Professional credentials are earned and are awarded by an academic institution or a recognized professional organization to verify one’s professional qualifications and competence. They attest to a formal process and successful completion of set forth criteria by schools, universities and professional organizations.

Credentials also provide a trusted measure of professional credibility to the public. Once earned, the designated letters of one’s credentials are placed after one’s name.

One cannot create their own credentials by selecting letters to place after their name. Using self-assigned letters or acronyms after one’s name as a means to advertise to the public an implied specialty in one’s field is fraudulent, and may be subject to disciplinary action by state licensing boards.

In the realm of orofacial myofunctional therapy, the COM™ credential, issued by the IAOM, is a recognized and legitimate credential awarded to those qualified licensed healthcare professionals who have successfully completed a certification process that involves passing both written and clinical examinations, significant hours of continuing education, and have demonstrated proficiency in this area of specialty. For those IAOM members in training and prior to certification, it’s best to identify with “in training to become an orofacial myologist” after one’s RDH/SLP credentials.