Differences between certificates, certifications, and licenses, as well as positions that call for them

For many positions, employers might only consider you if you meet a specific set of requirements. These specifications are there to make sure that you have the abilities and knowledge necessary to complete the task safely and efficiently. Typical prerequisites include licenses and certifications that demonstrate you have received special training in a certain field. In this post, we compare certificates, certifications, and licenses, as well as popular jobs that call for each.

What exactly are certifications?

A third-party body with a specific set of requirements grants certifications. A certification indicates that you have completed a series of criteria and satisfied the requirements set by the company. Certification usually requires you to pass several courses. A certain degree of industry experience may also be required. Certification is used to demonstrate that you possess a particular set of abilities and knowledge.

Even though some employers demand certifications, most jobs and occupations do not legally need you to hold one. They frequently help you improve your resume by demonstrating how much you value advancing your education and professional skills. A test or series of tests may frequently be required for you to pass before an institution can provide you with a certification.

Below are a few instances of popular online certificates that recruiting managers in marketing or technology value:

  • Google Analytics: Given how common a tool Google has become in offices, it’s critical to understand how to take advantage of many of its capabilities. This free certification will demonstrate to hiring supervisors that you possess analytical experience. You learn everything there is to know about the Google Analytics tool and what you can do with it to get more information about your website. When deciding what adjustments to make to the website for your company, this tool is useful.
  • Certified Data Professional (CDP): The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals offers certification as a CDP. There are various study paths available for this certification, including those for data governance, business analytics, data management, data integration and interoperability, data analytics and design, data warehousing, information systems or IT management, enterprise data architecture, and more. To demonstrate your degree of experience to prospective employers, you may select from a variety of certification levels.
  • Social Media Marketing: HubSpot is your one-stop shop for all things sales and marketing. Via HubSpot, receive recognized certification in social media planning. You will learn how to create a compelling social media strategy, interact with more clients to increase revenue, and use social media to advance your brand and profession all through this course.

Professions that necessitate certification

The preferences of an employer will largely determine whether a position needs certification. A certification is a great method to differentiate your CV, even though some employers might not need one. The following professions typically demand certifications:

Computer engineering/science

Jobs in the fields of engineering and computer science that frequently call for certificates include:

  • Network operators
  • A network engineer
  • Programmer
  • Web programmer


There are a few healthcare occupations that require certifications:

  • Clinical lab assistant
  • Dentist’s assistant
  • Sonographer for medical diagnosis
  • Surgical technician


Most of these managerial positions call for certifications:

  • Manager of Human Resources
  • Manager of public relations


Certifications are necessary for many trades, including:

  • Automobile technician
  • Machinist
  • Technician in refrigeration
  • Welder

What exactly are certificates?

Certificate programs are brief training courses created to help you become an expert in a certain subject or skill. There are certificate programs available in a range of academic disciplines, trades, and professions, though the education is condensed and narrowly focused. You have a variety of options for professional routes, and at some point, you might wish to enroll in a certificate program to assist in a job move.

What exactly are licenses?

The local, state, or federal governments grant licenses. They grant you the right to engage in a specific line of work. You must fulfill preset requirements to obtain a license. This frequently entails obtaining a specific degree and taking a test that is handled by the state. You normally need to earn credits for continuing education after obtaining your license to maintain your standing. Employers can trust that you’ve received the knowledge and training necessary to lawfully perform a job if you have a license.

Careers that demand a license

Every jurisdiction has a different set of standards for a certain job’s license. If a license is required to lawfully practice your profession, inquire with the local government. The following professions might need licenses:

Social and community services

Listed below are a few positions in social and community services that need licenses:

  • Care, home administrator,
  • The driver of a school bus
  • Security Officer
  • Social work


There are a few occupations in education that frequently call for licenses:

  • University professor
  • High school instructor
  • Principal
  • The assistant teacher


The following healthcare professions require a license:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Technician in emergency medicine
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacy Assistant
  • Physical therapist
  • Veterinarian technician


The following financial professions often call for licensure:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Personal financial consultant
  • Property broker


These judicial and law enforcement positions frequently demand license holders:

  • Judge
  • Attorney
  • Private detective

Personal care and service

For the following positions in the personal service and care industry, you could need a license:

  • Funeral director
  • Pedicurist/Manicurist
  • Hairdresser
  • Massage therapist
  • Personal coach
  • Travel advisor


These trade jobs typically require a license for the employee:

  • Electrician
  • HVAC specialist
  • Plumber
  • Pipefitter

The advantages of certifications

A common advantage of earning a professional license or certification is the potential wage raise that may follow from having more knowledge and expertise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, on average, workers with credentials made roughly a third more money than those without. A further advantage is that, in comparison to degree courses, obtaining licenses and certifications often takes less time and money. Finally, those with qualifications have fewer job opportunities than those without credentials and tend to become employed at a greater rate.

10 in-demand professional certifications (Plus How to Obtain Them)

Consider professional credentials in your sector if you’ve been seeking for strategies to boost your career. Most sectors offer some kind of certification that will probably improve your chances of getting paid more, having better employment options, and opening up new career paths.

