If you’ve ever filled out a job resume or even applied on the popular employment site, Indeed, you might have come across a section titled, “certification.” If you’re not entirely sure what that is, don’t sweat it; A certification is basically a type of credential you receive to show specific knowledge or a specific skill. It’s different from a degree in that certificates take way less time, usually less than a year versus degrees, which can take up to two years or more. Degrees also make you take classes in general education while certificate programs target very specific areas of study. So, now begs the question: does having a certification help you advance in your career? Let’s run through 6 questions to help you decide…
- Do you want to change your career?
- Do you want to make supplemental income?
- Are there further learning options available in your field?
- Are you interested in working remotely?
- Do you have extra time to invest in doing so?
- Are you ready to commit the time to learn and develop?
Some Things to Consider
The first question you want to consider is “do I want to change my career?” Although there are many different types of certificate programs from construction to cosmetology, the majority of these programs can be broken down into fields such as administration, health care, and information technology (IT). So, if you are considering making a change to your career and are interested in one of these subject areas, you should be one step closer to making a decision.
Are you happy with the salary and the hours you’re working now or would you like to supplement your income somehow? Many of these certificate programs allow you to quickly acquire training in a field like Web Design, for example, that you can work from home and work the hours you want to get extra income flowing your way. Many of the IT career paths offer this kind of flexibility when deciding to supplement your income.
Another aspect to consider is “are there further learning options available in my field?” For example: if you work in IT as a certified project manager making around 100k, but there are opportunities to advance training by becoming certified in Data Analytics or Information Systems Security making 14-17k more a year; then that would be an incentive to further your learning in the same field.
Sometimes the question is “would I rather work from home?” This is usually the case with people switching to careers in IT, in which you have the option to work at home from a computer. If working from home is more convenient for you, then consider getting certified in one of the many options IT has to offer. Google offers a variety of certifications that can pay upwards of $130,000 a year.
Making the Decision
Now that you’re close to making a decision, you have to consider time. Do you have the time to invest in a certificate program? Although it does not take as long as a degree, it still requires time and effort to receive specialized training in one of these programs. If you have the additional time on your hands to spend studying and learning a new trade, this is a great opportunity to invest that time into something that is going to make your future more abundant and successful!
Lastly, are you ready to commit? You’ve already thought it out (the pros and cons). So are you ready to make a decision and stick by it? That’s the next thing you have to ask yourself. You’ve decided you have the time, so now you have to put in the effort. If you are ready to grow and start furthering your education in a field you may already be working in and are passionate about, there’s no need to question it any further: certify your way to a brighter future!