Certifications are a hot topic in many fields. You may have a colleague who has several certification signatures after their name in an email, or maybe you keep being told about specific certification tests that you should take. Do you want to learn more about job certifications and whether or not pursuing one would be a good fit for you?
There is a lot of information out there, which can be confusing, but one thing is for sure: if you're looking to dive deep into a subject and show that you are an expert in a specific skill set, becoming certified may be a good path.
Depending on the field, these certifications may be acquired rather than or in addition to a conventional college degree. These certifications can also qualify you to bring in a higher level of income.
What are the Benefits of Job Certifications?
So what are the benefits of becoming certified? They are slightly different depending on the field and the specific certification, but there are some overlapping advantages.
Provide an Edge Over Competition
Becoming certified in a specific skill set demonstrates proficiency and education in a particular skill set to potential employers. In many fields, such as tech or skilled trade, employers take pride in having a certain percentage of their workforce certified. If there are multiple applicants for a job that you are applying for, showing that you are certified will automatically give you an edge.
Many are Self-Paced
Life is challenging, and many juggle children, pets, jobs, and other commitments. Sometimes, advancing your education through full-time schooling may not be an option financially or logistically. Fortunately, preparing for certifications is often a self-paced process. Though this depends on the field, many certification paths allow you to study whenever you have time, and the tests can be taken when you are ready.
Show You Take Your Field Seriously
Certification shows a potential employer that you have taken steps to remain up-to-date in your field. Recent certifications will not only demonstrate a deep knowledge of a skillset but also a knowledge of recent developments, as most credentials need to be kept current to help prevent the rejection of your resume.
Boost Limited Experience
If you have not worked in your field for long, you may need more on your CV 'Curriculum Vitae' to showcase the experience and skills required for a specific position.
Becoming certified is a fantastic way to verify that you are serious about the transition and have the required knowledge to excel at a job.
Provide Another Career Path
Are you interested in switching fields completely and need help figuring out where to start? Preparing for and taking a certification is a great way to focus your efforts before applying for new jobs.
Many fields, such as tech, have certification paths you can follow, beginning with initial certifications and continuing to higher-level certifications. These paths provide a way to explore specific topics and choose where you would like to go next on your path to success.
In What Fields Do Certifications Offer the Most Value?
Though you will find certification options in almost any field, there are a few fields where certifications are highly valued. These include the skilled trade fields, technology, and healthcare. Many jobs within these fields can only be performed with the proper certification.
As with any training or educational opportunity, it is important to research specific certifications to ensure that they have a good reputation, as there are certificate programs out there that will not be worth your time.
Jobs under the skilled trade umbrella typically include positions in construction, plumbing, landscaping, or other hands-on fields. Due to the safety issues inherent in these fields and the importance of professionals being well-trained, certification is often required.
Examples of certifications within the skilled trade field include:
Welding Technology Certification
Automotive technology certification
HVAC technician Certification
Fiber Optics Technician Certification
ISA Certified Arborist
Piping Inspector Certification
Air Conditioning Service Certification.
One of the most common fields for certifications is the technology field, especially in security, coding, networking, and cloud computing. You will often see technology professionals with groups of letters after their names, such as C++, CompTIA A+, or CCNA. These codes indicate certifications those professionals have received and maintained over the years.
Because technology changes rapidly, certification in this field is highly valued, as it shows you have kept up with an evolving industry. Certified positions within the tech field tend to be higher-paying positions when compared to other sectors.
Organizations offering certifications in the IT field include:
The medical field is another area where you will find numerous certifications that can be attained. For positions in health care, it is crucial to know that many medical field certifications may require schooling that culminates in a certification exam. Because of this, they may not be as self-paced as certifications in other fields. Below are a few examples of certified positions in the medical field.
Certified Patient Care Technician
Certified Medical Assistant
Certified EKG Technician
Certified Phlebotomy Technician
Certified Professional Coder
What are Examples of High-Paying Certification Jobs?
Most high-paying jobs associated with certification will be found in the tech industry. Below are five high-paying jobs related to certification.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate
Those who receive the AWS Solutions Architect certification will demonstrate that they are adept at managing the Amazon Web Services infrastructure and can pursue an AWS Solutions database Architect Associate career. The average salary for an AWS Certified Solutions Architect is $146,169 per year.
Google Professional Cloud Architect
This Google Professional Cloud Architect certification will prepare you for a Google Professional Cloud Database Architect career, which will involve working with applications that utilize Google's cloud platform. The average salary for a Professional Cloud Architect working at Google is $332,177 per year.
Certified Information Security Manager
When someone works as a Certified Information Security Manager, their role is to ensure that a company's information is secure and provide risk management services. The average salary for a Certified Information Security Manager is $130,645.
VMWare Certified Professional
Becoming certified as a VMWare Certified Professional in Data Center Virtualization shows that you know how to troubleshoot and maintain VMware infrastructure and cloud services. The average salary for a VMware Certified Professional is $100,000 per year.
If you're looking for something outside the tech world, becoming certified as a building inspector is a flexible, hands-on option. Building inspectors inspect residential and commercial structures to ensure they are safe and up to a district's building codes. The average Building Inspector's Salary is $59,177.
What is the Process for Getting Certified?
So, you have decided that you want to become certified to expand your knowledge and provide a boost in your field. Now what? How do you go about getting certified?
Select the Certification You are Going to Pursue
The first step toward certification is deciding what exam you would like to take. Ask others in your field what credentials they have found to be the most valuable. If it is your first certification exam, an intro test may be required before moving to higher certifications. Once you have made that decision, then you are ready to prepare for your test.
Practice for the Certification Test
Depending on what certification you are taking, there are different resources available to you. There may be courses that you can take or study groups you can join to help you prepare for certification.
Check to see if the organization you are certifying with offers practice exams, as these can be a valuable way to start to familiarize yourself with the test material.
Register for the Certification Test
Within the past few years, many organizations have begun to offer virtual testing options, while others will require you to go to a specific in-person testing location. Some tests are offered more frequently than others.
Knowing what dates the test is offered ahead of time is a good idea. Once ready, you can search to determine who administers the test you need and register for a test near you.
Expect test costs to range from about $150 to $600. For example, the current test rate for the CCNA CyberOps certification test is $600 while Microsoft certification tests tend to cost less, at around $165.
Take the Test
When you sit down to take the test, be prepared by ensuring you are familiar with the testing protocol. Some may require you to have nothing but yourself and any tools needed for the test in your vicinity, while others may allow reference materials.
Your test will likely be timed. It is recommended to use the full-time and go back and double-check your answers if you finish early.
Maintain Your Certification
Maintaining your certifications after you receive them is essential so that the credentials remain valid. Many certifications expire after a certain amount of time. Check to see when your certification will expire and the requirements to renew. Be sure to mark your calendar a few months ahead to prepare to get recertified.
If you know that you want to get certified in something but need help figuring out where to begin, taking a career assessment test can help you pinpoint potential jobs based on your workplace personality. Learn more about CareerFitter's career assessment test.
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