Tuesday, May 26, 2015

To certify or not, and when

I'm in touch with two professionals looking to advance in their careers. They're considering certifications to expand their opportunities. With more people earning their degrees, more women entering the workforce, and the workplace being saturated along multiple generational lines, becoming certified is the best path to take.

In many professions, certification is highly recommended. It sets you apart from the have's and have not's in the workplace. Only problem is that it's the last thing on your mind after you have just finished years of academic requirements, or have tuition to still pay for the next few decades. Certifications set employees apart because they require additional costs and commitment to who are the already over-burdened and overcommitted. Anyone who has sat through the CPA or the bar exam can vouch for the pain and frustration required to pass those exams.

But professionals are operating in an increasingly competitive environment. I have heard and read stories from across the generational divide having a tough time finding work. Those who are working wind up becoming unsatisfied with their job for whatever reason. The most cited reason in my presence has been inadequate pay.

Advanced education can be an alternative, but it doesn't serve anyone well if you're not receiving the experience you need to compete and advance. Higher degrees are respected, as do certifications, but the difference between the two is knowledge and practice. Those who are educated read, but those who earn their licenses, do.

There must be a midway in this rush for advancement. If you have the willpower to earn that certification early on in your career, ignore the hounding excuses and go for it. You'll be on your way to accomplishing your professional goals earlier than most of your peers.

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