How to Become a Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM): A Quick Guide

by | Knowledge Management

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Knowledge management is critical in today’s competitive business landscape. With 1.1 trillion megabytes of data created daily, businesses need professionals that can organize information and make it useful.

Companies that organize all of this data will have an advantage over competitors—which makes KM certification one of the most valuable and practical certifications you can earn.

In this post, we’ll cover 4 certification options (including the most popular), and what to know about how to become a certified knowledge manager.

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How to become a certified knowledge manager

Most colleges and universities don’t have specific programs for knowledge management, but you can take a few different online or in-person courses to become a certified knowledge manager.

Be sure to select the right certification program based on your company’s chosen knowledge management methodology (if one exists) or tech stack. For example, KCS Methodology is by far the most popular methodology, and the governing body—the Consortium for Service Innovation offers these certifications you may also want to pursue.

There are other certifications available as we’ll cover, but the key is to find the one that will give you the most applicable knowledge as a result of completion. Experience in knowledge management and putting these principles into practice should be the ultimate goal of taking any type of knowledge management training or certification course.

Knowledge management courses vs certification programs

There are a few knowledge management certificate programs and online KM courses that are not well known and likely to be recognized by employers; these program may be worth exploring depending on your career goals.

You should always select courses that cover the basics of designing, implementing, and maintaining an organizational knowledge management strategy that aligns with the knowledge management system and accompanying knowledge management tools you will be using.

Some knowledge management vendors also offer knowledge management courses for free to help you follow KM best practices as you implement or manage their KM software.

Types of KM certifications

Some knowledge management certification courses will quickly familiarize you with the basics of knowledge management as a practitioner, while others are more comprehensive and ideal if you decide to work as a knowledge management consultant.

Below we’ll cover three common certification options so you can decide the one best for you.

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1KM Certifications by the Knowledge Management Institute

The Knowledge Management Institute (KMI) offers a Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM) certificate, their flagship KM certification and widely recognized and accepted in the industry.

The CKM course is designed for anyone who needs to implement or improve their organization’s knowledge management strategy.

You’ll gain a solid foundation in common knowledge management principles and hands-on experience. With this certification, you’ll learn to:

  • Use proven tools to perform knowledge management
  • Bring rapid learning to your company
  • Create a knowledge management vision and strategy
  • Learn the principles of effective knowledge management and how to implement them successfully

You can become a Certified Knowledge Specialist (CKS) if you want a more specialized certification. To get a CKS certificate, you’ll take a foundational course to get your CKM certificate and then choose an area of specialization, including:

  • Agile and Design Thinking
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Information Architecture
  • Social KM: Collaboration and Community Management
  • Knowledge Capture
  • Taxonomy
  • Change Management
  • Creative Knowledge Management

The Knowledge Management Institute offers three main knowledge management certification options overall, including:

  • Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM™)
  • Certified Knowledge Specialist (CKS™)
  • Certified Knowledge Practitioner (CKP™)

CKM certification classes are offered in a virtual classroom environment, in-person training environment, or an asynchronous e-learning version of CKM called eCKM.

CKM vs CKS certifications

A Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM) certification is the base KM certification that covers general theory and practice, whereas a Certified Knowledge Specialty Certification (CKS) is offered as a certification focused on a speciality KM topic like Knowledge Transfer or Information Architecture.

CKM vs KCS certifications

KCS (Knowledge-Centered Support) is a knowledge management methodology that KMI also issues certifications for, separate from a CKM certification. KCS v6 is the latest iteration of this knowledge management service delivery methodology created in 1992; KCS concepts are used many many companies when integrating knowledge bases and other KM tools into company workflows.

2Oracle Knowledge Management certifications

Some vendors like Oracle offer KM certification for those who implement its software, called Oracle Knowledge Management 2022 Certified Implementation Professional. To qualify for this certification, you’ll need to pass a 90-minute exam with a score of at least 64%.

This certification program might be a good option if you know you will work with Oracle software or have experience here.

You’ll learn all stages of the knowledge management process and how to configure and use the Oracle Knowledge Management Cloud application.

3Association for Talent Development KM certificate program

If you work in talent development, The Association for Talent Development (ATD) offers a Knowledge Management Certificate program in addition to their standard certifications. This comprehensive course goes beyond merely teaching how to use different knowledge management applications.

You’ll learn practices that not only collect, organize, and store content but also foster collaboration and provide access to experts. As a part of this certificate program, you will learn to:

  • Identify knowledge management opportunities that you can align with your organization’s business strategy
  • Generate effective performance and learning procedures with a robust training solution
  • To choose the right tools and people to implement your knowledge management strategy

What courses do you need to become a certified knowledge manager?

Every course follows a different syllabus and will vary in what it teaches. However, all programs should cover basic knowledge management concepts. Here are a few we’ve seen:

Overview of knowledge management

  • What knowledge management is
  • Multidisciplinary aspects of knowledge management
  • Different types of knowledge
  • Turning physical assets into knowledge assets
  • Knowledge management perspectives

The knowledge management cycle

Knowledge management is a cycle that describes how knowledge is captured, processed, and distributed. Common topics covered include:

  • Capture and acquire tacit and explicit knowledge
  • Organize knowledge for ease of use
  • Access and share knowledge
  • Use and discover knowledge
  • Learn from your knowledge
  • Create new knowledge

Knowledge management models

There are many different knowledge management models. Your course may focus on just one or provide an overview of several models/methodologies. A knowledge management model provides a structured way of thinking about knowledge management and include guidance on capturing, storing, customizing, and using knowledge.

Knowledge capture

Many courses will cover best practices to help capture tacit knowledge and turn it into explicit knowledge at the individual, group, and organizational level. Knowledge can then be displayed via cognitive maps, decision trees, and knowledge taxonomies.

Knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing is another essential function of knowledge management. It’s the process through which knowledge is communicated to others. You’ll learn about the social function of knowledge and how to set up knowledge-sharing communities.

Knowledge management tools

Knowledge management tools are one aspect of a comprehensive knowledge management system many courses cover. The best KM tools simplify knowledge management and facilitate capturing, storing, sharing, and using your information.

Knowledge management strategy

You’ll learn to develop a comprehensive knowledge management strategy as part of your certification. Developing a knowledge management strategy involves the following steps like performing a knowledge audit and gap analysis.

Knowledge management team creation

Some programs cover essential knowledge management roles and responsibilities within an organization as well as other concepts related to people, including knowledge management ethics.

Prepare for the future of knowledge management

Knowledge management is a rapidly growing field as companies seek to apply big data and artificial intelligence to automate knowledge work. Earning a knowledge management certification can open the door for a rewarding, successful career since many companies need help in this area.

If you plan to work as a knowledge management consultant, familiarize yourself with different knowledge methodologies and best practices; if you already work in KM, it’s best to find the most relevant courses and certifications for the job.

As knowledge management evolves, so will the requirements of the knowledge management software you will implement and maintain. Certifications and experience are a must!

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