Discover the 10 industry-specific qualifications that companies are seeking and how to obtain them.

1. Certifications in project management

Project management professions are still in high demand, particularly for individuals who have earned Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) credentials.

For people with less project management experience but a strong grasp of the subject, the associate-level CAPM is the best option. For people with more experience, there is the PMP certification. The general steps for obtaining these certificates are as follows:

CAPM prerequisites

  • Have a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, or something comparable.
  • Complete 1,500 project-related hours,
  • Study project management for 23 hours.
  • Successfully pass the Project Management Institute’s 150-question test (PHI).
  • Pay the $225 to $300 charge.

PMP prerequisites

The first option for people who have below four years of college is:

  • Have a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, or something comparable.
  • Possess 7,500 hours of project management expertise.
  • Take 35 hours of project management training.
  • Pass a test with 200 questions.
  • Pay a charge between $405 and $555.

The second choice is for people with a four-year degree:

  • Get your bachelor’s degree.
  • 4,500 hours spent managing projects.
  • Complete 35 hours of project management coursework.
  • Pass a test with 200 questions.
  • Pay a charge between $405 and $555.

2. Certifications for business analysts

Business analysts assist organizations in improving efficiency, production, and profitability by analyzing processes, goods, services, and systems. Usually, they employ data and Technological resources to assist decision-makers in advancing their businesses.

There are several business analyst qualifications, but the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) or the IIBA Agile Analysis Certification have historically been preferred by experts in this sector (IIBA-AAC). A business analyst’s capacity to adapt and operate in dynamic contexts is recognized by the IIBA-AAC certification, which stands alone. The requirements for obtaining these certifications are as follows:

CBAP prerequisites

  • You must have accrued a minimum of 7,500 hours of business analysis experience within the last ten years.
  • Make sure that 900 of those hours cover four of the six skill categories listed in the BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Handbook.
  • Accumulated 35 hours or more of career development credits through the last four years.
  • Two professional references are required.
  • Plan your CBAP exam, and then ace the 120 questions.
  • Pay $350 to $450 along with a $125 application fee.
  • Get at least 60 credits in continuous learning within 3 years of receiving your certification to keep it current.

IIBA-AAC prerequisites

  • Finish an 85-question exam in two hours.
  • There are no prerequisites other than having between two and five years of expertise in agile.
  • Pay the $125 application fee on top of the $325 to $450 exam fee.
  • Renew your certification every three years.

3. Certifications for supply chains

An internationally recognized accreditation in the field of supply chains can boost your professional credibility and maybe lead to higher pay in the future.

To advance your career, you can select the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), or Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) credentials. The following are the prerequisites for certification:

CPIM prerequisites

  • Pass two tests in three years.
  • Spend between $495 and $690 per exam.
  • You must renew your CPIM certification every five years.

CSCP prerequisites

  • An undergraduate degree or its equivalent.
  • Possess a minimum of one valid certification.
  • Three years’ worth of relevant business experience is a minimum.
  • Pass a test that costs between $695 and $969.

CLTD prerequisites

  • An undergraduate degree or its equivalent
  • Possess three years of relevant business experience, or possess a minimum of one recognized credential.
  • Pass a test that costs between $475 and $625.
  • The CTLD designation must be renewed every five years.

4. Certifications in Marketing

A qualification might help you stand out when looking for jobs in the competitive field of marketing. Facebook, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and a lot more offer social networks and market intelligence certification. While some are cost-free, others might cost up to $2,500.

Although each certification has its standards, the following is the overall certification procedure:

  • Comprehensive training course.
  • Pass the test and pay the exam fee.

5. Certification in a skilled trade

Individuals working in skilled crafts frequently earn more after obtaining certification in their particular job. For instance, welders, carpenters, and HVAC mechanics learn their trades while working as an apprentice before receiving a significant rise after completing a test to become certified as a journeyman. The general certification procedure is as follows, albeit there are variations depending on the profession:

  • Finish a three to five-year apprenticeship run by a company or labor organization.
  • Get a certificate or degree from a local college, technical college, or technical institute.
  • Pay the exam fee.
  • Pass both a practical and written test.
  • Keep your license if it is required by your state and your profession.

6. Certifications in human resources

Consider being certified in HR if you work in the industry to demonstrate to prospective employers that you’ve put in the work to earn this title. HR certification holders are sought after by recruiters due to their proven leadership. HR certifications come in a variety of forms, but the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designations are most frequently sought by recruiters. When wanting to increase your job chances, take into account these titles. Below are the prerequisites for each designation to take the exam:

Prerequisites for PHR certification

  • A master’s degree or at least two years of work experience as an HR practitioner with a bachelor’s degree, or a minimum of four years of work experience as an HR practitioner.

Prerequisites for SPHR certification

  • A minimum of seven years’ worth of experience working as an HR professional, a minimum of five years’ worth of experience working as an HR practitioner with a bachelor’s degree, or a minimum of four years’ worth of experience working as an HR practitioner with a master’s degree.

7. Certifications in sales

Most salespeople decide to participate in specific programs created to advance their careers to obtain extra education and certifications. For example, Sandler Training, Challenger Sales, and Spin Selling are all sales strategies that demand studying and putting into practice tactics that aid sales professionals in reaching their objectives.

