Top Certification Courses for the Professionals to Pursue in 2018

In today’s competitive world, holding a professional degree is not just sufficient to advance in your career. The organizations expect their employees to be an expert in their field of work and follow the best practices and industry standards.

The professional certification courses help employees to gain knowledge and build the professional skills needed to advance in their careers. These professional certification courses are designed by the top industry leaders and universities.

While some organization make it a mandate to be a certified professional to be eligible for a job, while at some places, it may just give an edge over others while competing for the next level. But in both the cases, being a certified professional is always beneficial.

Below is the list of most high rated Industrial Certification Programs that employees should aim at, based on the field of their work, to get a boost in their career graph.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)®

Specialization: General

Project Management Professional (PMP)® is the most popular and important industry recognized course for the project managers. It is a globally recognized certification offered by the reputed Project Management Institution (PMI).

This course is not an industry specific course, unlike most other courses, and people from any industry can apply for the examination. Also, the project methodologies covered in the course can be applied to any kind of project in any industry.

Most of the organizations globally, are nowadays looking only for the PMP certified professionals as project managers. This assures them that their projects will be completed on time, with optimum resources and budget with 100% success rate.

Who should apply for the course: Existing project managers responsible for the end to end project management and delivery.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education


  • Four-year degree
  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

Examination Cost

  • Member: US$405.00
  • Non-member: US$555.00

2. Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)

Specialization: Finance

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) certification course is specifically for the finance professionals. It is a globally recognized course designed for the charter holders to help them gain the advanced skills like portfolio strategy, investment analysis, asset allocation etc. This certification is granted by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute 

The CFA Program includes a series of three exams; Levels I, II, and III that must be passed sequentially.

  • Level I tests your knowledge of the ethical and professional standards.
  • Level II tests how you apply those standards to situations analysts face.
  • Level III tests how you apply the standards in a portfolio management and compliance context.

Who should apply for the course: Finance graduates and existing finance practitioners can apply for this examination.

Eligibility Criteria:

To enroll in the CFA Program and register for your first Level I exam, you must have:

  • An international travel passport and
  • One of the following:
    • Undergraduate education: A bachelor’s (or equivalent) degree or be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program (you must have completed your bachelor’s degree program in order to register for the Level II exam), or
    • Work experience: Four years of professional work experience (does not have to be investment related), or
    • A combination of professional work experience and education that totals at least four years (part-time positions do not qualify, and the four-year total must be accrued prior to enrollment).

Examination Cost:

Program enrollment fee: US$ 450

Standard Registration Fee: US$ 930

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3. Six Sigma Certification

Specialization: Marketing and Operations.

Six Sigma (6σ) is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.

Six Sigma professionals exist at every level – each with a different role to play. At the project level, there are black belts, master black belts, green belts, yellow belts and white belts. These people conduct projects and implement improvements.

  • Black Belt: Leads problem-solving projects. Trains and coaches project teams.
  • Green Belt: Assists with data collection and analysis for Black Belt projects. Leads Green Belt projects or teams.
  • Master Black Belt: Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts. Functions more at the Six Sigma program level by developing key metrics and the strategic direction. Acts as an organization’s Six Sigma technologist and internal consultant.
  • Yellow Belt: Participates as a project team member. Reviews process improvements that support the project.
  • White Belt: Can work on local problem-solving teams that support overall projects, but may not be part of a Six Sigma project team. Understands basic Six Sigma concepts from an awareness perspective.

Eligibility Criteria: You must have two completed work projects with signed affidavits or one project with signed affidavit and three years of work experience as it pertains to the Body of Knowledge. There is no education waiver.

Examination Cost:

Six Sigma Black Belt – CSSBB: $538

Six Sigma Green Belt – CSSGB: $438

Six Sigma Yellow Belt – CSSYB: $394


4. Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®)

Specialization: Information Technology

ITIL is a globally recognized certification that describes best practices for the effective and efficient provision of IT Services. ITIL was started in the 1980’s when the IT services provided to the British government did not meet expectations, and a method had to be found to achieve better quality at lower costs.

ITIL describes processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists which are not organization-specific, but can be applied by an organization for establishing integration with the organization’s strategy, delivering value, and maintaining a minimum level of competency. It allows the organization to establish a baseline from which it can plan, implement, and measure. It is used to demonstrate compliance and to measure improvement.

There are five certification levels within the scheme:

  • Foundation Level
  • Practitioner Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Expert Level
  • Master Level

Who should apply for this course : IT professionals who work with organizations that have adopted ITIL and want to start making a contribution.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Foundation Level: No criteria
  • Intermediate levels: You need to hold 2 credits from the ITIL Foundation certification examination. You must have 21 contact hours of instruction for the syllabus with an accredited training organization. And two years of work experience in ITSM is recommended.

5. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)

Specialization: General

Certified ScrumMaster designation is provided by the Scrum Alliance after successfully completing the certification examination.

A Certified ScrumMaster® helps project teams properly use Scrum, increasing the likelihood of the project’s overall success. CSMs understand Scrum values, practices, and applications and provide a level of knowledge and expertise above and beyond that of typical project managers.

By earning a Certified ScrumMaster® certification one can expand career opportunities by staying relevant and marketable across all industry sectors adopting Agile practices.

Who can become Certified ScrumMaster: Coders, testers, developers, software architects, product owners, project managers etc. with a working knowledge of scrum process.

Eligibility Criteria: No eligibility criteria.

6. The Open Group Architecture Framework – TOGAF®

Specialization: Enterprise Architects

TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, is the open Enterprise Architecture standard used by the world’s leading organizations to improve business efficiency. It is becoming one of the mandatory requirements for recruitment in many organizations for the role of enterprise architects.

TOGAF® Certification represents an ideal mechanism for demonstrating knowledge and application of TOGAF. Being TOGAF certified can significantly enhance and affirm your professional skills, improve your prospects for rewarding assignments, accelerate salary and career advancement, and result in greater peer recognition.

The TOGAF 9 Certified qualification is achieved through passing two exams, following a course of self-study or attendance at an Accredited Training Course. There are two levels to certification: Level 1, known as TOGAF 9 Foundation, and Level 2, known as TOGAF 9 Certified. Level 2 contains the learning requirements for Level 1.

Eligibility Criteria: There are no prerequisites for the TOGAF 9 Part 1. However, a candidate must be certified to TOGAF 9 Foundation for appearing the Level 2 exam.

Examination Cost:

TOGAF® 9 Part 1 English: USD $320

TOGAF® 9 Part 2 English: USD $320

TOGAF® 9 Combined Part 1 and 2 English: USD $495

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