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 Is being MSPA Silver or Gold Certified Worth It?
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DanInSK
Star Contributor

Canada
484 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2007 :  09:56:49 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Personally I think the CD version should only be offered to shoppers who live "x" number of miles from the nearest offered workshop. If everyone is offered the CD version then it would water down the value and likely not be as valuable to MSC's.

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Nora
Star Contributor

PA
USA
6341 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  11:17:49 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
How would it water down the value? The more shoppers who reach certification, by any method, the more dilute the value, if value is characterized only by number of certified shoppers. As the ostensible goal of certification is to produce trained shoppers, shutting out shoppers who are interested in certification would be quite counterproductive to that goal.
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Brenda Duran
Member

Franklinton, LA
USA
28 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  2:17:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I see that alot ot you are MSVP certified shoppers may it be silver or gold and I was wondering if anyone of you would mind giveing me the information of a website that I could go toto be able to see about myself in becomeing certified as well. Any insight in this matter would greatly be appreciated. Blessed be.

Brenda Duran
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Aileen M.
Star Contributor

Naperville, IL
USA
410 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  2:22:53 PM  Visit Aileen M.'s Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Duran

I was wondering if anyone of you would mind giveing me the information of a website that I could go toto be able to see about myself in becomeing certified as well.
To be MSPA certified, you need to go through the MSPA's site at mysteryshop.org

Aileen Mullee
General Manager
Ann Michaels and Associates
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1085 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2008 :  09:46:58 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did get silver certified and I have received numerous bonus offers by email and phone just "out of the clear blue."

There have been two companies in particular that I had worked for for two years and I had never had a call from them to personally offer work to me. Both called and offered substantial bonuses for multiple jobs after I got silver certified. I have also received many emails from companies that I had never worked for that said they were needing certified shoppers. I have picked up a lot of work from them.

So, at least initially, I do believe the certification will help you get jobs. After that, your performance I believe is what will count most.

I'm hoping they come up with a way to get Gold Certified without having to travel to a convention. I remember seeing something posted about Gold Certification perhaps being offered online in the future. I would like to hear more about this if anyone has information.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Vonni
Valued Contributor

NC
USA
193 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2008 :  07:23:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Shortly after getting my silver certification, I received a call from a scheduler congratulating me on my accomplishment and offering me a shop with a very nice bonus. I have also received several personal emails (ones that start with "Hi Yvonne") recognizing my silver and offering jobs that I would not have gotten before.

I agree with others who have posted, that I had already learned much of what was on the silver exam just from months of shopping, but I definitely want to go for the gold. The next upcoming conference with the most convenient location happens to fall on my mother's 80th birthday. Do you think the family will understand Probably not. I'll just have to keep trying. I just want to meet some of you Volition folks (shoppers and schedulers) face to face.

Yvonne
Silver Certified
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CDQuiring
Star Contributor

Mountain Lake, Minnesota
USA
1080 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2008 :  07:36:37 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I think a lot of the certification results depend on where you live. I am Silver certified, and have been for over a year, but there are so few shoppers in the area where I live so I don't think it really matters. It you live in an area where there are a lot of shoppers they probably do look at the certification first. I am sure that they would pick someone who is certified first in those areas. I did not see a big increase in the shops I was offered after certification because of the low percentage of shoppers here.

Darlene
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Ms Michelle Riley
Apprentice

Huntsville, AL
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2008 :  9:14:28 PM  Visit Ms Michelle Riley's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just obtained my Silver certification and as a newbie, I appreciated the information provided in the training. I can't say that I learned new information about how to complete a shop. But it did provide me with some key phrases and verbiage that comes in helpful when signing up for new companies. (You know how you're asked to explain why Mystery Shopping is important and why you think you'd be good at it.) The training helped me to better understand what companies are looking for in shoppers.

I plan on going for "the gold" in the next few months. I am getting more assignments and notifications but I can't honestly say that it's because of the certification. It could be because I've been aggressively signing up with new companies.

I also do mobile notary work and I became "certified" because it was offered by an association. There are plenty of my peers who feel as if the certification process (for loan closings) is a hoax and a waste of money but I know for a fact I've gotten more business because of the designation.

Time will tell with the MSPA certification designation.

Thank you,
Michelle
MSPA Silver Certified - February 2008
"Shopping until I drop in Northern Alabama".
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Edwina
Member

Owings Mills, MD
USA
38 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2008 :  6:00:19 PM  Send Edwina an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't know if this helps, but I have been shopping for a few months, making over a thousand a month, without being certified. I shop mostly evenings and weekends. I have found more opportunities than I can keep up with.

I finally decided to get the Silver Certification a few weeks ago because I have run across a few companies that only want certified shoppers. So far, it hasn't improved anything for me. Since getting certified, I've gotten one email from a company that I didn't sign up with first.

If things change in the next few months, I'll let you know.

Thanks.

