Career Certification Programs: Are They Worth It?
To make a long story short…it depends.
Not all certification programs are equal. They range from certification programs that only require you to study some information and pass a test to receive the certificate to more in-depth programs that require years of industry experience in order to qualify for the certificate.
Naturally, the higher-level certifications are more valuable to employers in your particular industry. That being said, the lower-level certifications are not irrelevant. Smaller, test-driven certifications are excellent stepping stones to make your way up to the more complex certifications.
“Ultimately, getting one or two certifications will prove you’re capable of learning and retaining knowledge (or at least passing a test) but several under your belt shows that you’re committed to a career path, well versed in it, and knowledgeable.” —Alan Henry
If you’re unsure about which certifications are worth pursuing in your industry, here are some resources:
Research Current Employees
Look for people who are currently employed in positions that you are aiming for and see what certifications they have. These are the certifications that you may want to consider pursuing to make yourself stand out in your industry. For example, if you notice a recurring certification that many people have, that might be a good one to work towards receiving.
LinkedIn Industry Groups
LinkedIn industry groups are usually very detailed. You can ask professionals within these groups about certifications that they would recommend. Many professionals are more than willing to share their insights and you will most likely receive a quick response.
LinkedIn Company Groups
If you have a specific company in mind that you are pursuing a job at, LinkedIn company groups can also be a beneficial resource. There may be certifications in specific tools or programs that the company you’re applying to uses. These will be listed in company groups – if not, you can always pose a question to professionals within these groups and will likely receive a response.
Professional Groups/Societies in Your Industry
Professional societies can provide you with a wealth of knowledge that can help prepare you for working in a specific industry. Many societies meet up to attend educational seminars and engage in peer-to-peer networking. Most professionals who are members of these societies have a passion for their industry and are excited to share the knowledge they have gained throughout their careers.
“Hottest” Fields for Certification:
- Information Technology
- Financial Management & Planning
- Human Resources
- Project Management