How Can Certificates Help You Advance Your Career? 


certificate program student

Professional certificate programs can expand your knowledge in a specific area or provide you with credentials to start a new career in a completely different field. Whether you want to increase your responsibilities in your current company or get a competitive edge over other candidates when you apply for a new job, a certificate can be a fast, efficient, and budget-friendly way to help you achieve your career goals.

Benefits of Certificate Programs

  • Learn New Skills for Your Current Job: If you sometimes feel like you do things the hard way or need to ask co-workers about how to perform a specific task, you can learn the skills you need to catch up. For example, a certificate in accounting could teach you about the latest accounting software and the shortcuts it provides. The skills you learn in your program can help you do your current job more effectively and efficiently.
  • Create Advancement Opportunities: When you apply what you learn in your program to real-world challenges, you can identify and solve problems, bringing more value to your organization. The more skills you present, the better positioned you will be to take on additional responsibilities, get promoted, and earn more money.
  • Get a Competitive Advantage: Whether you want to apply internally for a new job or pursue opportunities at a different company, you will stand out from the crowd when you can verify you have specific skills. Employers will be impressed that you took the initiative to expand your knowledge and experience and will appreciate your added credentials.
  • Investigate a New Career: Maybe you want to take a new direction in your career, but you’re not ready to commit to an Associate or Bachelor’s degree program. A certificate can give you a glimpse into a new field. You’ll acquire new skills while you investigate a new type of work. And if you decide to pursue a degree, you may be able to transfer the credits you earned into a degree program.
  • Take Classes at Your Level: Concerned that a program’s classes might be too easy or too hard? A certificate track allows you to choose what’s right for you. Decide if you need an entry-level program or if you already have the skills to apply to a mid or senior-level offering. You may also be able to use your certificate as a springboard toward a degree.

Examples of Professional Certificates to Advance Your Career

Information Technology (IT)

According to a survey from Global Knowledge, IT professionals who gained new skills and/or certificates in 2020 received an average raise of $12,000-$13,000 vs. $5,000 for those who didn’t. Some specialties include:

  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Network and Server Administrator
  • Web Development
  • Cybersecurity

Business Administration

Whether you work for a small non-profit or a multinational corporation, there are many interesting directions you can take with a certificate in Business Administration or Management:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Auditing
  • Global Supply Chain Management

Strategic Security

With all that is going on in the world, careers in Strategic Security are more important than ever. A program that teaches intelligence, counterterrorism, and personal protection could help you provide leaders with critical information to keep their organizations secure. Specialties include:

  • Executive Protection
  • Counterterrorism
  • Strategic Security Management


If you’re not sure what type of certificate would best fit your career goals and opportunities for advancement, talk to your employer. They may have suggestions for where there are knowledge gaps within the organization, and what you should pursue to position yourself for a future promotion. Be sure to ask if tuition reimbursement is available from your company.

You can also ask co-workers for suggestions on what type of certificate might be worth pursuing. Choose someone who holds a position you might like to have someday and ask what certificates they have.

At National American University, we offer online certificates in a variety of fields that can be completed in as little as one year. If you would like to advance in your career and improve your skillset, call 800-209-0182 to speak to learn more.


Online programs for maximum flexibility
NAU students receiving transfer or experiential learning credit
Relevant degree and certificate programs
Years of online educational excellence