Trying to get a leg up on the career ladder is challenging no matter your experience level, and with competition around every corner, making your resume stand out above the rest can prove difficult. One way to give your skill set a boost, as well as your resume, is to earn certifications relevant to your career field. To help determine what certifications might be right for you, here are a list of popular certifications organized by career field.
Human Resources (HR)
If you are in the HR field, certifications are accredited by the Human Resources Certification Institute ( HRCI ) or Society for Human Resource Management ( SHRM ) for the U.S., and Human Resources Professionals Association ( HRPA ) for Canada. All certifications require a specific amount of course work, followed by an exam.
Associate Professional in Human Resources™ ( aPHR™ ) – This certification is perfect for those just entering the HR field. To be eligible to take the exam, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. For advanced HR certifications, check out the Professional in Human Resources® ( PHR® ) or the Senior Professional in Human Resources® ( SPHR® ).
Certified Human Resources Professional ( CHRP ) – This designation is for those entering the HR field. To be eligible, nine subject areas of coursework must be completed at an approved educational institution within 10 years of entering the certification program. For advanced HR certifications, check out the Certified Human Resources Leader ( CHRL ) or the Certified Human Resources Executive ( CHRE ).
Recertification usually requires you complete a certain number of continuing educational units (CEUs). Earning the required number of hours can be easier than you think. Look for webinars, seminars, and conferences that offer HRCI, SHRM, or HRPA credits, that upon completion of the program, provide a code to submit to your accrediting organization.
Certified Professional Sales Person ( CPSP ) – Accredited by the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP), this six-week certification is offered online and provides key competencies in the sales and buying processes. No matter your level of experience, this certification is sure to improve your sales skills.
Other sales certifications to consider are the Certified Professional Sales Leader ( CPSL ), the Consultative Sales Certification ( CSC ), the Certified Sales Development Rep ( CSDR ), and the Certified Consumer and Small Business Sales Professional ( CCSB ), just to name a few.
Professional Certified Marketer® ( PCM® ) – Offered by the American Marketing Association (AMA), PCM® certification is available in several specialized tracks, including Digital Marketing, Sales Management, Content Marketing, and Marketing Management. While there are no prerequisites, AMA recommends that a marketer interested in receiving any of these certifications have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and four years of professional marketing experience. At the conclusion of each program, participants are required to pass a lengthy multiple-choice exam with an overall score of 80% or higher.
Certified Marketing Specialist™ Designation ( CMS ) – Provided through the Canadian Marketing Association ( CMA ), this designation requires the completion of five marketing certificate courses. These courses are offered online three times a year and take 10 weeks to complete. Those who earn this designation will have a full understanding in digital analytics, digital marketing, digital marketing strategy, integrated branding, and marketing math.
The American Institute of CPAs ( AICPA® ) offers 19 certificate programs in various accounting and taxation fields including auditing, forensics, risk management, life planning, and technology. Upon completion of a certificate program, the participant is awarded a digital badge that can be used in various ways, including on a LinkedIn profile. These programs are offered online via self-study or through a webinar series on specific dates and times.
The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation ( ACAT ) offers four credentials that can boost your resume. These credentials include the Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor (ABA), Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP), Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA), and the Accredited Retirement Advisor (ARA). The ABA and ATA require three years of professional experience before a candidate can use the designation. All of the ACAT certificate programs require candidates to pass an exam that is administered in-person at various locations across the country.
Said to be the voice of the world’s information technology industry, the Computing Technology Industry Association ( CompTIA ) offers certifications in four tracks: Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Additional Professional. The 13 credentialed programs within these tracks offer something for everyone, from the most novice developer to the most experienced IT professional. To earn a credential, candidates must pass a timed exam containing approximately 90 questions and pass with a score of around 750 on a scale of 100 – 900, depending on which exam is taken.
Other Certifications to Consider
Project Management Professional ( PMP )® – Recognized in virtually every country and in most industries, PMP® certification holders typically see a 20% increase in pay over those who are not certified. Other project management certifications include, Program Management Professional (PgMP)®, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®, and the Project Management Institute Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)® to name a few. All certification programs require a high school diploma or equivalent and thousands of hours of project management experience.
Certified World Class Assistant ( CWCA ) – This designation is the culmination of the World Class Assistant™ curriculum which is designed for administrative assistants. Candidates attend live classes with a highly-skilled facilitator. This three-day training is said to provide graduates a life-changing experience as it transforms the way one thinks.
Certified Administrative Professional ( CAP ) – Designed specifically for administrative professionals, the CAP covers six topic areas that are broken down into measurable performance outcomes. To be eligible to take the exam, candidates must have a minimum of four years of relevant work experience. To receive a CAP designation, candidates must pass a timed exam that is administered at an approved proctored testing center.
Not sure what certification program is right for you? Try out this handy online certification finder tool offered by CareerOneStop. Before investing your own money to earn your credentials, ask your benefits administrator if your company offers an educational reimbursement program, as these programs can be pricy.