Professional certifications are vital additions and improvements to your resume. In fact, the right professional certifications can help you qualify for higher-paying jobs or break into new industries even if you don’t have a specific degree.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current position or switch careers, you need to know about the most in-demand professional certifications you can get ASAP. Let’s take a closer look.
What are professional certifications?
Professional certifications are credentials you earn through short-term classes or programs, depending on the subject matter. Once you earn a certification, you can put it on your resume, join certain organizations and qualify for different positions.
As an example, you may need a professional certificate to become a project manager at your current place of employment. To become a certified professional, you’ll attend a certification program from an organization like Google.
Think of professional certifications as extra qualifying credentials on top of degrees. In many cases, degrees are combined with certifications to show that a job candidate has the skills and practical expertise to fulfill a position’s requirements.
Professional certifications typically take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to earn (although a few may take several years), and some just require you to take a test without completing a program beforehand. A certification exam covers the fundamentals of the topic and lets you demonstrate competency. They’re often required for certificates in information technology, healthcare and business management.
Many professional certifications require several years of experience or a degree before you can apply for them. Completing online courses also allows you to qualify for critical career path certificates. Organizations like the Project Management Institute offer certification courses for professional development and continuing education purposes.
Related: Get CompTIA-Certified on Your Own Time and Kickstart Your IT Career
Why do you need professional certifications?
You may need a professional certification for a variety of reasons, including:
- You want to progress your career. Some high-level and high-paying positions in your field may require you to have one or more certifications on top of a degree and several years of experience.
- You want to enter a new field or industry. In some cases, a certification can stand in as a degree if you already have a bachelor’s in another major. For instance, if you have a bachelor’s degree in English but you wish to become a teacher, a teaching certification could qualify you for teaching positions.
- You want to maximize your salary potential and resume attractiveness. Simply put, if you wish to earn a promotion or qualify for a higher pay grade, you might need a professional certification so management can justify the pay raise.
- You just want to learn more about your field or a specific subject. Since professional certification programs take less time to complete than degree programs, they are optimal opportunities to learn more about a particular topic without committing a few years of your life to the process.
For these reasons and more, you might want to know about the most in-demand professional certifications to pursue. However, you should look at factors like pricing, continuing education units and more to find the right certification for your needs.
Related: Climb Up the Career Ladder with This Certification Training
Top 9 in-demand professional certifications
Good news: there are dozens of different professional certifications you can earn in the near future. However, it’s wise to prioritize your professional certification education.
To that end, here are nine top professional certifications that should help you in a variety of different industries and jobs.
1. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Project management is one of the most in-demand skill sets in business, finance, technology and more. If you want to become a supervisor or manager in any capacity, you’ll need a certificate proving you have the skills needed to succeed.
That’s where the CAPM certificate comes in. This associate-level certification is perfect if you still need to gain experience managing company projects. You need 1,500 hours of project experience or 23 hours of project management education. Then you’ll need to pass a 150-question exam and pay a fee of up to $300.
2. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Another good project management certificate to complete is the PMP certification. This advanced certification is perfect for professionals with project management experience. It marks you as a capable project management specialist, and it requires 7500 hours of project leadership experience. If you have a four-year degree, you can cut down the hours requirement to 4500 hours instead.
You’ll also need 35 hours of education project management. Pass the 200-question exam and pay the fee of up to $555, and you’ll get the certificate in no time.
3. IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA-AAC)
Business analytics is a growing field, and it’s no surprise why. Businesses need a lot of data to understand their customers, and those who can analyze that data are invaluable employees.
To prove your data analytics skills, consider pursuing the IIBA Agile Analysis Certification. This standalone certification designates you as an adaptable, high-performing data analyst in changing and evolving environments. To acquire this certificate, you’ll need to finish an 85-question exam in two hours, plus pay the exam fee of up to $525.
Notably, you don’t have to complete any eligibility requirements besides two to five years of agile-related experience. To maintain this certification, you must pay for recertification every three years.
4. Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
Aspiring or current supply chain managers should consider the CSCP certification. This is a globally recognized supply chain certificate proving you are a credible, experienced supply chain management specialist.
Fortunately, many supply chain professionals will already have most of the requirements needed to acquire this certificate. You need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, at least three years of related business experience and at least one other approved certification. Then you just need to pass the exam after paying a fee of up to $969.
5. CompTIA A+ Technician Certification
IT professionals can often benefit from pursuing certificates that prove specific skill sets. The CompTIA A+ Technician Certification is perfect for beginning workers who want to get into the technology field without formal computer science degrees or education.
When you graduate from this certification program, you’ll be able to troubleshoot technology of all types. It’s a perfect certificate for pursuing support specialist or help desk technician positions, plus it qualifies you for further on-the-job training. You need to pass the written exam and pay a minor fee to acquire this certificate.
6. SHRM-CP Certification
Every business needs a team of human resources professionals. The SHRM-CP certification could qualify you for open HR positions, and there are other good reasons to pursue this human resources certification as well.
For example, HR professionals with this certification have more credibility than others, qualifying them for higher-value positions. Once you have this certificate, you’ll likely also earn 14% to 15% more than your peers. In other words, it’s a fantastic progression certificate to pursue if you know you want to stick with the HR field.
To get this certificate, you should apply for the program and study for three to four months before taking the exam. It takes about four hours to complete, but most candidates complete the exam and earn their certificates before the allotted time expires.
7. Google Digital Marketing and eCommerce Professional Certification
Google offers a handful of very desirable certificates as well. One of them is the Digital Marketing and eCommerce Professional certificate, which is split into seven courses with distinct focuses. These help you develop new insights and knowledge into digital marketing and online commerce strategies for your brand.
It’s a go-to marketing certification choice for those who want to become digital marketers without marketing degrees. It takes about six months to complete with 10 hours of study per week, and you have to pay $39 monthly for a Coursera subscription. Still, this adds up to less than $300 over the six-month timeframe for most students.
8. Google Project Management Professional Certificate
Then there’s the Google Project Management Professional Certificate: another in-demand certificate to pursue for project management specialists and team leaders across industries. The certificate program includes 140 hours of instruction and many different practice-based assessments.
Upon completion of this certificate program, all students can apply for jobs at Google and many other employers throughout the US. It takes about six months to complete and once more, you need to pay a $39 per month fee for Coursera’s subscription.
For this program, you can take advantage of financial assistance from Google. All in all, it’s a great certificate to pursue for middle-level managers wanting to increase their skills and job responsibilities.
Don’t forget to check out Google’s other certificates in Google Analytics, Google Cloud security and machine learning and more.
9. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is a stellar choice for future data scientists and IT professionals. It doesn’t require any prior knowledge of computer science or programming languages, and it entails nine courses in total.
Not only will completing this certificate program qualify you to work in entry-level data science jobs, but you’ll also get an IBM digital badge. You can add this to your portfolio and resume, making you more likely to be hired. You can even earn up to 12 transferable college credits since the lessons are ACE recommended.
To complete the program, you’ll need to take about 11 months of study. You’ll also need to subscribe to Coursera for $39 per month. In total, expect to pay around $429 for 11 months of study.
Related: 4 Benefits of Earning a Certification in Your Field of Expertise
Get the certification you need to propel your career
Ultimately, any professional certification could be just what your professional portfolio needs.
Some other excellent professional certifications that look great to potential employers include:
- SEO certification.
- AWS fundamentals certification.
- Social media marketing certification.
- SFP (Sustainability facility professional) certification.
Consider acquiring one or several certifications in the near future, and fuel your career.
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