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< Back Career Advice

13 growing occupations with certifications to boost your hireability and pay grade

CareerBuilder | February 25, 2020

Certificate

Prove you know what you're doing with these certifications.

References, endorsements, degrees, certifications…there are plenty of ways to verify your expertise and experience when applying to a new job, and some checkpoints hold more weight than others. When it comes to edging out the competition and making your case for a higher starting salary, one of the best ways to influence hiring managers and establish your worth is highlighting the certifications you possess.

You can never go wrong with certifications; much like a degree it is with you forever and can be applied, either in theory or practice for years to come. [At the] end of the day, a designation adds an extra element of credibility to your profile, and in an ever increasingly competitive world it can sometimes be the difference between getting the job or not.

So what certifications should you pursue or highlight when taking the next step in your career? The answer becomes similar to anything in your job search: You need to know where you are going in order to figure out how to get there. Basically you need to have a job in mind and find a certification that either gets you there faster or more ingrained in it once you are in the door.

With that in mind, here are 13 growing occupations and the certifications you'll need to be a strong candidate in the interview process and a successful negotiator during salary conversations.

1. Audio and video equipment technician*
Projected growth rate through 2022:
9 percent (about as fast as average)
Certifications:
The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers eight broadcast engineering certifications, two operator certifications and a broadcast networking certification, each of which requires passing an exam. Similarly, InfoComm International offers an audiovisual Certified Technology Specialist credential.
Average yearly salary:
$67,500


2. Court reporter
Projected growth rate through 2022:
10 percent (as fast as average)
Certifications:
The National Court Reporters Association offers certification for court reporters, broadcast captioners, and Communication Access Real-Time Translation providers. Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) requires successful completion of a written test and a three-part skills test in which applicants must type a minimum number of words per minute.
Average yearly salary:
$63,000


3. Dental assistant
Projected growth rate through 2022:
25 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
Dental assistants must pass the Certified Dental Assistant exam from the Dental Assisting National Board. To take the exam, dental assistants must either have graduated from an accredited program or have a high school diploma, and complete the required amount of on-the-job training. Applicants must also have current certification in CPR.
Average yearly salary:
$57,500


4. Emergency medical technician
Projected growth rate through 2022:
23 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certifies EMTs and paramedics. All levels of NREMT certification require completing a certified education program and passing the national exam. The national exam has both written and practical parts.
Average yearly salary:
$65,500


5. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer
Projected growth rate through 2022:
21 percent (faster than average)
Certifications:
Technicians with relevant coursework and less than two years of experience may take the entry-level certification exams. HVACR technicians who have at least one year of installation experience and two years of maintenance and repair experience can take a number of specialized exams. For example, the North American Technician Excellence offers the Industry Competency Exam; HVAC Excellence offers a Secondary Employment Ready Exam, a Secondary Heat exam, and a Heat Plus exam; the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute offers a secondary exam; and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society offers two levels of certification.
Average yearly salary:
$56,500


6. Heavy and tractor-trailer driver
Projected growth rate through 2022:
11 percent (as fast as average)
Certifications:
All long-haul truck drivers must have a commercial driver's license. Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test. Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle. Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials must have a hazardous materials endorsement.
Average yearly salary:
$59,500


7. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse
Projected growth rate through 2022:
25 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs and LVNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination. In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN or LVN.
Average yearly salary:
$64,000


8. Manicurist
Projected growth rate through 2022:
16 percent (faster than average)
Certifications:
After completing a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program, manicurists and pedicurists must take a written and practical exam to get a license through their state board.
Average yearly salary: $47,000


9. Massage therapist
Projected growth rate through 2022:
23 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must get a license or certification after graduating from an approved program and before practicing massage. The exam may be solely a state exam or one of two nationally recognized tests: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
Average yearly salary:
$56,500


10. Medical billing and coding
Projected growth rate through 2022:
22 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
Certifications include Registered Health Information Technician and Certified Tumor Registrar, among others. Many coding certifications require coding experience in a work setting.
Average yearly salary:
$59,500


11. Phlebotomist
Projected growth rate through 2022:
27 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
Several organizations offer certifications for phlebotomists. The National Center for Competency Testing, the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the American Medical Technologists offer Phlebotomy Technician certifications. Certification candidates typically need some classroom education and clinical experience.
Average yearly salary:
$43,000


12. Skincare specialist
Projected growth rate through 2022:
40 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
After completing an approved cosmetology or esthetician program, skincare specialists take a written and practical exam to get a state license. Licensing requirements vary by state.
Average yearly salary:
$65,500


13. Surgical technologist

Projected growth rate through 2022: 30 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications:
Certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting allows the use of the title "Certified Surgical Technologist. Certification typically requires completing an accredited formal education or military training program and passing an exam. Certification through the National Center for Competency Testing allows the use of the title "Tech in Surgery-Certified." An applicant must pass an exam and have taken one of several routes to be eligible. Both certifications require surgical technologists to complete continuing education to maintain their certification.
Average yearly salary:
$66,000

*Job titles, education and pay descriptions from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.