Certifications assist them in staying ahead of their competitors and building on prior experiences, in addition to improving their ability to persuade others and increasing their sales expertise. The following are the most typical prerequisites for sales certifications:

  • Sign up for the workshops and classes you want.
  • Pay the necessary payments to become certified.
  • Take part in online programs and pass exams there.

8. Certifications in Accounting

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualifications are two of the most sought-after accounting credentials.

CPA-designated accountants can do a variety of responsibilities while making a good living by preparing taxes and assisting clients who have IRS reporting obligations. For those looking to work as controllers and CFOs, a CFA is highly recommended because of its global recognition in the finance and investing industries. The prerequisites for earning a CPA or CFA certification are as follows:

Prerequisites for CPA certification

  • An undergraduate degree or its equivalent.
  • Ace all four sections of the standard CPA exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Meet state-specific standards for education and employment experience.

Prerequisites for CFA certification

  • An undergraduate degree or its equivalent.
  • Join the CFA course and pay the enrollment fee.
  • Pass the CFA test on each of its three levels.
  • Meet the criteria for having professional employment experience.

9. Certifications for computer networks

Your skills and expertise in the sector are validated by a computer networking certification. The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) or Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) qualifications, which attest to their degree of knowledge and experience in the area, are frequently held by in-demand computer network architects and administrators. Of course, there are several credentials offered by various businesses from which to choose if you want to obtain computer networking certifications. What you must do is as follows:

Prerequisites for CCIE certification

  • Choose a date for the written exam and pass it.
  • The written section of the exam must be retaken if you don’t schedule and complete the laboratory section of the test in three years.
  • The written exam will cost $450, while the lab exam will cost $1,600.

Prerequisites for CCNP certification

  • Have CCNA or CCIE certifications from Cisco.
  • Focus on a CCNA career path.
  • Pass the test required for your chosen CCNP path.
  • Pay the $300 exam cost.

10. Certifications in Healthcare

Certain in-demand jobs in the medical industry need certifications and provide progression opportunities. Consider pursuing a profession as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), dental assistant, surgical technician, or paramedic if you’re interested in acquiring skills for the workplace. Below are a few general pointers for obtaining certification in one of these courses:

  • Enroll in a program for a profession in medicine.
  • Satisfying all program specifications.
  • Choose a date for the corresponding exam.
  • Pay all exam-related fees.
  • Take the test, pass it, and get certified.
  • Renewal of certification is necessary.

How To Choose the Best Certification Program

Ensure you are choosing the correct certification program for you by doing some research before enrolling right away. The improper program selection might result in a significant loss of time, resources, and effort.

To focus your search, you should make a list of the qualities you seek in a program. Finding a program with classes that match your schedule is important, for instance, if you want to obtain certification while working.

When looking for the ideal certification program, keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Discuss with your network: Ask your friends or coworkers if they have completed a certification program. Even if they didn’t pursue the same certification as you, they may know of a reputable institution that does.
  • Consult your employer: Consult your manager or HR if you want to get a certification that is already relevant to your current position. They may be knowledgeable or perhaps connected to services that you can access. They might even assist you with program expenses if the certification is directly relevant to your line of work.
  • Contact professionals in the field: Speaking with professionals in the area is among the effective methods to locate the ideal program. Ask for program suggestions from HR professionals, unions, or groups.
  • Consult with the local schools: The certification program you’re searching for may be already available. If there are any local town schools or universities that provide certification programs, inquire about them.
  • Search for online courses: Online lessons can be more convenient when you’ve got a hectic schedule because you are not constrained by where you are. Verify if the program is operated by a reputable and accredited organization.
  • Talk with program graduates: Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few programs, try to get in touch with graduates to get their opinions. They might have opinions or insights about the show that could influence your choice.
  • Use the certification finder to search. To identify programs based on various professions and industries, use the careeronestop certification finder tool.


Hopefully, we were able to satisfy your burning inquiry about occupations that merely call for a certificate. The jobs listed below are but a sample of the numerous career paths open to those holding credentials.

If there is a field we didn’t list that you are interested in working in, do some research to see if you need a degree or if there is a job you can perform with only a certification.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Differences between certificates, certifications, and licenses

  • What distinguishes licenses from certifications?

Certifications attest to the fact that a professional met the requirements for a given set of abilities or tasks as determined by a third-party evaluation. A license is a confirmation from a government body that a person is qualified to carry out a specific occupation in a specific setting, such as a state.

  • Which certification is more advantageous for the future?

Networking, data management, cybersecurity, and machine learning certificates are further pertinent certifications. Whatever you decide, ensure to research the most important values of the organization or career you want to pursue.

  • Which three certification categories go under?

The three main categories of certification are as follows. Corporate (internal), product-specific, and profession-wide are arranged according to the order of developmental stage and adaptability. A firm or low-stakes organization creates corporate, or “internal,” certificates for internal use.

  • What do credentials like certificates and licenses on a resume mean?

Licenses and certifications attest to a person’s possession of the particular expertise required for a job. These certificates are often earned after you have finished your degree.