8 Certificates That Quickly and Affordably Enhance Your Career

by Darwin on March 31, 2017

While there remains little debate whether bachelor degrees increase your hireability ― they definitively do, earning at least $400 more per week than those who never went to college ― however, the same is not true of advanced degrees. While some professionals swear by the wage-increasing power of masters or doctoral programs, others claim workers do just as well career-wise by devoting that time and effort to real-world work experience.

Undeniably, advanced degree programs are expensive and time-consuming, and if you must maintain full-time employment while you improve your employment prospects, you might be in for an exceedingly stressful couple of years.

Eventually, I did earn an MBA ― but before I did, I loaded up my resume with relatively quick and cheap certifications. These days, hundreds of colleges offer online certifications in dozens of fields to help you gain knowledge and skills necessary to advance your career. Here are a few of the best options of certificates that are well-worth your time.

1. General Management

Perhaps one of the hardest career moves to make isn’t into the C-suite ― it’s from staff to management. Staff members have skills that run an organization’s fundamental processes: They design products, write content, and do other tasks. Meanwhile, managers must understand daily needs while maintaining a long-term vision of broader projects and goals. Thus, they need enhanced knowledge of organizational policy, strategy, and finances. A management certificate will prepare you for lower-level management positions to give you experience in the line.

2. Project Management

Project managers are a specific group of lower-level managers who oversee exclusive teams and tasks. Often, staff employees earn positions as project managers, but to excel at the job and impress higher-level authorities, you should prepare well ahead of time for the work.

Project management certificates teach students how to plan a project from start to finish: defining its goals, managing its budget, facilitating team members, writing reports, and more. With this certificate, you will be better equipped for handling the day-to-day responsibilities of a PM.

3. Accounting

If your goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you will eventually need to acquire a bachelor degree in accounting and pass the grueling CPA Exam. However, if you love numbers and spreadsheets and feel comfortable lending your talents to an established accounting department ― or if you desire accounting experience for another reason, like imminent entrepreneurship ― you can probably make do with an accounting certificate.

4. Financial Planning

Business leaders spend much of their time worrying over financials, so having a strong background in business finances is imperative to success. Some business leaders take financial courses several times to ensure they have total understanding of financial concepts. A good primer is a financial planning certificate program, which will teach advanced financial planning concepts for personal and business applications.

5. Human Resources

Human resources is often the most overlooked and underappreciated department in any organization. However, human resources managers easily make six-figure salaries and boast a surprising amount of authority within a company, so climbing the human resources career ladder is far from a waste of time.

A human resources certificate program will help you understand the importance of human resources and begin preparing you for various essential certifications, including SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP, PHR, and SPHR, which will qualify you for higher positions in HR fields.

6. Digital Marketing

You might use Facebook and Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you know how to optimize profiles and posts for effective business marketing.

Digital media have revolutionized marketing strategies, so to become a successful and high-earning marketing professional, you must have a firm grasp of digital marketing concepts.

Digital marketing certificates are often offered as supplements to business or marketing degrees, but you can earn by itself by signing up for an online program.

7. Networking

Businesses run on tech, which means fully functioning IT departments are becoming integral to business success. As a result, IT professions are diversifying and gaining authority in offices everywhere. Networking isn’t an easy computer science, but its difficulty makes those who specialize in it so prized. Before you earn a networking certificate, you should have some tech experience ― whether it be self-taught or formally learned.

8. Cybersecurity

As the rates of data breaches rise, businesses are seeking knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals to build and maintain strong digital defenses. There is wide variety in responsibilities and tasks for workers in the cybersecurity industry; you might be tasked with building and maintaining a business’s security architecture, or you could work for cybersecurity firms researching new threats and developing new protections. Most experts in the field boast outstanding credentials, including Ph.D.s, but you can get started with a simple certificate.

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