Question from a shopper:
I am a new secret shopper. I would like to get Silver Certified, but because I have just started mystery shopping I am concerned that I do not yet know enough to pass the test.
How long should I wait (or how many mystery shops should I do) before I complete the Silver Certification?
I get this question a lot, and the answer is simple.
MSPA Shopper Certification (both Silver andGold) is a training program. You do not need to be an experienced mystery shopper to register for certification. The certification program will teach you what you need to know.
The idea behind certification is to provide a level of education for mystery shoppers, whether they are brand new to mystery shopping or have years of experience. Testing is included as a part of certification to verify that you have retained the information presented.
The MSPA Silver Certification consists of a series of lessons you complete online. Each lesson is followed by a multiple choice quiz you must pass. After completing all of the lessons, you immediately receive your certification code.
The Gold Certification is more involved. You must attend an in-person workshop or view the lessons on the Gold DVD. Afterward, you complete a three-part test. One part is multiple choice, one is an observation test (where you complete sample questions that might be found on a typical mystery shop report) and the third requires that you write a brief narrative. Because the Gold test is human graded, it can take a few days to get your certification code. The Gold Certification is harder to obtain than Silver, and it has a higher value to mystery shopping companies.
So, should you get certified right away or should you wait? My opinion is that anyone who believes they would like to be a mystery shopper should get Silver certified. The program is a great introduction to the basics of mystery shopping, it doesn’t take a lot of time or cost a lot of money, and it is a credential recognized by most MSPA member companies.
Once you have done a bit of mystery shopping, you should consider Gold certification if you would like to upgrade your skills and potentially improve the number and types of shops for which you are eligible. Many companies first offer preferred and high-end shops to Gold Certified mystery shoppers.
Although no company requires that you complete MSPA certification to receive assignments from them, having either Gold or Silver certification can make it easier to get your first assignment from a company, or to become eligible for better assignments. Certification opens the door. After that, it’s up to you.