Is Your Paycheck Worth Its Weight in Gold or Silver (Certifications)?

If you ask one mystery shopper if a Gold or Silver certification will earn them more money, you may get a completely different answer than what another mystery shopper will tell you. The confusion on certifications is rampant among mystery shoppers. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know about certifications and your paycheck.

More Mystery Shop Assignments? The answer is yes and no. Some providers don’t consider certifications at all in selecting a mystery shopper for an assignment. Providers may use the rotation method or their own internal scoring method to determine who they select for a particular assignment.

On the other hand, some providers do actually pay attention to certifications. If two mystery shoppers request an assignment, they would likely give that assignment to the mystery shopper who is certified over the one without a certification.

If you have been getting assignments regularly from the providers you work with, it is likely that your providers don’t use certifications as a criteria, or don’t put as much weight in certifications as they place on other criteria, like experience and proven reporting skills.

A Higher Paycheck? This again is yes and no. First, the pay for a certain assignment is likely already set long before a provider posts an assignment. If the assignment pays $15, you would not magically earn $20 for completing the assignment with a certification under your belt.

But will you qualify for higher paying assignments? This again depends on the provider. There are quite a few higher paying assignments that are never posted on the job boards. These top-dollar gems are given out discreetly to top mystery shoppers without most mystery shoppers even knowing about them. However, a certification does not necessarily automatically qualify you for these gems. For most providers, you will have a better chance of getting the cushy assignments by simply working hard, completing great reports, and developing a good relationship with your schedulers. For some providers a certification may help, but it’s not a guarantee. The certification in many cases is not a replacement for solid experience and great mystery shopping skills.

When You Should Get Certified. Some mystery shoppers may be having a tough time getting any assignments in their area, much less the gem assignments. In those locations, there may be a lot of mystery shoppers competing for the same assignments, and having a certification may give you the edge you need to get more assignments.

Or the providers you are signed up to work with may be one of those providers who do place weight on certifications. If this is the case, you can either get certified or find some new providers to work with who will throw assignments your way without a certification.

The bottom line is that getting certified may help you get more or higher paying assignments, but there is no guarantee. A certification certainly won’t hurt you and may actually make you a better shopper. So weigh the pros and cons of getting certified wisely.