Archive for July 30th, 2013

July 30, 2013

Professional certification may sometimes help career growth

by Grace

The question of how much value certification adds to career growth has not been definitively answered.

Many professional certifications seem to add little value in terms of career opportunities.  I got a hint of that when I typed “certifications are” in the Google search box, only to see these four Autocompletes pop up.

certifications are useless
certifications are worthless
certifications are a waste
certifications are bullshit

Human resources certification
While the future of certification as an option to a college degree is yet to be decided, there is evidence that some types of certification programs may help.  Human resources is one area where this is true.

PayScale reviewed the impact of the PHR and SPHR certifications on the careers of HR professionals and found that acquiring the certification sweetened the careers of most HR positions. Either certification led to faster career growth and higher median pay. The positive impact of the credentials could be seen across job titles, industries, genders and geographies.


Penelope Trunk thinks this could be explained by the overly cautious temperament of human resources professionals.

… I don’t know what to make of this, except that LinkedIn has research to show that human resources attracts people who are most averse to risk. So it makes sense to me that people who are scared of risk would need to trust a certificate rather than their instincts when making a hiring decision.

Another consideration is that the PayScale study, since it did not seem to correct for many other factors, may simply reflect correlation and not causation.  Perhaps the smartest, most capable human resource professionals are also the ones who tend to seek certification.

AOL CareerBuilder gives us a list of 8 Professional Certifications In High Demand, but while most seem legitimate I question how all of these made the cut.  It makes me wonder if sponsored endorsements were involved.

1. Professional project management
2. Foreign language
3. Corporate training
4. Desktop support administration
5. Personal fitness training
6. Professional sales
7. Web design and development
8. Certified clinical medical assistant

Sales?  Having some experience in the field of sales and marketing, I would be surprised to learn that many sales professional are relying on a certificate for career advancement.  Typically, sales professionals are judged by their numbers, not by proof of completing a certification process.

On the other hand, I know someone whose employer strongly values the Professional Project Management (PMP) credential.

%d bloggers like this: