What Are Job Certification Programs?

Job certification programs are programs that teach work-related skills to students seeking certification in specialized areas. A degree may be awarded along with certification, depending on the program.

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Overview of Job Certification Programs

Job certification programs help students learn skills in a specific field. Some jobs require certification as a term of employment. A certificate in a specific field may also make a candidate more marketable. Each type of certification has educational requirements and is administered by a professional organization that is recognized by state and national agencies.

Career One Stop (www.careeronestop.org), 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 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.

Types

There is a certification process for nearly every industry. Many information technology (IT) professionals take a series of Microsoft certification programs to increase their knowledge and enhance their chances of advancement in the field. 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. Other occupations, such as HVAC technology, require certification in the proper handling of refrigerants.

The health care industry requires certification for a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and for nurses that work in specialized areas. Certification may be required for hospital employees that perform diagnostic tests or operate high-tech equipment.

The Process

Certification examinations are often taken in centralized computer testing facilities. The exam, depending on certification, may consist of a written, oral or practical test. Some exams may take several days to complete. For example, the testing for certification as a crane operator takes five days. Examinees in this field take a practical exam on day one. Days 2-4 consist of pre-test preparation classes, and the certification examination is taken on day five.

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