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Navigating the world of professional certification and training options, alongside other dispatches from the new global workplace.

The American Gem Association Certified Sales Professional

Saturday 23 November 2013

Jewelers, like car dealers, don't have the most, um, sterling reputation for integrity and ethics.  Markups can be quite high, and jewelers are notorious for using technical terms that the public only vaguely understands to try to squeeze a few extra bucks out of customers who might be too madly in love to make rational decisions - or, in my experience, if simply getting a watch one bought at Sam's Club [a major US discounter] repaired.  ("You should know, sir, that your watch is grey market!")  However, one organization is trying to raise the bar in this industry.  Their starter designation for most retail jewelers is the Registered Jeweler, though attaining this credential requires more than simple registration - you have to complete coursework and "classroom study" (so, I guess, you can't just skip ahead to the quiz section, as you often can do in online learning).  My guess is that the average consumer doesn't really know the difference between the different levels of the American Gem Association's certification options, so one simply looking to convince consumers of their credibility could probably stop there. However, for those committed to the profession there are also higher-level and specialist certifications available: the Certified Gemologist, the Certified Gemological Appraiser, and the Independent Certified Gemological Appraiser (for those who do not work in sales).

The Certified Sales Associate seems to be the least stringent credential on the AGS ladder, requiring only the completion of a course offered by AGS.   It does not seem to require the positive affirmation of any ethical codes, so in and of itself it is not a guarantee that you are working with an "honest" dealer.  And, it is arguably more of a "certificate" than a "certification" insofar as it is awarded on the basis of the completion of a course of study, but is not really an endorsement on the part of the AGS of the certified individual's commitment to the trade or professional achievement.  Nonetheless, it is a laudable effort to improve the quality of services provided, and, for $269, seems like a reasonable investment for those committed to the business.

1 comment

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