How can certifications help me move up in my career, and what should I do to get started?
Relevant certifications can be the ultimate equalizer when entering the workforce or attempting to advance within a career field. Employers are continuously looking to develop talent from within and it is important that when those opportunities present themselves that you have the most up-to-date education to meet the needs of the position.
Experience will always play a vital role in the process, but the right certification will certainly help level the playing field if your number of years in the career is limited.
Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1) Utilize your current employer. The key for any successful transition is to have a plan in place prior to setting out on your journey. Meet with your employer and let them know that you are committed to the organization, and would like the challenge of an expanded role and additional responsibility. Work with your employer to create a career development plan that works well for your advancement as well as fulfilling the mission of the organization. There is no better source than your employer for determining what qualifications they will need for their workforce in the future.
2) Do your homework. If you do not have access to internal employer information, don’t worry. There are several other resources available that will help you make the right choice on your career field. CareerOneStop provides a list of occupations that are in demand for all states.
3) Know your community. While statistics are important, it is also critical that you understand your own community’s needs. A great place to network with employers to gain this information is by attending career and educational fairs. You may not be initially hired at these events, but they will help you to understand what employers truly need for their business. Make sure you keep up with the current events of your community as well so that you are aware of any companies that are relocating to or expanding in your area. Generally speaking, expansion and relocation equal job growth.
After you have made the decision to continue your education, there are many choices of schools to attend. CareerOnestop (sponsored by the United States Department of Labor) has an excellent resource you can use to begin your search.
Factors that you want to take into consideration when selecting a training provider are:
- How long will it take me to complete the training?
- How much will it cost?
- What is the student success rate?
- What type of salary will I be able to earn?
Choose your career field and school wisely and make sure your research is thorough before making a decision. In the long run, it will save you time and money, and allow you to make a successful transition into your new career.