Does your work require you to be licensed? Or maybe getting licensed is optional for you. What about a certification? Should you get one, or is it a waste of time and money? Here are some of the benefits (and minor costs) associated with becoming licensed and certified.
Certified vs. Licensed
When you’re certified in your line of work, it usually means that you have completed some type of schooling and/or training specific to that field. A certificate is a verification of that education and training. Some examples of certifications include a Human Resources certification, a Hubspot certification, a Project Management certification, and a Google Analytics certification.
When you’re licensed in your line of work, it means that you have been allowed by your state or local government to perform a certain type of work. Not all jobs require you to be licensed to work in that field, but many do. Jobs that require a license include architecture, construction, engineering, insurance, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, real estate, and any type of transportation.
Benefits of Professional Certification in Your Field
Just like a license, not all jobs require certifications, but having a certification in a particular area allows you to perform certain tasks in addition to your job. Certifications look very good on your resume. They show that you have acquired knowledge to perform specialized tasks related to your field of work. Other benefits of certification include:
- Demonstrates your skills and expertise
- Proves you’re prepared to take on more tasks and responsibilities
- Strengthens your professional credibility
Benefits (and Costs) of Being Licensed in Your Field
The advantages of having a license are pretty much the same as having a certificate, but the main benefit is that it enhances your marketability, creating more opportunities for employment in your field. In many fields, such as in insurance and the medical field, it’s actually illegal to do any work related to that field without a valid license. Other fields, like certain types of contracting work, don’t require licensure, but having a license brings in more clients.
Licensing Can Get Pricey
Obtaining a license (and even some certifications) usually comes with a monetary cost. It makes sense because you will be legally recognized as being able to perform a specific task within your field of work. This is a reason why some opt not to get a license if it’s not necessary to perform the minimum tasks of a job. This option may seem like you’re saving money, but keep in mind that being licensed has the potential to bring in more clients and/or opportunities, which brings in more money.
Some Confusion Can Come With Licensing
As mentioned before, not all jobs require a license to perform work, but a license may be required for a specific type of project… and it also may not be required for that same type of work. The reason why a career field may require licensure, and at the same time not require licensure is that licensing requirements vary from state to state.
A good example is contracting. The U.S. state of Kentucky requires plumbing, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), and electrical licenses, while general contractors don’t necessarily have to be licensed. Licensing for general contractors in this state usually depends on the local city or county government. Other states require licenses for all contractors, or only for projects exceeding a certain dollar amount.
Licenses Are Subject to Renewal
A license is a professional label, not only showing that you are certified (educated and trained) to perform a job, but also that you are legally allowed to perform a job. This means that after a while, it will be time to refresh your skills and renew your license. This can also come at a cost, but only a small cost compared to the benefits a license brings.
Overall, licenses and certifications may cost you in the beginning, but can certainly reward you monetarily in the long run.
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