What is a Business Certificate, and How Will it Improve Your Career Prospects?

by on May 17, 2012

Online business certificates mostly focus on post-graduate programs, and are designed to take your career further. You can strengthen your business skills and enhance your academic studies through a variety of business certificates offered to students and to employees in the workplace — including managers and executives. No matter whether you pursue business certifications on your own or from a directive from your employer, these educational credentials can provide some proof of your initiative and educational skill levels.

What is a Business Certificate?

A business certificate — also known as a professional certification, trade certification, or professional designation — often is granted by an educational institution upon completion of a course of study. This certificate can assure employers that you have the necessary qualifications to perform a specific task or job. A business certificate is not the same as a degree or a diploma, but it is a credential that can provide proof that you have engaged in continuing education.

Certifications, generally, need to be renewed periodically, or may be valid for a specific period of time, such as the lifetime or span of a program, tool, or software that is part of your job. As a part of a complete renewal of an individual’s certification, it is common for the individual to show evidence of continual learning or continuing education by earning continuing education units (CEU). You can find continuing education units (CEUs) and community colleges with certification programs as well as a variety of online business certification programs.

Business certifications are quicker and less expensive to earn than a traditional business degree, so they have become a popular route for students interested in a career in the business sector.

How Business Certification Improves Careers

Depending upon the certification required for a career, you may not be able to succeed with your goals without diving into continuing education. One example includes certification for certain technologies, including ongoing computer training to certify that you are eligible to work on certain software programs. Other examples include memberships and certification in organizations that set industry standards.

Here are some other examples of business training that might be required to succeed in business:

  • Accredited Financial Analyst: The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM) provides certifications that financiers recognize globally. Topics include risk management, financial planning, financial analyst, and economist.
  • Certified Facility Manager: The CFM is offered by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and provides industry standards for ensuring the knowledge and competence of practicing facility managers.
  • Certified Home Inventory Professional [PDF]: CHIP or CBIP is a business inventory professional certification offered by the National Association of Home Inventory Professionals. This certification validates your experience and demonstrates your commitment to ethical and professional practices in the field of inventory documentation.
  • Certified International Project Manager: The CIPM certification, offered by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM), provides board certification to qualified applicants who have met the commission requirements.
  • Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor: The Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors (AM&AA) is the leader in providing an educational framework in mergers and acquisitions through their certification program. A CM&AA designation helps you to build on your existing skills, and provides you with the necessary framework and networks to further advance your professional and financial goals.
  • Certified Specialist in Planned Giving: This certification, provided by the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies (AIPS), offers continued education in the latest techniques and strategies for planned giving.
  • Chef Certification: Certification through the American Culinary Federation demonstrates skill, knowledge and professionalism to the food service industry. Through this network you can obtain certifications for Certified Culinarian or Certified Master Pastry Chef.
  • Homeland Security Certification: The American Board for Certification in Homeland Security offers a way to increase your knowledge and prepare you with training for a wide variety of credentials.
  • Massage Therapy Certification: The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMP) now offers a certification that verifies the recipient passed the Board Certification exam, with 750 hours of education, 250 hours of hands on work experience, and passing of a background check. This information could help validate a massage therapist’s reputation.
  • Microsoft Certification: Microsoft endorses IT professionals and developers who have proven their deep expertise with this company’s technologies and solutions. Microsoft Certification distinguishes individuals with technical expertise and proves their ability to design and build innovative solutions across multiple technologies, “both on-premise and in the cloud.”

Although some of the certifications included in that list above are not necessary to do business, they do enhance a business prospect by including standardization throughout a given industry as well as networking opportunities within any given field. By earning one of the various advanced business certificates, you will place yourself in a prime position to increase your salary and duties in your present career. Or, earn on of the business certifications to change careers. Because there are a variety of specific business certifications available to you, you are not restricted to your past experiences when you get this additional credentialing.

Where Can You Earn Certification?

Business certifications can be obtained from a number of sources. Students can choose to attend a traditional campus-based program or obtain certification through a distance learning environment. As you’ve seen above, many national and international organizations maintain the ability to certify business people, too.

Remember that certification means that you are up-to-date on any given skill or ability to work a job. As time goes by, you may need to apply for re-certification to stay current with changes in your job or with the tools you use for that job. You can make certification and recertification easier for yourself by staying current with information about your field, including new theories, news, and technology. If you join an organization specific to your industry, you can make that education easier for yourself.