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The 8 Best Certifications for Career Advancement

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Whether you’re seeking new opportunities within your current company or you’re interested in a change of employers, upgrading your credentials is a great way to advance your career. You can pursue numerous certifications, depending on your current area of expertise or the field you want to enter.

Getting certified in a specific area provides you with validation of your capabilities. Your employer, current or future, will see your credentials as an indication of your willingness to learn and may consider your specialized training a valuable asset to their organization.


The 8 Best Certifications for Career Advancement

The following certifications can help you advance your career. There are four categories of credentials in this article:

Human Resource Certifications

The certifications that are listed below have different requirements for work experience based on the type of degree you have. Before selecting a certification to pursue, ensure you are aware of the prerequisites.

If you find the requirements overwhelming, consider other courses you can take. You may be wondering if a Coursera certificate can get you a job.

1. Society for Human Resource Management – Senior Certified Professional

Being the most recognized HR organization allows the Society for Human Resource Management to enforce strict criteria for their certifications. If you possess a Master’s degree in HR, you need three years of work experience before applying for accreditation. You’ll need four years or more of work experience in the field if you have a bachelor’s degree.

The Senior Certified Professional accreditation isn’t a course you enroll in; instead, it’s a four-hour exam with scenario-based and knowledge-based multiple-choice questions. At the time of writing, the pass rate is approximately 50%. This certification is best for HR professionals that already have other credentials.

2. Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional

You may consider this certification if you’re an HR professional beginning your career. Candidates with a Master’s degree can take the exam immediately, providing they’re currently employed. Those with a Bachelor’s degree need one year of work experience in the HR field. Like the Senior Certified Professional credentials, there isn’t a course to take, just a four-hour exam. The pass rate on this exam is 70%.

The certified professional designation from the Society for Human Resource Management is beneficial for HR professionals who mainly work in operational positions such as:

  • Policy and procedures
  • Employee relations coordination
  • Day-to-day administrative duties

Project Management Certifications

Regardless of your industry, having a project management certification can give you an edge over other applicants when you’re looking for a job or put you on the radar for a promotion in your current job. If you’re on the fence about pursuing a project management course, you may want to learn why you should go for PMP certification to advance your tech career.


3. Project Management Professional

Your PMP certification proves you have the project leadership skills that hiring managers are looking for. Project professionals created the program for project professionals, and its completion indicates that you have skills in:

  • People: focusing on interpersonal skills needed to lead a project team effectively in an environment that is constantly changing.
  • Process: emphasizing how using technology can help you successfully manage your projects.
  • Business environment: highlighting the connection between the organizational strategy and the projects you work on.

Putting your PMP certification on your resume demonstrates you have specific capabilities that employers are looking for, including the ability to perform at top levels and a commitment to excellence.

4. Professional in Business Analysis

The role of a business analyst is becoming a critical element of project management. Getting certified as a Professional in Business Analysis can feature your valuable capabilities if you work with stakeholders to determine required resources, shape project results, and drive desired business outcomes.

The exam contains 200 multiple-choice questions, and you have four hours to complete it. The prerequisites for this certification are as follows:

  • High school diploma or Associate’s degree: 60 months of business analysis experience and 35 contact hours of education in business analysis
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 36 months of business analysis experience and 35 contact hours of education in business analysis

Sales Certifications

Whether you’re selling cars, real estate, or something else, getting certified as a salesperson can benefit you and your employer. Regardless of where you are in your professional career, you can find a sales certification that can take you to the next level. If you want to upgrade your computer and sales skills, you may be interested in learning how to use Microsoft Learn to earn Microsoft Certifications.

5. Certified Inside Sales Representative

Obtaining your certification in inside sales displays your desire for continuous education. The program is web-based, with ten courses. After completing the courses, you do an exam; a role-play of a live sales call.

To register for the course, you must be an American Association of Inside Sales Professionals member. You’ll have to do a refresher course every three years to maintain your accreditation while staying current with market changes.

6. Certified Professional Sales Person

The certification offered by the National Association of Sales Professionals targets sales professionals at all levels. Whether you’re a CEO, a sales executive, a sales professional, or a business owner, this certification can upgrade your sales skills.

The program is 6-weeks long and designed to help you:

  • Close more sales
  • Create positive sales habits
  • Overcome objections effectively
  • Shorten sales cycles

Network Certifications

If you’re working in the IT field, getting accredited in networking can help you get a promotion or find a new job. All companies and institutions have networking needs, so you can use your certification to open doors in any industry. If you’re a network engineer, you may be interested in the certifications every network engineer needs to succeed.

7. CompTIA IT Fundamentals (IFT+)

With CompTIA ITF+ certification, you develop a broader understanding of IT. This certification is a great pre-career certification for individuals interested in making a career change to IT or students interested in an IT career. It’s also an excellent first step for those interested in pursuing professional-level certifications like A+.


If you work for an IT-based business as a marketer, salesperson, or in operations, this program can help you get a better understanding of the fundamentals your colleagues are working with. The certification doesn’t require any previous experience or education. The exam is an hour long and has a maximum of 75 multiple-choice questions.

8. ISACA Certified Information Security Manager

Suppose you have technical expertise in information security or IT security and control and are ready to move into a management position. In that case, the ISACA CISM certification may be what you’re looking for. With this certification, you are accredited in secure information management across several areas, including:

  • Incident response
  • Risk mitigation
  • Security governance practices

The program emphasizes the strategy involved with security compliance throughout a network. Having this certification can encourage team members to trust your leadership in the work you do together.

Are You Ready to Upgrade Your Credentials?

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting or have been working in your field for several years; pursuing certification can benefit you. Displaying a willingness to learn new things and upgrade your skills to stay current with changes in the workforce can help you advance in your career through promotions or by finding your dream job.

The list of certifications provided in this article isn’t an exhaustive list of the credentials you can pursue. You can seek some certifications to upgrade your skills if you’re a data architect or data engineer​.

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