Professional Licenses and Certifications Can Increase Your Marketability and Salary

by Ryan Guina

Professional licenses and certifications are a great way to enhance your job knowledge and skills. They are also a great way to increase your marketability and earning potential. There are hundreds of different professional licenses and certifications available, and obtaining a license or certification that is necessary or valuable in your career field can go a long way toward enhancing your career.

How professional licenses and certifications are beneficial

It’s important to note that having a professional license or certification does not guarantee you a job, even though there are many jobs which require professional licenses or certifications. Besides being a job requirement, professional licenses and certifications can benefit you in several ways. They can provide job security, credibility, and increased earnings potential.

Job security. Our economy is going through some tough times right now, and having a professional license or certification can set you apart from the crowd. Each relevant certification or license you add to your resume makes you more attractive to your current employer, or to a potential employer. You may also have more job security if your company recently paid for your license or certification because they will want to receive the return on their investment in you.

Credibility. Some certifications label you an expert in your field. Having the certification lets people know at a glance that you have met certain criteria and you know what you are talking about. This can lead to increased job visibility, consulting opportunities, and more.

Increased salary potential. Some professional licenses or certifications may be required for a promotions or new job title, and obtaining one of them may help you make the grade. Some licenses and certifications can be worth anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 or more, depending on the certification, your locale, and the demand for that certification. These gains in salary are easiest to achieve when changing companies, as you may not see a direct salary increase if you obtain the certification while already employed.

How to choose a license or certification

Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. Follow the money! I’m kidding! But only slightly. You should follow your professional goals, and if that is in line with where the money is, then great. But I don’t recommend getting a license just because you read somewhere that you might earn more money because you have that license. Needs change, and in a few years that license you spent a lot of time and money acquiring may not be worth much more than the paper it is printed on. It’s best to get the licenses and certifications that are required, then go for those that are most in line with your professional interests, or which will benefit your career the most.

Management and Human Resources can point you in the right direction. If you need help determining which license or certification to go after, I recommend speaking with your manager or HR representative. They can help you determine which licenses and certifications are the most valuable within your industry. Your manager will probably have a better idea of which certifications will be most valuable within your day to day tasks, and your HR representative may have a better idea of how your industry views certain licenses and certifications from a hiring perspective. I’ll caution you to be careful how you ask these questions though, because you don’t want to give the impression you are seeking a new job if that is not what you are doing.

Professional licenses and certifications can help advance your career

A professional license or certification may not guarantee you a job, but they can go a long way in helping you advance your careerm or find a new job. I recommend investigating which licenses or certifications may be beneficial to you and look into acquiring one. It is an even better deal if you can convince your company to pay for it!

Published or updated September 15, 2009.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ryan

Bruce, great point. There are some industries which should probably be governed a little more strictly, and there are many industries for which there are no recognized licenses or certificates. But for many other professions, there are some great licenses and certs which can be great for enhancing career prospects.


2 Bruce

The Professional Licenses and Certifications can increase your marketability and salary, provided you can get one for your profession. In my profession there is no such thing (not really) and given what I do and others in the same profession there should be.


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