The Value of Professional Certifications

Next week I will complete re-certification of my CTL (Certified Transportation and Logistics) thru AST&L (American Society of Transportation and Logistics). I believe that professional certifications are a valuable credential. Professionals prefer to do business with other professionals. Chances are if you are looking to hire an accountant, financial planner, or engineer, their credentials are important. Preference would go to the accountant who is a CPA, the financial planner who holds the CFP designation, and the engineer who has earned PE status. Why should the field of transportation and logistics be any different? Before discussing the CTL designation let me comment on certificate programs vs. professional certifications. Most of us have collected a number of certificates from attendance at seminars or training programs. These are all good but do not constitute professional certification. Some of the elements of a true professional certification are:

  • the certification is widely recognized in the field
  • certification is based on testing, research, or other measureable criteria
  • the certifying organization publishes and maintains professional standards of conduct
  • continuing education and/or re-certification is a requirement
  • the certification is “portable”, not tied to a specific company or location

The American Society of Transportation and Logistics (AST&L), founded in 1946, is the premier professional organization for transportation and logistics practitioners and educators. The Certified in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) certification is granted to individuals who successfully complete six exam modules. Three of the modules, Transportation Economics Management, Logistics Management, and International Transport and Logistics, are compulsory. The other three modules are elective and include more specific subject matter and a creative component. Exams are written and graded by well known educators to ensure academic integrity. In 2012, as a member of AST&L’s Education Committee, I participated in creating the CTL re-certification program. In order to maintain certification members must complete 45 hours of continuing education every three years. Credit is earned by various activities including: taking courses, teaching, writing articles, participating in webinars, and tutoring CTL candidates. The CTL is a worthwhile certification to have in the field of transportation and logistics. For info on the program contact AST&L at