahead of the others in my area.

Well guess who I saw there ?? Another individual who introduced herself to me and SHE WAS ALSO FROM MY CITY !!

Had I not gone, I do think she would have had an advantage over me. I felt pretty downhearted, however spending $$+ $$ +$$ and then finding another person from my city there also. This was almost 3 years ago, and I try to just think that at least both of us are getting shops over the others in this city who are in fierce competition for shops that ARE offered in this smaller city.

Lynne
Gold Certified h0c5ds Shopping suburban Des Moines, IOWA: Clive, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Johnston
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Lisa B.
Member

Denver, Colorado
USA
22 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2006 :  08:33:02 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have gotten some better shops since my silver certification. It could just be a matter of timing, but I am probably "going for Gold" in May. There are a lot of shoppers in the Denver metro area!
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Dolores in KY
Apprentice

Berea, KY
USA
3 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2006 :  10:01:44 AM  Visit Dolores in KY's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been shopping on and off for 15 years and decided to get back into the game because I enjoy going 'under cover' so much. I sucked it up and paid for the silver certification since so many companies are now requesting certification information. Granted, it was only $15, but to me the test only gauged basic common sense and how much attention you pay to detail. If you are breathing and have $15, you will be certified. I truly don't see the purpose in certification other than to prove to prospective employers that you are serious about performing MS for them and are willing to pony up the time and cash to prove it.

But, since so many companies are now involved with MSPA, paying for certification is the only way to keep up with the 'competition' and separate yourself from the general MS populace, much like with college degrees. I see this being a major issue in areas saturated with shoppers. If everyone is a silver and someone goes to gold, you have to keep up with the Joneses. I would not be surprised to see 'Platinum' Ph.D. certification sometime in the future.

I can't comment on whether being certified has improved my job contacts or pay scale, I just paid for it yesterday. If it helps my chances, fantastic. If not, I certainly am not going to invest in a workshop to receive gold status. I am just railing in general against the 'pay-to-play' concept that has developed in MS. Who is it REALLY benefitting? Follow the money.

Dolores

MSPA Silver
M.B.A., Business Analyst
Shopping in Berea, Mt. Vernon, Richmond, Lexington, Winchester, Paris, Versailles, Nicholasville and Georgetown. Whew!
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Vivian B
Contributor

Gahanna, Oh
USA
78 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2006 :  11:38:53 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I became a Gold shopper last summer in Cleveland. Since then, I have had a lot of great shops. what I will find interesting is how I will do now that I am back in the field after recovering from a long illness. Thanks to all of you who brought kind words/chocolate during my recovery! I'm most certainly baaaaaaaack!

Vivian B
++MSPA GOLD++
Sailing with Distinction Through Metro Columbus (Ohio) Shops
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Mildred
Contributor

NC
USA
79 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2006 :  06:35:52 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My experience has been that most reputable companies will choose an experienced shopper over a new shopper that has paid the fee to become certified. When the cert programs started I contacted several companies that I had worked with for several years to ask if they would show preference to Certified Shoppers. My answer from each one was no. Recently I did a shop for a company that I had signed up with several months ago, but had never received any offers. One of the questions in the offer email was how long I had been shopping and if I was certified. When she assigned the shop to me she commented they preferred experienced shoppers over new certified shopper. I have never certified because I have been able to get all of the work that I want without it. However, I did contact a company (who will remain nameless) that has been discussed on Volition and rated very high, to find out their view on certification because the information that I saw when I pulled up their enrollment page indicated they gave preference to certified shoppers. The reply that I received was that they do give preference. That is the only company that I have come across that would assign a shop to a new silver certified shopper over one with several years of experience. I am sure that you can figure out that I did not bother to sign up with them. The main thing that deterred me was the comment at the end which stated "I suggest that if you are serious about mystery shopping that you pay the one time $15.00 fee to become silver certified." I estimate that I have done over 6,000 shops and he thinks that a new shopper is more qualifies for a shop because she/he bought a Silver Certificate.
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KimG
Star Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
628 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2006 :  08:37:04 AM  Send KimG an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I sliver certified last year right after I started shopping. I have done some spa shops that can only be assigned to silver or gold shoppers. So, I think the certification probably helps only with the high-end shops.

I wanted to gold certify this year, but the class in Ft Lauderdale is on a day that I already have plans. I thought there was one in Orlando this year, but I either missed it, or it was never scheduled. So, I guess I have to wait until next year, or take a vacation somewhere that there is a certification class.

Kim
silver certified njtwnf
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Ang Harris
Valued Contributor

Maryland
USA
239 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2006 :  2:42:44 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Going for the gold has been a bonus for me. I currently have 5 permanent projects that I work on weekly, monthly and quarterly. Only occasionally will I search the job boards for shops. I also made a great new friend (from another state) at the conference that I share leads with.
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LThurston
Contributor

TX
USA
89 Posts

Posted - 05/24/2006 :  06:34:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have to say I think becoming gold certified has provided me with more opportunities. If nothing else, it gave me additional insight into various items I had been reading on the message boards and I got to meet some very interesting people.

Lisa
MSPA Gold Cert
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Mariya
Member

Collierville, TN
USA
40 Posts

Posted - 05/24/2006 :  2:09:56 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
After my silver certification some sassie companies are sending me works although I am not much lucky to get them.....as they are requested ones.;but wanna mention atleast I am getting offers.
I am really interested to get gold certification...but there are a few hurdles in it this year....But I storgly believe it will worth a lot.
Maria

Maria
Silver certified
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LisaCDuffy
Contributor

Vallejo, CA
USA
64 Posts

Posted - 05/24/2006 :  2:24:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Besides being Silver or Gold certified, I would think how well a shopper writes (among other things), plays an important part in being selected for certain assignments as well...at least I would hope so!

Is my assumption correct?

LisaD - Certified MSPA Gold member shopping since 2005 and LOVING the high-end and entertainment shops!
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LThurston
Contributor

TX
USA
89 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2006 :  06:36:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaCDuffy

Besides being Silver or Gold certified, I would think how well a shopper writes (among other things), plays an important part in being selected for certain assignments as well...at least I would hope so!
I would think your assumption is correct. If you can't complete the forms and write in a profession manner none of the certifications are going to help you.

Lisa
MSPA Gold Cert
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Arla
Star Contributor

Deer Creek, IL
USA
269 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2006 :  7:37:47 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Maybe being Gold is good. As for being Silver, I haven't noticed much difference. I occasionally get offers that say,"because you are silver certified, we have this offer for you." Close to that wording anyway. Everyone has to use their own judgement and do what works for you in the area you may live. Good luck in whatever decision you make.

Arla Ozment
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LisaCDuffy
Contributor

Vallejo, CA
USA
64 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2006 :  7:52:13 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I would like to know, does the certification number stays the same when you move from Silver to Gold? It seems logical that it would, but I need to be sure. I want to get business cards made for the workshop in San Francisco and don't want to waiste money, so I thought I'd print them as Gold certified ahead of time to take with me.

LisaD - Certified MSPA Gold member shopping since 2005 and LOVING the high-end and entertainment shops!
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RebeccaFLGal
Valued Contributor

Palm Bay, FL
USA
103 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2006 :  8:29:54 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The Gold number will be different.

Becky
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LThurston
Contributor

TX
USA
89 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2006 :  06:50:16 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I wanted to take business cards when I went to the gold certification class also to give out to any representatives who might be there. What I did was to list my silver cert. number and then under that I put gold cert-TBA. That way, they know (I hope) that I was at the class. Just my .

Lisa
MSPA Gold Cert
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