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Top Certifications to Advance Your Career in 2024

The 9 Most In-Demand Professional Certifications You Can Get Right Now

Want to boost your qualifications but not sure which certificates to pursue? Check out these in-demand professional certifications to pick your path.

Professional certifications are valuable additions to your resume. The right certifications can help you qualify for higher-paying jobs or break into new industries, even if you don’t have a specific degree. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current position or switch careers, you need to know about the most in-demand professional certifications you can get ASAP. Let’s take a closer look.

What Are Professional Certifications?

Professional certifications are credentials you earn through short-term classes or programs, depending on the subject matter. Once you earn a certification, you can add it to your resume, join specific organizations, and qualify for various positions.

For instance, you might need a professional certificate to become a project manager at your current workplace. To become a certified professional, you’ll attend a certification program from an organization like Google.

Think of professional certifications as extra qualifying credentials on top of degrees. In many cases, degrees are combined with certifications to show that a job candidate has the skills and practical expertise to fulfill a position’s requirements.

Professional certifications typically take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to earn, although some may take several years. Some certifications just require you to take a test without completing a program beforehand. A certification exam covers the fundamentals of the topic and lets you demonstrate competency. They’re often required for certifications in information technology, healthcare, and business management.

Many professional certifications require several years of experience or a degree before you can apply for them. Completing online courses also allows you to qualify for critical career path certificates. Organizations like the Project Management Institute offer certification courses for professional development and continuing education purposes.

Why Do You Need Professional Certifications?

You may need a professional certification for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Career Advancement: High-level and high-paying positions in your field may require one or more certifications on top of a degree and several years of experience.
  • Career Transition: In some cases, a certification can stand in as a degree if you already have a bachelor’s in another major. For instance, if you have a bachelor’s degree in English but wish to become a teacher, a teaching certification could qualify you for teaching positions.
  • Salary Potential: If you wish to earn a promotion or qualify for a higher pay grade, you might need a professional certification to justify the pay raise.
  • Knowledge Enhancement: Professional certification programs take less time to complete than degree programs, making them optimal opportunities to learn more about a particular topic without committing several years of your life.

For these reasons and more, you might want to know about the most in-demand professional certifications to pursue. However, you should consider factors like pricing, continuing education units, and more to find the right certification for your needs.

Top 9 In-Demand Professional Certifications

Good news: there are dozens of different professional certifications you can earn in the near future. However, it’s wise to prioritize your professional certification education. Here are nine top professional certifications that should help you in various industries and jobs.

1. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

Project management is one of the most in-demand skill sets in business, finance, technology, and more. If you want to become a supervisor or manager in any capacity, you’ll need a certificate proving you have the skills needed to succeed.

The CAPM certificate is perfect if you still need to gain experience managing company projects. You need 1,500 hours of project experience or 23 hours of project management education. Then you’ll need to pass a 150-question exam and pay a fee of up to $300.

2. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Another good project management certificate is the PMP certification. This advanced certification is ideal for professionals with project management experience. It marks you as a capable project management specialist and requires 7,500 hours of project leadership experience. If you have a four-year degree, you can reduce the requirement to 4,500 hours.

You’ll also need 35 hours of project management education. Pass the 200-question exam and pay the fee of up to $555, and you’ll get the certificate in no time.

3. IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA-AAC)

Business analytics is a growing field, and it’s no surprise why. Businesses need data to understand their customers, and those who can analyze that data are invaluable employees.

To prove your data analytics skills, consider pursuing the IIBA Agile Analysis Certification. This standalone certification designates you as an adaptable, high-performing data analyst in evolving environments. To acquire this certificate, you’ll need to finish an 85-question exam in two hours and pay the exam fee of up to $525.

Notably, there are no eligibility requirements besides two to five years of agile-related experience. To maintain this certification, you must pay for recertification every three years.

4. Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)

Aspiring or current supply chain managers should consider the CSCP certification. This globally recognized supply chain certificate proves you are a credible, experienced supply chain management specialist.

Many supply chain professionals will already have most of the requirements needed for this certificate. You need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, at least three years of related business experience, and at least one other approved certification. Then you just need to pass the exam after paying a fee of up to $969.

5. CompTIA A+ Technician Certification

IT professionals can often benefit from certificates that prove specific skill sets. The CompTIA A+ Technician Certification is perfect for beginning workers who want to get into the technology field without formal computer science degrees or education.

Graduating from this certification program enables you to troubleshoot technology of all types. It’s ideal for pursuing support specialist or help desk technician positions, and it qualifies you for further on-the-job training. You need to pass the written exam and pay a minor fee to acquire this certificate.

6. SHRM-CP Certification

Every business needs a team of human resources professionals. The SHRM-CP certification could qualify you for open HR positions and offer other good reasons to pursue this human resources certification.

For example, HR professionals with this certification have more credibility than others, qualifying them for higher-value positions. Once you have this certificate, you’ll likely also earn 14% to 15% more than your peers. To get this certificate, apply for the program and study for three to four months before taking the exam. It takes about four hours to complete, but most candidates finish the exam before the allotted time expires.

7. Google Digital Marketing and eCommerce Professional Certification

Google offers a handful of very desirable certificates. One of them is the Digital Marketing and eCommerce Professional certificate, which is split into seven courses with distinct focuses. These help you develop new insights and knowledge into digital marketing and online commerce strategies for your brand.

It’s a go-to marketing certification choice for those who want to become digital marketers without marketing degrees. It takes about six months to complete with 10 hours of study per week, and you have to pay $39 monthly for a Coursera subscription. This adds up to less than $300 over the six-month timeframe for most students.

8. Google Project Management Professional Certificate

The Google Project Management Professional Certificate is another in-demand certificate for project management specialists and team leaders across industries. The certificate program includes 140 hours of instruction and many different practice-based assessments.

Upon completion, students can apply for jobs at Google and many other employers throughout the US. It takes about six months to complete, and you need to pay a $39 per month fee for Coursera’s subscription. Financial assistance from Google is available, making this a great certificate for middle-level managers wanting to increase their skills and responsibilities.

9. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is an excellent choice for future data scientists and IT professionals. It doesn’t require prior knowledge of computer science or programming languages and entails nine courses.

Completing this certificate program qualifies you to work in entry-level data science jobs, and you’ll also get an IBM digital badge to add to your portfolio and resume. This makes you more likely to be hired. You can even earn up to 12 transferable college credits since the lessons are ACE recommended.

To complete the program, you’ll need about 11 months of study. You’ll also need to subscribe to Coursera for $39 per month, totaling around $429 for 11 months of study.

Get the Certification You Need to Propel Your Career

Ultimately, any professional certification could be just what your professional portfolio needs. Consider acquiring one or several certifications in the near future to fuel your career.

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