Trend alert: The Wall Street Journal recently noted, “Many companies ... are encouraging employees to sit for certification exams—and some are flat-out requiring the effort. Companies say the certifications are proof that their current or prospective employees meet an industrywide standard.”
Even entire states are making a push for certification exams, such as Georgia’s Work Ready initiative, which offers skills certification through technical colleges.
Meanwhile, organizations such as the ProjectInstitute are seeing an uptick in registration for its certifications. The nonprofit says its fastest-growing certification is its Certified Associate in Project Management.
Which certification is right for you? It depends on your career goals. Nearly any of them will help during a job search. Just remember: Once you earn certification, make sure you keep it current.
One admin, Karen Loughman, says she received two Microsoft Office Specialist certifications—Word 2007 and Outlook 2007—and quickly became the office expert. “I am also the ‘expert’ for Word for my local IAAP chapter,” she says, “and I give programs and seminars to help others prepare for their exams.”
Other admins point out that if you already work heavily with Microsoft software, becoming certified in Word, Excel and PowerPoint is the perfect place to start, since the exam won’t take intense preparation.
Turn to these organizations for testing and certification:
- International Association of Administrative Professionals (www.iaap-hq.org/prodev/) for Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) designations.
- National Association of Legal Secretaries, Inc. (www.nals.org) for one of three certifications for paralegals.
- Legal Secretaries International, Inc. for a Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (www.legalsecretaries.org) designation in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate and business law.