This page provides information about earning a professional certification.
A Professional Certification is a career credential that testifies that an individual has passed specific requirements to prove that the individual is capable or an expert in the area or field of the certification. For example, if an individual has a professional certification in website development, the certification attests that the individual has passed the certification requirements established by the certifying body and is capable or an expert in developing websites.
Contrary to many others, there are only two types of professional certifications, vendor-specific and role-specific. Some organizations claim that "corporate certifications" is a type of professional certification. They are not a type of certification. Certifications offered by corporations still fall under vendor-specific or role-specific even though they are offered by a corporation. The corporation is simply another certifying body.
Role-Specific (profession or skill)
Role-specific certifications include various professions or skills. For example, some professions that have professional certifications include project manager, public accountant, nurse, and many others. In addition, some skills that have professional certifications include computer programming, auto mechanics, and human resource management. Some skill areas can be considered a profession as well as a skill, such as project manager and computer programmer.
Vendor-Specific (product or process)
Vendor-specific certifications are for specific products or processes that are provided by third-party organizations. For example, professional certifications can be obtained for maintaining a specific brand of computer hardware or network equipment. In addition, professional certifications can be obtained for maintaining a specific brand of customer support software or consulting methodology. It is important to note that some vendor-specific certifications can crossover into the area of role-specific certifications. For example, a project manager certification can be obtained for a specific third-party owned project management methodology. Also, a computer programmer certification can be obtained for a specific third-party owned programming language. There are several other examples of this situation.
An individual is awarded a professional certification after completing the requirements of a certifying body. There are a variety of items that may be required to earn a certification, such as education, experience, performing a skill competency assessment, passing a written test, or a combination of requirements. The certification requirements are established by the certifying body that awards the certification. Thus, the requirements established by one certifying body can be vastly different from another certifying body for the same certification.
Professional certifications are usually awarded for a specific period of time, such as 3 or 5 years, at which then they would need to be re-certified. Again, the certifying bodies will establish the requirements for re-certifications. The re-certification requirements usually involve requiring a specific amount of education or experience during the period of initial certification. Once the re-certification requirements have been met, then the re-certification will be issued for another certification period.
There are many benefits to earning a professional certification. The list below is a partial list of the major benefits of earning a professional certification:
Proof of Skill: A professional certification can prove that an individual has the necessary skills for a position. In addition, it shows professional commitment and can add to an individual's credibility.
Increased Competitive Advantage: A professional certification can make an individual more valuable to employers and more competitive for a job position or promotion.
Increased Earning Potential: A professional certification can be a consideration in a higher paying position, salary increase, or promotion.