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HeatherFish
Valued Contributor

PA
USA
122 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2008 :  8:33:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been silver certified for over a year and haven't noticed any difference at all. I still get rejected from the same companies over and over again. I am going to get the gold when this DVD comes out. Maybe it will help.
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JoanG
Valued Contributor

Anaheim Hills, CA
USA
196 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2008 :  9:10:34 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The only benefits I've noticed are that I got an email job offer last week, and it said that the notifications were sent to gold certified shoppers first. The msp also allows gold shoppers to lengthen the reporting timeframe if necessary.

Joan
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MargeI
Star Contributor

Middletown, MD
USA
900 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  07:42:51 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
See my post on Remington Evaluations. They pay extra on every job to Gold shoppers. Some jobs are only available to Gold, I believe.

Also know that I just landed a very well-paying senior housing shop that is only offered to Gold Certified shoppers.
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  08:13:21 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't remeber noticing any difference when I got Silver certified. To me, it was more of a stepping stone to the Gold workshop. Anybody with $15 can be Silver Certified, the test is so basic . So I would not base my opinion of the worth of MSPA certification solely on the Silver online test.
With that said, and I have mentioned it before, being Gold Certified has definitely made a difference to me. As many have pointed out, you get more of the "better" jobs with trying half as hard; some companies will flat out tell you they prefer Gold shoppers; some will even pay you more.
In getting the Gold, I did not want to network (and it did not happen...) or meet company reps (and that did not happen either...), but I rather wanted to show the MSCs I wanted to work for that I was serious about the job and it was more than a cute little hobby on the side. Anyone willing to travel to a workshop (or buy a DVD?), sit through a day-long class (or watch a DVD?) demonstrates a committment to doing the best job possible.
Just my .

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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Nora
Star Contributor

PA
USA
6341 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  10:56:24 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If anyone with $15 can become silver-certified, it is not at all too far fetched to believe that, similarly, anyone with $99 can become gold-certified. This has, in fact, been all but acknowledged by the MSPA in its description of the new certification DVD and its expected shopper failure rate, based on the new test.

It is also not a remarkable stretch to imagine that a fair percentage of conference participants are there primarily to get a number that will arguably move them to the head of the line; it is this likely reality that probably leads to the expressed fear that too many gold certifications will "water down" whatever value does exist. The crux of the certification debate is, at its root, a matter of not "if" certification is worth it, but "why". It is very difficult to correlate a simple willingness to sit through a daylong conference, or a possibly hours-long DVD, with a demonstration of commitment.

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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  11:13:33 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
"It is very difficult to correlate a simple willingness to sit through a daylong conference, or a possibly hours-long DVD, with a demonstration of commitment."

I disagree. What else could it be considered? There is nothing simple about it for those who have gone, only for those who speculate.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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HeatherFish
Valued Contributor

PA
USA
122 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  12:57:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I agree the silver certification is very basic and just about anyone could get one for $15. I don't remember for sure, but I think I completed it in less than a half an hour. Some of the preparation for a shop with tests can take longer than that.

I don't have a gold yet, however, it sounds like there is a lot more work involved. I am going to get it soon to see if it helps with some companies.

With the added work involved, the companies will be more likely to accept you than the silver. The silver does come in handy if no one else applies or other shoppers have no certification.

In just about every field, jobs require you to have more education than what the job entails. Having a higher education distinguishes you from the other applicants because you have proved you are in it for the long haul.
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JanB27
Star Contributor

OH
USA
4831 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  2:49:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
"It is very difficult to correlate a simple willingness to sit through a daylong conference, or a possibly hours-long DVD, with a demonstration of commitment."

"I disagree. What else could it be considered? There is nothing simple about it for those who have gone, only for those who speculate."

Well, actually, I have the Gold and went to the workshop so I'm not just speculating, and I thought it was simple. Now granted, I have completed several years of college and have many life experiences, but there certainly wasn't anything difficult about any of it.

Jan
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  8:20:38 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jan, maybe you were lucky and didn't have to travel, get a hotel, take time off from work or arrange for someone to watch your kids.

But, a lot of shoppers not only lose out on work for the time they are there, but they have had to rearrange several things, not to mention being away from their families.

I think "simple" is a poor choice of words for shoppers who have done all of this to prove their dedication and desire to learn.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Judy
Member

North Attleboro, MA
USA
42 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2008 :  8:39:24 PM  Visit Judy's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Exactly Pam. Was it really necessary to do all of that and go to that expense to become "certified." The next round of "gold certificed" shoppers will have it much easier.
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JanB27
Star Contributor

OH
USA
4831 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2008 :  03:39:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My use of the word 'simple' referred to the test and the information presented at the Gold Workshop. If shoppers choose to spend additional money in order to attend the workshop, causing them stress and/or hardship, that is a choice that each person makes and thus can't be quantified by me. I was referring only to the workshop itself.

Jan
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