CareerBuilder Menu Search Search

10 Certification Paths to a Better Job

Rachel Zupek, writer

  • Email

Everyone is interested in bettering their careers. Whether it's becoming an expert in your field, gaining respect from your colleagues, earning a higher salary or standing out among other professionals, a certification in your industry can be the simlest path to all of these things.

The problem is that many workers think they don't have the time, money or resources to invest in getting certified. Plus, there are hundreds of official recognitions in every industry, so where should one even start the process?

In this economy especially, job seekers and workers should do whatever they can to stand out among the masses; getting certified is one way to do so. Earning a specialization in your field doesn't have to be as time-consuming or expensive as you think. It will be challenging and require a little bit of your time, of course, but the payoff will be worth it.

Here are 10 certifications that require less experience than others, broken down by industry and the jobs you can get with each designation*:

1. Accredited
Tax Preparer (ATP)
Eligibility: Completion of a minimum of 60 hours of formal coursework; a minimum of three years of work experience in taxation. One tax season is considered one year(January through April), according to the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation.
Jobs you can get: Accountant; tax preparer; bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerk; tax adviser

2. Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
Eligibility: Must have a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an institution of higher learning; no specific field of study is required. If you do not have a bachelor's degree, you may substitute two years of fraud-related professional experience for each year of academic study, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Jobs you can get: Forensic accountant; government accountant; independent auditor; investigator; law enforcement officer

Banking/financial services
3. Certified
Bank Teller (CBT)
Eligibility: Minimum six months of experience and completion of the American Institute of Banking Bank Teller Certificate; letter of recommendation from a senior manager attesting to your qualifications and ethical character; and a signed code of ethics from the Institute of Certified Bankers, according to the American Bankers Association.
Jobs you can get: Bank teller; personal banking representative; teller coordinator; roving teller

4. Certified Customer Service Representative (CCSR)
Eligibility: Minimum six months of experience and completion of the AIB Customer Service Representative Certificate; letter of recommendation from a senior manager attesting to your qualifications and ethical character; and a signed code of ethics from the ICB, according to the ABA.
Jobs you can get: Customer service representative; new account clerk; information clerk

Information technology
Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
Eligibility: One year's work experience in the information security field, in one or more of these seven areas: access controls; analysis and monitoring; cryptography; malicious code; networks and telecommunications; risk, response and recovery; or security operations and administration, according to the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium.
Jobs you can get: Information systems auditor; application programmer; system, network and database administrator; business unit representative; and systems analyst

Group Fitness Instructor (GFI)
Eligibility: You must be at least 18 years old, have a basic familiarity with group exercise and hold a current adult CPR certificate at the time of the exam, according to American Fitness Professionals and Associates.
Jobs you can get: Pilates instructor; yoga instructor; aerobics instructor; recreation worker

Health services
7. Certified
Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)
Eligibility: You must have a high school diploma or GED, no felony convictions of any kind within five years of applying, and no drug or pharmacy-related felony convictions at any point, according to the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians.
Jobs you can get: Pharmacy technician in retail pharmacies, drugstore chains, grocery stores, hospitals or mass retailers; CPhTs can become supervisors or move into specialty positions like chemotherapy technician or nuclear pharmacy technician

8. Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
Eligibility: There are no minimum education or experience requirements, however, the exam is written for individuals who have been performing most of the tasks on the examination outline for two years. The examination is not appropriate for entry-level candidates, according to the Healthcare Quality Certification Board.
Jobs you can get: Health information manager or health-care administrator in hospitals, outpatient care centers, physicians' offices, nursing care facilities and home-health services.

9. Certified
Professional Organizer (CPO)
Eligibility: Must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, and must document 1,500 hours of paid work experience in the last three years. Experience may include on-site organizing, coaching, consulting, training, virtual organizing, interactive workshops and speaking engagements, or any form of paid work experience which, through client interaction, transfers or teaches organizing skills, according to the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers.
Jobs you can get: Professional organizer; consultant; entrepreneur; design specialist

10. Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
Eligibility: Two years of documented, exempt-level (professional) HR work experience, according to the HR Certification Institute.
Jobs you can get: Human resources, training and labor relations manager and specialist; compensation and benefits manager; training and development manager; employment, recruitment and placement specialist; compensation, benefits and job analysis specialist; training and development specialist

*Please note: Some of the prospective jobs require further training or education than just the certification.

Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter:

Last Updated: 13/08/2009 - 5:16 PM

 |   |   Print   |

Degree Finder Tool

Contact us today to enroll or learn more
While widely available, not all programs are available in all locations or in both online and on-campus formats. Please check with a University Enrollment Advisor.