APU Careers & Learning Online Learning

The Benefits of Acquiring Certificates and Certifications

I have nearly 30 years of experience working in the private, public and academic sectors. While each of my career moves has been planned, I often attribute my ability to obtain that next great position to my willingness to be curious, ask questions and continually learn.

This flexibility and agility are the chief reasons why I’ve been able to quickly pivot roles when needed and work in a variety of career fields. As a result of the pandemic, many people have had to make changes at a moment’s notice and start a new career. This adaptation means dusting off their resumes and showing the world what marketable skills they possess to acquire a new position.

I’ve hired countless people over my professional career. In some cases, there have been nearly 500 applicants for a single position.

Certificates and Certifications Distinguish You from Other Candidates

When there is tough competition for a job, you and your resume have to stand out. I’ve found that completing a certificate program demonstrates my drive to be a continuous learner and shows potential employers that I have the skillset to excel in a position that requires unique skills.

I relay these career nuggets of wisdom when I mentor other people. I recently had a conversation with a mentee who wants to pursue a new career path.

I told her that I have acquired two certifications in my career: one in project management and one in logistics, transportation, and distribution. Both of these certifications have helped me to acquire exciting positions in vastly different fields.

While I can’t read the mind of a hiring manager, I’ve often been told that certificate programs, like the ones offered at the University, are often a distinguishing factor in the competition to acquire a new job and show your desire to be a continuous learner.

Why Are Certifications and Certificates Important?

In recent years, programs leading to certification have become increasingly popular. Learners of all ages are seeking the specialized training they’ll need to succeed in the workplace.

Also, certifications allow students to obtain workforce-ready skills. With certifications, individuals are better prepared for employment upon completion and possess the skills that employers want. In addition, employers value professionals who proactively seek opportunities to develop their skills and expertise.

Certificate programs provide learners with an opportunity to train and develop a specialized skill set. When you’ve earned a certification, you show that not only do you take your career seriously enough to spend time and money on continuing your education and expanding your abilities, but also that you have knowledge in your field that not everyone will possess.

Workers today realize the value of increasing their proficiency in a particular area and upgrading their credentials. Certification offers a flexible learning path for many students.

Because of the competitive market, professionals must become lifelong learners by seeking out ongoing opportunities for training. Earning certification not only positions you as a leader in your industry, but it’s also an investment in yourself and your long-term career.

Certifications Are Required for Some Positions

In some fields such as cybersecurity, a certification is the industry standard. A certification shows that you have acquired a certain level of knowledge in a particular area.

Certifications are usually offered by a professional organization, company, or academic institution that specializes in a particular field or technology. According to Suzanne Buglione, Principal of Community Build, “Certificate programs of study have been identified as important to adult learners who are focused on workforce development and are concentrated in programs designed to prepare adult learners for specific workforce roles.”

According to CareerQuest Learning Centers, there are four reasons to obtain certification:

1. It’s a stamp of excellence: Certifications tell your employer and coworkers that you are properly qualified for a job.

2. Certification helps you to get hired: Employers looking to hire want you to have knowledge, experience and certifications in your areas of expertise. Some employers use certifications as a job requirement to separate job candidates into “not qualified,” “somewhat qualified” and “best qualified” categories.

3. Certification could help you to earn more money: Certifications also demonstrate that you’re committed to your profession and are willing to invest in your future. Employers are more likely to invest in you if you hold a certification. Some certifications can even increase your salary by 10%.

4. Certification keeps you current with your industry knowledge: Certifications help you stay ahead of the competition. If you truly want to succeed in your career, it is necessary to stay current in all the technologies and regulations that affect your profession. Always keep learning! You’ll create a knowledge base that will make you an asset to your employer far into the future.

The Benefit of Certificates

There are many benefits to earning a certificate. TalentLMS found that when certificates are removed from a worker’s learning experience, course completion rates drop by almost 50%.

The benefits of a certificate program include:

  • It’s a method of continuous education.
  • A certificate provides employees with greater credibility to a potential employer.
  • A certificate can prove useful for employees who are preparing to climb the professional ladder.
  • Certification is personally motivating.

Earning a certificate can also result in employees feeling motivated, engaged and confident in their professional status. 

I’ve taken certificate programs at the University and I also teach the classes for certificates here, so I have a unique perspective on certificates as both an instructor and a student. Our programs are designed for working adults, with flexible start dates and 100% online instruction.

In addition, my certificate classes had a small group of other students with who I bonded, and I remain close to them to this day. Another great advantage is that my instructors could relay information in an easy-to-understand manner and show its application in the real world.

University Certificate Programs

The University’s online certificate programs are ideal if you seek a short academic program focused on career development or knowledge of a specific discipline. You must have your high school diploma or its equivalent before starting an undergraduate certificate program or your bachelor’s degree for a graduate-level certificate program.

The University has a wide array of undergraduate certificates that include infant and toddler care, real estate management and government agency administration. There are also over 50 graduate certificates in various fields, such as digital forensics, leadership and K-12 online learning. The certificates range from 18-27 semester hours (about 6-9 courses), and some credits earned from an online certificate program may be applied toward an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree.

Certificate Courses Help You ‘Look Before You Leap’

Another piece of advice that I give to ambitious mentees is to look before you leap. Certificate programs are a great way to test your readiness for a certain industry field and see if it is a career choice you want to pursue.

Are you ready to take that leap?

Dr. Kandis Wyatt, PMP, is an award-winning author, presenter, and professor with nearly 30 years of experience in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). She is the creator of the Professor S.T.E.A.M. Children’s Book Series, which brings tomorrow’s concepts to future leaders today. A global speaker, STE(A)M advocate, and STE(A)M communicator, she holds a B.S. in Meteorology and an M.S. in Meteorology and Water Resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. She is a faculty member in Transportation and Logistics for the Wallace E. Boston School of Business and specializes in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in transportation, education, and technology.

Comments are closed.