One of the best ways job seekers can distinguish themselves from the competition is through professional certifications, which increase knowledge, competency, and credibility. Certifications won’t guarantee a job, but will demonstrate to potential employers that the job seeker is dedicated to continual learning and professional development. Here are four certification areas that will help job seekers obtain employment and advance them in most any industry.
Any business supervisor should consider getting the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Anyone from sales to accounting to manufacturing managers will benefit from this popular project management certification that is widely recognized by most employers. The costs of testing, training, and membership aren’t cheap, so the Project Management Institute also offers alternative advanced project management certificates. Those specifically interested in marketing can obtain the Pragmatic Marketing Institute’s Foundations certification.
Anyone who wants to start out their career as an HR generalist will be expected to obtain and maintain the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification, which offered through the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). The PHR certification is extremely popular because most HR generalists graduate with just a bachelor’s degree. Employers generally don’t require a master’s degree in HR, but they do set HRCI certification as a basic qualification standard. Those with extensive HR training and experience can obtain the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) accreditation.
The IT industry has the most number of available certifications. Because they are so common, some IT professionals downplay their importance, but IT certifications are still very valuable. Because so many IT professionals are self-taught, the IT industry has historically treated experience equal to education. However, IT certifications prove that self-educated students are productive and prepared. Sample certifications include the Sun Certified Java Programmer, Cisco Certified Network Professional, Microsoft Certified Database Administrator and the Symantec Certified Security Engineer.
The health care industry has very high training and education standards. Nurses are expected to have a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) and radiology professionals are expected to have a bachelors in radiologic science. In order to advance their career and maintain state licensure, many health care professionals are required to obtain certifications. For example, there are certifications for medical assistants, lab technicians, and billing and coding specialists. RN’s generally obtain an advanced nursing degree in fields related to pediatric, obstetric or emergency care. Other certifications are offered for administrative assistants, phlebotomy technicians and pharmacy specialists.
Regardless of industry, job seekers should invest the time, money and energy in obtaining standard certifications to improve their marketability and competitiveness.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.