Do You Need a Certification to Get a Better Job?

Nancy Anderson
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If you're trying to find a better job, you might be wondering how to get a leg up on the competition. Do you need more experience, a better network or a resume overhaul? The job market is constantly changing, and you want to be relevant and hire-worthy. Getting the proper credentials with some type of certificate program might be one way to secure a better job, but how do you know it's worth it?

Is It Required?

One question you want to ask yourself is if the better job requires some type of certificate or licensure. For example, teachers in elementary or high school need a certificate to teach, and doctors need a license to practice medicine. If you want to work as a truck driver, driving big rigs, you need a commercial driver's license to operate a vehicle over a certain weight rating. If a certificate is required for the profession you want to pursue, then you must take the necessary steps to earn that certificate. Read any job postings in your desired field very closely, determine whether holding a specific certification is necessary. Generally, if a certificate is required, such as a certain college degree or U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration training, it will be listed in the job posting.

Sometimes, a certificate is more of a recommendation than a hard requirement when you're trying to find a better job. If you work in the financial services industry, you may want to showcase your expertise and industry knowledge by earning your Certified Financial Planner certification. Being a CFP professional gives you credibility, and a financial firm may want to capitalize on that expertise and credibility by hiring a planner who holds that certification. However, the certification might not be a requirement; it just gives you an advantage over other candidates.

Is It Legit?

You can usually find some type of certificate program on the internet for a variety of skills. But is it legit, or is it name only? Does having the certificate indicate you have any more expertise or credibility than some random guy off the street? Look for certifications offered by well-known industry organizations, universities and companies. If it's some program you've never heard of before and you can't find much about past participants or information on the program on the internet, chances are it isn't going to be worth the cost, which is another factor you need to take into consideration. Are you going to get a return on your investment with a better job if you spend the money and effort to earn the certificate? Higher-level certificates are also more valued, although lower-level certificates might be helpful if you're just starting out and trying to secure an entry-level position.

If you decide that a certificate is the best way to nab a better job, you also want to find out about recertification and how long your credentialing will last. Spend some time researching the industry in which you want to work, and find a certificate that will advance your career and be worth the investment.

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