Too Busy for Certification Programs? Think Again!

Certification Programs

Have you noticed others making more money and advancing in their careers more quickly than you are?

Could it be because they’ve earned a certification? You might be considering certification programs for your field, but how will they fit with your busy workload?

You’re on the right track by considering professional certifications. You may be able make as much as 10 percent more money if you hold a certification, according to the 2015 Salary Guides from Robert Half. Employers are taking a closer look at the employee with extra initials on his or her resume when choosing between two candidates. You just need to learn how to make time for certification programs.

Audit your time.

Make no mistake: You will be busy earning a certification on top of managing your current obligations. By conducting a time audit, however, you may find that you have more time than you think. To do so, keep a time log and record how you spend each hour over a number of workdays. Be as specific as possible and include how long it took you to work on specific tasks — even how long you surfed the Internet, chatted with coworkers and updated your Facebook page. Be thorough and honest so you can truly gauge how you spend your time.

Analyze your findings once you’ve recorded your schedule. Note when you were most productive and when you tended to waste time. You could find that you have plenty of time for that certification after all.

Prepare for certification programs.

How you prepare will, in large part, be determined by the requirements of the certification you choose. Most courses will allow you to download study materials that you can read at your own pace. Some offer webinars or classes in physical classrooms, or even both. For others, you may need to buy a textbook.

Remember, there are likely others in your area pursuing the same certifications. Use online networks to find a local group to study with. It may seem tempting to try to go it alone, but learning in groups has its benefits, if only the commitment and accountability of being around others in the same boat. Make the choice that best suits your learning style.

Earn your certification.

Once you’ve prepared for your certification and met all the prior requirements, it’s time to take the exam. Be sure you know where you need to go to actually earn it; don’t assume. Of course some exams might be taken online, but if you have to make travel arrangements to go to a testing center in a big city, you will want to know that well ahead of time.

Also, be aware of requirements and costs for particular certifications. Enrollment fees and exam registration fees, depending on the certification, can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand dollars, or more.

But don’t be discouraged. Employers sometimes help offset the cost of certifications since the skills you learn benefit them as well as you. Check with your organization to be sure. And becoming certified can set your career ahead, often more than making up for any expenses you incurred along the way.

Part of earning certifications is keeping them current. We offer courses for our registered candidates that can help them do just that. Whether you’re interested in IT, administration, design and marketing, or financial certifications, we can help you get or stay ahead in your career.

How do you fit earning a certification into your busy schedule? Let us know in the comments section.

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