Key takeaways

  1. Professional certifications validate specialized knowledge or skills required for a particular job
  2. Certifications differ from certificates and licenses
  3. Gaining certifications can improve your career, help you gain recognition in your industry, and increase your chances of advancement
  4. Researching certification programs and investing in education can enrich your career and provide opportunities to apply for higher-level positions

Do you have a fulfilling career but are always striving to advance? 

One way you can enhance your value to your company is by earning certifications in your field. 

This ambitious choice will keep you up-to-date with industry trends, evolving technology, and various other areas. 

By staying relevant and well-informed, you will increase your chances of advancement. 

Here are seven of the best certifications to pursue in 2023.

What is a professional certification?

Professional organizations offer certification programs to validate your specialized knowledge or skills required for a particular job. 

Typically, you obtain these credentials upon completing your education or gaining practical experience through internships, residencies, or work experience. These certifications serve as a testament to your expertise and can enhance your professional credibility and marketability.

Certification requires meeting standards and passing an exam. The credential is valid for a limited time and needs periodic renewal. Employers may require certification for promotion or a raise.

Some professions have more certifications available than others. Your need for certification may depend on various factors, including where you live, who you work for, and your industry. It's important to note that certifications differ from licenses, which are government-issued permits.

Differences between certifications, certificates, and licenses

Professional certifications, certificates, or licenses can help you advance your career. While the terms may seem similar, they have distinct differences.

  • Certifications: Professional certifications validate professional skills and education that meet industry standards. They may be required for career advancement and often involve education (including continuing education (CE), exams, and periodic renewal. For example, at Facet, all of our planners must be CFP® Professionals.
  • Certificates: A certificate indicates completion of coursework in a vocational or educational program. It is not an academic degree and does not certify occupation or industry-specific work. For instance, you may receive a certificate for finishing a management training program.
  • Licenses: State governments issue licenses to authorize work in specific fields. These licenses typically require examinations, as well as proof of education and experience. For instance, doctors, teachers, electricians, and plumbers all must hold state-issued licenses.

7 professional certifications for career advancement

1. Project management 

The demand for project management careers remains high, particularly for individuals who possess the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications. These credentials are highly valued and sought after in the industry.

2. Digital Marketing 

Marketing is a competitive industry. A certification can showcase your expertise and help give you a competitive edge over your peers. Digital marketing professionals can obtain certifications in areas such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media, marketing analytics, and more from organizations like the following:

3. Skilled trades 

Skilled trade workers can earn more after getting certified in their desired profession. For instance, electricians who start as apprentices can get a significant pay increase once they pass their journeyman certification exam.

Furthermore, certification and training can help you become a skilled trades professional faster, as organizations such as the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) offers numerous job-specific certifications. 

4. Human resources 

Advanced human resources skills are always invaluable to companies because they help improve employee relationships and hire top talent. Types of human resources certifications include: 

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

5. Computer networking

Employers often prioritize employees with computer networking certifications due to the hands-on training showcasing a superior level of skill and expertise. Here are two Cisco Certifications that are commonly pursued in this field:

  • Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE) 
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) 

This work requires strong analytical, multitasking, and problem-solving skills.

6. Sales

Even the best salespeople can earn a competitive advantage by obtaining an advanced certification. There are a multitude of sales certifications available to help improve your confidence, techniques, and habits. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) 
  • Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP) 
  • Certified Sales Executive (CSE) 

7. Artificial intelligence

Though AI and machine learning are new technologies, they are quickly transforming how businesses operate. Professionals with AI certifications can help bridge the gap between traditional and new insights. Here are some popular AI certifications:

  • IBM Applied AI Professional Certificate (via Coursera)
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate
  • Amazon Machine Learning Specialty Certification 

Final word

Gaining certifications is a great way to improve your career and gain recognition in the industry. From project management to AI, there is no shortage of certifications you can pursue in 2023 that will help you demonstrate your skills and knowledge. 

Researching which certification program is best for you and investing in the education required to obtain it can help enrich your career for years to come. With a certification, you can gain the confidence to apply for higher-level positions and land more opportunities to give you an edge over your peers.