A shrewd business professional looks for ways to move up (or over) to improve their salary, benefits, and job opportunities. One way to reach that goal is by getting a business certification. It’s tricky to nail down what constitutes a “business certification .” Think about the sheer number of lines of business (LOBs) in U.S. companies, and that most LOBs can have multiple associated certifications. To narrow our focus, we looked at general business and management credentials, as well as customer resource management, supply chain, sales and purchasing certifications. Although most of the certifications we selected are vendor-agnostic – not tied to a specific system or application – we researched several credentials from SAP, SAS and similar companies that specialize in business applications.
1. Certified Associate in Project Management
The Project Management Institute (PMI) has been around since 1969, helping business workers develop careers in project management, mainly through professional development and certifications. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is ideal for up-and-coming project managers. You need to show proof of a high school diploma, associate degree or global equivalent. The single exam has 150 questions, costs $225 for PMI members or $300 for nonmembers, and is available through Pearson VUE. By the time you take the exam, you need to have attained 1,500 hours of project experience or 23 hours of project management education. The certification is valid for five years, and you must retake the exam to maintain the credential.
PMI has other certifications aimed at the business community, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA), Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP), Program Management Professional (PgMP) and PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP).
2. Certified Business Analysis Professional
If you’re interested in analyzing business needs and coming up with solutions, take a look at the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). The CBAP is an advanced certification aimed at managers and leaders with more than five years of business analysis experience. More precisely, you need at least 7,500 hours of business analysis experience over the last decade, and 900 of those hours must directly relate to four of the six BABOK Guide knowledge areas. On top of that, you need at least 35 hours of professional development credits (earned over the last four years), plus two references.
The CBAP exam has 120 multiple-choice questions, based on scenarios and case studies, and is available through PSI. The exam costs $325 for IIBA members or $450 for nonmembers, and a $125 application fee is required. To maintain the CBAP, credential holders must earn at least 60 continuing development units within three years of achieving certification.
3. Certified Supply Chain Professional
APICS is all about supply chain management. As part of its goal to develop qualified operators, supervisors and leaders, it offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and a few other certifications. The CSCP covers supply chain concepts and technology, plus strategies for end-to-end operations, from supplier to company to consumer.
To earn the CSCP, you need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, at least one other approved certification, and at least three years of related business experience. You also need to pass an exam that costs $695 to $965, depending on your APICS membership status.