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What Are Job Certification Programs?

Job certification preparation programs teach work-related skills to students seeking certification in specialized areas. Becoming a certified professional can help in seeking and keeping a job.

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For those looking for a new job, to maintain their current position or to move ahead at work, job certifications are valuable assets for professionals.

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Overview of Job Certification Programs

Job certification programs can be found at community colleges and vocational schools. Once students complete these programs, they can seek credentials from professional organizations recognized by state and national agencies. Professional certification is a term of employment for some jobs, depending on the state. In other cases, certification can simply make job candidates more appealing to potential employers by being proof of a certain kind of knowledge or professional skill. This can be helpful in moving to a new career path or getting ahead in your current line of work.

Types of Programs

There is a certification process for nearly every industry. Many information technology (IT) professionals take a series of Microsoft certification programs to prove their knowledge and enhance their chances of advancement in the field. These programs focus on a variety of computer and technology topics, such as Microsoft Windows, mobility and IT infrastructure. Microsoft also offers app building certificate programs that employ the use of programs such as Javascript and C# to develop and build applications for both mobile and desktop devices. Within each of the available fields, Microsoft has three levels of certification:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

Accountants are required to gain certification in order to perform certain job duties. An accountant must complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework to sit for the certification exam. Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates to obtain the needed credit hours. These programs include courses on auditing, financial reporting and taxation.

Nearly all states require certification for nurses, including certified nursing assistants, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. Certification may be required for hospital employees that perform diagnostic tests or operate high-tech equipment as well. These certifications generally last for 5 years and cover areas such as:

  • Home Nursing
  • Adult Gerontology - Acute Care
  • Cardiac-Vascular Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing

How to Find Certification Programs

Career One Stop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), has a certification finder that is searchable by keyword, certifying organization and occupation. This site also allows users to search by training program. Simply input keywords and the finder locates schools that offer relevant certification preparation programs. The search results list the college, program length and number of miles from the inputted zip code. The website also provides salary and wage information, information on relocating and tips on unemployment insurance.

How to Become Certified

Certification examinations are often taken in centralized computer testing facilities. The exam, depending on the type of certification, may consist of a written, oral or practical test. On some occasions, exams may take several days to complete, particularly if they include both written and practical components. Some certification exams, particularly those in the computing industry, may be taken online.

Job certification programs help workers earn certification in areas that will help them find and maintain a job or advance in their chosen profession. Programs are available for numerous kinds of professionals and can be found through certification finders, such as Career One Stop.

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