Tips for Choosing the Right Industry Certification Program
It’s a question people get asked a lot and that many people don’t always have an answer to: “What do you want to do with your life?”
Ideally, the career you choose will line up with your interests, help you work towards your goals in life, and present ample opportunities for you to grow. Choosing the right industry certification course is often the first step to take towards finding the career that is right for you.
When looking at career certificate programs, you want to consider the strength of the program itself as well as how well it aligns with your goals and interests.
Consider Your Interests
Once you start your career, it is likely that you will spend a significant portion of your time on the job. The average person in the US works about 44 hours per week and many people will spend decades on the job before retiring.
For that reason, you want to choose an industry that you find interesting or work that engages and challenges you. If you are not sure what your interests are or how your interests can line up with a career path, you can take a career assessment test to get a better idea of what interests you.
If you are in high school, your guidance counselor or career specialist might be able to give you an industry assessment to discover your career interests. If you aren’t in school at the moment, there are several free tests online (such as from the Princeton Review) that can help you get a better grasp on what you want to do with your life.
Along with your interests, it can be worth thinking about your skills and abilities. For example, do you work well with others or do you prefer to work alone? Are you good at working with your hands and putting things together? Although you will learn new skills in your certification course, it can be helpful if the skills you focus on are ones that come somewhat naturally to you.
Consider the Industry’s Career Opportunities
Another thing worth thinking about when choosing an industry or career certification course is the opportunity provided by a particular industry. In the US, some industries, such as healthcare and IT, are growing. These industries are adding jobs faster than many others, meaning it will not only be easier to find a career in your field, you might be able advance more quickly in these fields than in others.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a list of the fastest growing occupations in the US. You can look at the list to see what jobs are growing the fastest, what the average pay is for each job, and can also learn more about the requirements and expectations of each career.
Some of the questions worth asking when you are looking at career opportunities and the value of getting a certification include:
- Do I need a certification to advance in this career or to get my foot in the door?
- Have others been able to advance after earning the certification?
- Does the industry prefer one type of certification course over another?
Consider Your Overall Career Goals
What do you want to get from your career? Are you looking to move up the ladder, get a pay raise, or are you happy to find a job that will offer stability for the next 30 to 40 years?
In some cases, continuing education certification programs are a must for people who are already in a career but who want to refresh their skills or keep up-to-date with changing trends. If you are completely new to a field and are looking for a way in, you’ll want to look at certification programs that prepare you for an entry level job in your chosen industry.
Consider the Certification Course’s Reputation
Not all certification programs are created equally. Some charge students staggering high tuition fees but don’t necessarily lead to higher paying careers. When you are evaluating an industry certification course, it is a good idea to look at:
- The tuition charged.
- The length of the program.
- How many students end up employed or advancing in their careers after program completion.
Orange Technical College offers career certification programs designed to help prepare students for careers in some of Florida’s fastest-growing industries, including healthcare, hospitality, and education. Our programs are affordable and many of our students end up working in their chosen industries soon after program completion. If you are interested in learning more about our career certificate and continuing education programs, request more information today.
- “A brief history of the 8-hour workday, which changed how Americans work,” CNBC, published May 3, 2017, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/03/how-the-8-hour-workday-changed-how-americans-work.html
- Fasting Growing Occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, last modified April 13, 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm
- “How to Choose the Right Credential for You,” Association for Talent Development, April 20, 2018, https://www.td.org/insights/how-to-choose-the-right-credential-for-you