With the economy still recovering from the Great Recession and increased global competition, many disillusioned workers have been left wondering:
"How can I set myself apart within a shrinking job market?" Beyond degree attainment and experience, achieving specialized certification in your chosen field may be your best bet.
Earning certification is a signal to current or prospective employers of your dedication to your craft, and a demonstration of your expertise and experience. It is a validation of your skills and knowledge and it can simultaneously enhance your professional reputation while providing an opportunity for continuing education and professional development.
For service or product-based industries, certification helps demonstrate to consumers the quality of your work.
Another significant benefit (and one most often cited anecdotally) is salary. While earning a certificate in your chosen field is by no means a guarantee of a pay raise, it may raise your salary ceiling and strengthen your negotiating power.
To be true, achieving certification is a process, and one not to be taken lightly. Depending on your industry, it could mean passing challenging field assessments or certification exams. In some fields, candidates may need to undergo a rigorous application process through an industry-specific certification agency or may have to win over a panel of their peers with a presentation of their work portfolio.
And the market for certification is larger than ever, with employers placing continued emphasis on advanced skills in global business management, project management, information technology, skilled trades and other fields to more modern ones in sustainable and green energy or next generation design.