Certification programs are designed to guarantee the capability and the quality of a job performed by a person. Usually, there are three types of certification programs available: corporate, product-specific, and professional certification programs. More often than not, these certifications will have to be renewed periodically.
Corporate certification programs are developed within an organization to meet their employee-specific or business requirements and therefore, they have limited portability.
Product-specific certification programs are offered in order to train people in the use of a specific product that is usually referenced across applications. This type of certification is highly prevalent in the software industry, where the users and/or professionals gain certification in a particular version of software or hardware. This certification is widely acceptable wherever the product or application is in use.
Professional certifications are the most general of the three certification program types. It is developed by a professional body in order to set the standards of practice and is recognized throughout the professional circles.
The job market is getting more demanding. Training for certain positions and tasks used to happen on the job. But the situation is changing these days. Now, more positions than ever before require certification. Having a certificate proves the credentials and the worthiness of the possessor in that particular field and thereby allows him/her access to better paying jobs.
The cost of the corporate certification programs will usually be borne by the company itself. In case of the other two programs, the cost depends on the type of the course and the institution offering it.
Once you have decided on the type of certification you are looking for, you need to accordingly look for a reputed organization to train you for the same. For instance, you may wish to be certified in a particular software application, or a particular profession such as teaching, hospitality, travel and tourism, healthcare, etc.
American Mountain Guides Association offers certification program for guides and climbing instructor. Apple has comprehensive certification modules for a wide range of professionals. The Fairmont State University School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration offers a school nurse certification program.
Tests & Preparation
Tests and preparation for a certification program is course-specific. You may be required to possess prior experience or knowledge in the field you desire to be certified in.
In case you opt for certification programs offered through a community college or technical school, you may be required to undergo some sort of admission testing. They may also expect an American College Test (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score in addition to their own testing procedure. Also, the schools may require you to produce a copy of your high school transcripts in addition to copies of transcripts from any other colleges that a student has attended.
You need to get in touch with the organization, college, or university that you plan to get the certification from to know more about their financial aid structure. For instance, the American Mountain Guides Association and Fairmont State University School of Nursing and Allied Health Administration have a provision of financial aid for the students. Many of the certification courses are even eligible for federal aid. Federal Student Aid is also available for many certification courses, particularly teaching courses.