What is a professional certificate?
A professional certificate is a credential provided to an individual after the completion of a standardized certification course and exam. This certificate provides evidence to potential employers that the individual has a quantifiable understanding of their field of work. These certificates are especially important if your career path doesn’t require a degree. With a certificate, you can demonstrate that you are a trained professional in your field and hold important hard skills to potential employers.
What are the benefits of getting professional certifications?
There are lot of benefits to getting professional certifications in certain industries like IT, marketing or business management. Some of these benefits can include:
Many employers are willing to offer higher pay to candidates who have certain certificates. The reason for this pay increase is that these candidates won’t require as much on-the-job training as those without certification.
If you find a career that you enjoy, deepening your understanding of your field by acquiring professional certificates may allow you to advance in your career.
When multiple applicants have the same credentials, employers can have a difficult time deciding who would be a better fit for their company. In this instance, having the right certifications could help you edge out your competition.
Sometimes companies will require their employees to take certification courses to deepen their understanding of the work they do. In these instances, your employer may reimburse you for the cost of your certification.
How to decide if certifications are worth for your career
One of the quickest ways to stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs is to acquire certifications that highlight your area of expertise and add value to your education or experience level. Follow these steps to decide if a professional certificate is worth your time and money:
1. Determine your career path
Certain careers, like medical transcriptionist or veterinary assistant, require certifications to get into the field. In these instances, you may want to consider complementary certifications to show potential employers that you have are willing to invest your time to improve your expertise in your field. On the other hand, if you’re in a field like IT or web development that allows an individual to take an entry-level job without credentials, you may want to research relevant certifications that can help you stand out from other applicants.
2. Look for accredited certificates associated with your career
Not all certificates have equal value. When choosing the right certification program, make sure that it’s accredited. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of time and money on a certificate that has little or no value to employers.
3. Decide how much you want to invest
Some professional certification courses can take as long as two years and could cost thousands of dollars. Before deciding which course to take, think about how much time and money you’re willing to invest.
4. Think about your future goals
As with so many other aspects of your career, it’s important to keep your goals in mind when making the decision about which certificates you should get. If you are just starting out in your field, you may want to get an industry-wide certification to give your career path flexibility. On the other hand, if you have been with your employer for a long time and would like to advance within the company, you may find more value in getting a company-specific certificate that shows your commitment to your current employer.