Top certifications for today's job market

Certifications are written proof of your skills. They show employers that you have the expertise and are familiar with the tools of the job. They also highlight your dedication to a profession.

While many companies look at education during the hiring process, some managers check for various certifications to understand how experienced a candidate is. A certification might replace a level of education, or it could serve as an added bonus to convince employers to hire you. While many certifications require several months of studying — and might even cost a few hundred dollars — they're often viewed as a faster and more affordable option than returning to school.

Here are four certifications to consider if you want to advance your career within your industry.

Top certifications for today's job market

QuickBooks Certification

Intuit's QuickBooks is one of the top accounting software platforms on the market. Even if you work as an accountant or bookkeeper for a company that doesn't use this platform, you're probably going to use one that has similar capabilities.

Getting certified is no easy task. There are two online exams that you can take — a basic exam and an advanced one — both of which require a great deal of training, studying, and practicing. This is why employers actually look for candidates that are QuickBooks certified: It proves the employee's commitment to their profession. It also serves as insurance that a new hire is trustworthy and actually knows what they're doing. If you're a lower-level accounting associate or an auditing clerk, it's possible to use this certification to prove you're ready to advance in the company.

Google Analytics Certification

Marketing tends to have lower barriers to entry than other fields because many employers are willing to train graduates and other business professionals to transition to marketing. Furthermore, it's easy to work in a niche marketing field without expanding your knowledge to other sections. For example, someone who specializes in social media marketing might not know the inner workings of paid search ads.

Someone who is looking to prove their marketing worth might consider Google Analytics certification. Google is one of the top search engines in the world, and its certification program teaches people how to evaluate website performance and traffic trends. This makes their certification program ideal for marketers who want to expand their skillset or change careers.

OSHA Training and Certification

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor enforces safety regulations within companies. They ensure that employees aren't put in dangerous situations and hold companies and supervisors liable for safety violations. OSHA offers multiple training courses that are relevant to different job fields. A few of these courses include:

  • Machinery and Machine Guarding Standards
  • Cranes in Construction
  • Shipyard Employment
  • Excavation, Trenching and Soil Mechanics
  • Power Press Guarding

Most positions require some sort of OSHA training. A personal trainer at the gym might not need to get certified in crane operation, but they should know the dangers of power press usage. While you don't need to be certified in all of these, it could increase your job prospects to pursue a certification in the sections you work in. This increases your likelihood of getting hired because employers will know that you're not a safety hazard and therefore not a financial liability.

CompTIA A+ Technician Certification

Technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in America right now. There are thousands of jobs that need to be filled, but not everyone is well-versed in computer programming, troubleshooting, and even the right terminology. CompTIA A+ Technician certification is a good place to start if you want to break into the technology field but don't have a formal computer science education.

Graduates from this certification will be able to troubleshoot PCs, operating systems, and mobile devices. They will typically become support specialists or help desk technicians and can then work their way up the career ladder through additional on-the-job training. The test typically costs $200 and requires a performance-based element along with a written exam. For many professionals, the cost of the exam and time spent studying is worth it as opposed to re-enrolling in college and getting a technology-related degree.

If your industry isn't included on this list, check out CareerBuilder's Insights section to learn more about your profession. There you can learn about education requirements for your industry and find certifications that can help you advance your career.