Good news, bad news, and a warning about mystery shopping certifications.

With so much economic turmoil today, mystery shoppers everywhere are looking for ways to make more money. You may be looking at picking up extra assignments or traveling outside your normal mystery shopping territory to make more money. You may also have thought about getting certified through the Mystery Shopping Providers Association as a way to earn some extra cash. Most mystery shoppers have mixed feelings about mystery shopping certifications, which begs the question – is a certification really going to help you earn more money? The simple answer is – yes and no.

The Bad News. The truth of the matter is that many mystery shopping providers do not take into account whether a mystery shopper is certified or not when they accept new mystery shoppers or when they dole out assignments. So with this group of providers, you unfortunately will not have any special consideration given to you for being certified.

The Good News. There are a number of mystery shopping providers that do take into account a mystery shoppers credentials or certifications, both when accepting new mystery shoppers into their fold as well as when assigning job assignments. With these providers, you will definitely benefit by getting a certification.

The trick, of course, is determining which providers place emphasis on certifications. The best bet is to check the vast amount of information available on the mystery shopping forums. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, feel free to post a question on-line and a get personalized response for the information you need.

And The Extra Bonus. There is more to getting certified than simply paying a fee. When you sign up for the certification, you actually have to take a class. The class is designed to improve your skills as a mystery shopper, as well as develop your strategies and techniques.  So whether your provider pays you more for being certified or not, or whether you get more assignments due to your certifications or not, most likely a certification will improve your technique and skill as a mystery shopper. When you do a spectacular job on your assignments, providers will choose you for their cream assignments. You will also be chosen over other mystery shoppers for assignments you request, and you may be offered assignments before they are offered to the general mystery shopping public. So through the improved skills you will get by getting certified, you should see some additional income.

A Warning. Keep your eye out for false certifications. The only certifications that legitimate providers care about are those obtained through the Mystery Shopping Provider’s Association. There’s no doubt you will stumble across dozens of websites offering you a certification, but pass over all certifications from sources other than the MSPA to avoid wasting unnecessary time and money.

Getting certified is relatively inexpensive, and the time commitment is fairly negligible. If you are serious about improving yourself as a mystery shopper, make the effort to get certified and soon enough you will be reaping the financial rewards of your efforts.