Got/want professional letters after your name?

Do you want some more letters after your name?  Do you know all the organisations that offer professional membership for business continuity and crisis management planners?

We know it’s not all about the letters… unless you’re a freelance consultant of a certain type!  But membership of various organisations can help your CV when it’s time to apply for a new role or approach new clients.

The questions are: which membership is going to get you furthest, and is that the best organisation for you?

To help you answer those questions, here’s a run down of the most well known organisations, what they cost, and what you get for your money…

At it’s most basic level, the headlines look like this:

 

Organisation Letters after name How to Apply Price/Year (2012)
Business Continuity Institute (BCI) AMBCI, MBCI, FBCI or SBCI, etc.  Exam and references or ‘alternative route” via other memberships £64-£150$103-$257
Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management (ICPEM) MICPEM or FICPEM  CV approval and references £35-£60$55-$95
Disaster Recovery Institute (DRII) ABCP, CFCP, MBCP, CBCA, CBCLA or CBCV Exam and references Not found on website!
Emergency Planning Society (EPS) MEPS, FEPS Join online £125$198

But what is each one like?  We’ve done some asking around and this is what we’ve been told by others… you can do your own, further research if you’re considering joining any of them!

The BCI appears to be most well-recognised business continuity professional organisation by both professionals and employers alike.  It is based in the UK and it’s aims are to provide a professional network and promote business continuity.  It’s exam is much derided by those who take it: it’s said that exam language is overcomplicated and that there is a lot of semantics in the place of straightforward questions.  The fees for the exam are significant, as are courses for those who prefer to sit a course in order to deal with the overcomplicated exam language (as opposed to reading the Good Practice Guidelines on which the exam is based). Futhermore there is a fee for applying.  Some local ‘chapters’ provide more regular and meaningful meetings than others.  The annual conference has a reputation for being the most significant gathering of professionals during the year, with many overseas delegates joining UK members at the event in London.

In comparison to the BCI, ICPEM is small – along with it’s fees.  It’s aim is to provide a network of professionals and academics to provide a professional network of influence as well as further research and academic study in the field.  It’s application process is by CV approval and references.  There is at least one annual conference that tends to be small and include academics as well as professionals.  ICPEM is an organisation that could have a promising future, and be a serious competitor to the BCI, if it started producing the academic work it strives for in abundance.

The DRII is based in the US.  It was the first well-established business continuity institution that’s still in existence today. (Anyone remember “Survive”, the business continuity organisation that did not??!).  It’s application process is via examination certification and references.  It has a compulsory educational maintenance requirement for maintaining accreditation.

The EPS membership appears to traditionally have been – as it’s title suggests – emergency planners working in the public sector.  It is routed in ongoing education provision.  As the title “emergency planner” has evolved through business continuity to – more so in public service than anywhere else – titles that include the word ‘resilience’ the EPS has not changed it’s name.   This institution is best recognised in the public service sector, particularly the armed forces and local government.

We’re sure there are many differing views out there on these organisations, and these are only ours, which have been informed by colleagues and readers and so on.  If yours are different, please note them in the comments section below!

However, one thing we’d like to point out is that the tangible benefits to members beyond the letters are seen by many as minimal.  The BCI is the only one that lists a page of benefits (though we didn’t find it when we looked, their Executive Director kindly emailed us with the link: http://www.thebci.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=128) .

Members of these organisations are positively encouraged to ensure what you get is worth the money you spend before joining or renewing your memberships, bearing in mind that while some of the benefits are simple recognition of your professional standing, when one pays and organisation for a service, you should be happy you are getting the value you require for your money!

Please feel free to comment on which organisations you feel offer the best professional recognition AND which are best value for money.  They may not be the same ones!

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