The 10 Most Valuable Certifications Today

Updated November 8, 2022

One of the best ways to advance your career is to pursue further education. Every industry has a variety of certifications you can get to increase your chances of getting a higher, well-paid position. Certifications are especially valuable for those with no work experience as having a certificate shows that you're knowledgeable on the subject. In this article, we look at the 10 most in-demand professional certifications and how you can get them to advance your career.

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10 common in-demand certifications by career

If you're thinking of working in a specific industry, you may want to know what types of certifications are beneficial. Here are 10 valuable certifications listed by career that you can get to boost your employability:

1. IT certifications

IT departments in Canada are constantly looking for employees as the field becomes increasingly widespread. As IT professionals need a strong technical background, education in the field is necessary for most positions. The most common IT certification is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a globally recognized certification for IT security professionals. To earn this certification, you need to do the following:

  • complete a minimum of five years of full-time professional work in a related field

  • pay for and complete the CISSP training program

  • pass a written and practical exam

Once you get your CISSP certification, you can apply for a variety of positions. Some common ones include an IT security operation specialist, IT security engineer, security administrator or security systems administrator.

Related: 11 Popular IT Certifications to Advance in Your Career

2. Food handler certification

Although many food handler positions are entry-level, such as servers, line cooks and fast food workers, having a food handler certification can help you apply for higher positions. Many establishments that handle food may even require you to have this nationally recognized certification. Here is the general certification process:

  • pay $99.95 to take the training program online, which takes around eight hours

  • complete the program within 30 days by taking the final exam (you have unlimited exam attempts)

  • get your food handler certification, valid for five years

Having your food handler certificate will make you a better candidate for entry-level food service jobs. But it also makes you eligible for higher-paying positions at hospitals or care homes, such as a food service representative, resident attendant or dietary aide.

Related: Top 14 Careers in the Food Industry (With Salaries)

3. Cosmetology certifications

Careers in cosmetology are consistently popular as services from make-up artists, hairstylists and estheticians are always in demand. There are plenty of great beauty schools in Canada that train students in one to two years, depending on the program. A career in cosmetology typically requires the following:

  • a high school diploma or GED

  • a cosmetology certificate from an accredited school

  • passing a provincial or territorial cosmetology exam

Passing your exam and getting a certification in cosmetology can open up your career options. Cosmetology is a diverse industry as professionals can work in entertainment as make-up artists or hair stylists for television, movies or theatre productions. The more traditional route may take cosmetologists to salons or spas, and many students start their own businesses as well.

4. Digital marketing certifications

Marketing is another popular industry in Canada, and digital marketing is in especially high in-demand. To meet this demand, many well-known universities and colleges offer certificates in digital marketing. For example, Q College in British Columbia and York University in Ontario both offer Digital Marketing Certificate programs. The Canadian Marketing Association also offers online marketing certificate courses for Canadians in every province and territory. Each program has different requirements, but these are the most common ones:

  • register for the desired program

  • pay relevant fees to earn the certification

  • participate in online or in-person courses and pass the necessary assessments

Digital marketing certifications typically take six months to one year to complete. Once you have the certificate, you can apply for a variety of roles, such as digital marketer, content strategist, SEO specialist, social media manager and digital marketing manager.

Related: Top Degree in Marketing Jobs

5. Human resources certifications

Those who want to work in the human resources field will need certification in Canada. Most colleges and universities offer human resources programs, but the most common certification is the Certified Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. It is recognized by nine provinces and three territories (only excluding Quebec) and shows recruiters you have the relevant expertise and experience. Requirements for the CPHR certification include the following:

  • membership with the CPHR Canada

  • completion of the National Knowledge Exam to demonstrate your knowledge of the human resources field

  • a bachelor's or master's degree in human resources and/or proven work experience

  • commitment to the Code of Ethics & Rules of Professional Conduct

There are nine different pathways to achieving your CPHR, so you have plenty of opportunities to pursue certification. Being certified allows you to apply for positions like an HR assistant, HR coordinator, HR generalist, HR consultant and HR manager.

Related: Is Human Resources a Good Career in Canada? (Pros and Cons)

6. Project management certifications

Most colleges and universities in Canada offer a project management program to teach students how to run successful projects for different organizations. Regardless of the program you choose, you need a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification to work as a project manager. The PMP certification is recognized worldwide, so you can find a project management position anywhere once you have it. To earn a PMP certification, you must meet the following requirements:

  • possess a four-year degree

  • 36 months leading projects

  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM certification

Or, you can have:

  • a high school diploma or an associate's degree

  • 60 months leading projects

  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM certification

Related: What Is Project Management? Definition, Steps, and Skills

7. Interpreter or translator certifications

Interpreters and translators are always in demand to convert written material or oral speech from one language to another. Their work ensures everyone has access to the same information. To work as an interpreter or translator in Canada, you must have certification from the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CCTIC). Here are the steps you must take to become certified:

  • possess a degree in translation and have one year of full-time relevant experience or four years of full-time experience

  • register and pay for the exam

  • pass the exam and become certified

Once you have your certification, you can apply for several positions, including translator, interpreter, conference interpreter, court interpreter or terminologist.

Related: What's the Difference between an Interpreter vs. Translator?

8. Accounting certifications

As Canadians must file their own taxes, accountants are always in high demand. To become an accountant, you must complete the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) certification program. This provides candidates with both technical and soft skills to become an accountant. Here are the steps you need to take to become certified:

  • complete an undergraduate degree in accounting or have eight years of related work experience

  • complete the CPA PEP prerequisite courses

  • provide three reference letters and a personal statement

  • pass the Common Final Examination

Completing the CPA certification program provides plenty of career opportunities as a financial accountant, public accountant, chartered accountant, management accountant, non-profit accountant and many more.

Related: 17 Online Accounting Courses (With Descriptions and Links)

9. Skilled trade certifications

Positions in skilled trades, such as plumbing, carpentry, mechanics and welding are always available and pay well. Each industry has different requirements, but typically, candidates must work as an apprentice for four to five years and pass an exam to earn a certificate. For example, this is the path an electrician needs to take:

  • possess a high school diploma or GED

  • complete a four- to five-year apprenticeship program that includes on-the-job training and technical training

  • pass a Certification of Qualifications exam with at least a 70% to become a licensed electrician

  • If you want to work in different provinces or territories, you must write the Interprovincial Exam and get the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal certification.

Related: 21 In-Demand Trades to Consider for Your Career Path

10. Sales certification

Although many sales jobs are entry-level, becoming a Certified Sales Professional (CSP) can make you eligible for higher, more well-paid positions. Pursuing education requirements to become certified teaches you new techniques and sales methods to excel in your profession. To apply for certification, you must have the following:

  • a college diploma and 35 hours of accredited pre-requisite education in sales

  • minimum of four years experience independently managing clients

  • evidence of meeting or exceeding sales targets for at least two years

If you meet the Canadian Professional Sales Association's requirements, you can pay for and take the Certified Sales Professional Exam. When you pass, you become a CSP. This allows you to apply for a variety of positions, such as a salesperson, sales representative, account manager and sales advisor.

This article is based on information available at the time of writing, which may change at any time. Indeed does not guarantee that this information is always up-to-date. Please seek out a local resource for the latest on this topic.

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