Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Claretha Hughes

Committee Member

Betsy Orr

Second Committee Member

Vicki M. Dieffenderfer


Education, Business education, Employability, Human capital theory, Human resource development, Industry certification, Self-regulation


Forrier and Sels (2003) define employability as “an individual’s chance of a job on the internal and/or external labor market” (p. 106) and is important (Wittekind, Raeder, & Grote, 2010). Possessing an industry certification may be considered an example of human capital skill. The human capital theory suggests qualifications, knowledge, skills, and experience of individuals may lead to increased earnings or productivity (Becker, 1993; Rosen, 1987; Schultz, 1971). As such, the human capital theory provides a framework for studying perceived employability (Wittekind, Raeder, & Grote, 2010; Verhaar & Smulders, 1999) as associated with IC3, MOS, and ACA industry certifications.

Randall and Zirkle (2005) suggested that entry-level certification is promoted as a “vehicle to provide students with viable skills needed by the workforce, to satisfy state skill standards, and to prepare students for postsecondary studies” (p. 287). Beyond intrinsic pride in one’s accomplishment and praise received from classroom teachers, there is a need to make the connection for how industry certification relates to employability. Therefore, gaining a better understanding of how achieving industry certification relates to employability opportunities in Arkansas will provide certification candidates with more concrete answers to possible essential questions such as “why should I be certified” and “how am I going to use this certification.”

The purpose of this study was to investigate how achieving IC3, MOS, and ACA industry certification relates to employability opportunities in Arkansas as perceived by human resource (HR) and information technology (IT) professionals. To narrow the gap in the knowledge regarding employability implications for certification holders in the state of Arkansas, a convenience sample of HR and IT professionals was used. Participation was voluntary. Instrumentation was based upon CompTIA’s (2011) Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification. CompTIA is the Computing Technology Industry Association; a non-profit trade association. Research questions addressed familiarity with IC3, MOS, and ACA certifications, perceptions regarding preference for candidates possessing certification, compensation for certification credentials, and value placed upon certification credentials.