13 Growing Occupations With Certifications to Boost Your Hireability and Pay Grade

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References, endorsements, degrees, certifications...there are plenty of ways to verify your expertise and experience when applying to a new job, and some checkpoints hold more weight than others. When it comes to edging out the competition and making your case for a higher starting salary, one of the best ways to influence hiring managers and establish your worth is highlighting the certifications you possess.
Trevor Lamson a senior recruiter for Connected Recruiting Ltd., says, "You can never go wrong with certifications; much like a degree it is with you forever and can be applied, either in theory or practice for years to come. [At the] end of the day, a designation adds an extra element of credibility to your profile, and in an ever increasingly competitive world it can sometimes be the difference between getting the job or not."

So what certifications should you pursue or highlight when taking the next step in your career? The answer becomes similar to anything in your job search: You need to know where you are going in order to figure out how to get there," Lamson says. "...Basically you need to have a job in mind and find a certification that either gets you there faster or more engrained in it once you are in the door."
With that in mind, here are 13 growing occupations and the certifications you'll need to be a strong candidate in the interview process and a successful negotiator during salary conversations.

1. Audio and video equipment technician*
Projected growth rate through 2022:
9 percent (about as fast as average)
Certifications: The Society of Broadcast Engineers offers eight broadcast engineering certifications, two operator certifications and a broadcast networking certification, each of which requires passing an exam. Similarly, InfoComm International offers an audiovisual Certified Technology Specialist credential.
2012 median pay: $41,200 per year

2. Court reporter
Projected growth rate through 2022: 10 percent (as fast as average)
Certifications: The National Court Reporters Association offers certification for court reporters, broadcast captioners, and Communication Access Real-Time Translation providers. Certification as a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) requires successful completion of a written test and a three-part skills test in which applicants must type a minimum number of words per minute.
2012 median pay: $48,160 per year

3. Dental assistant
Projected growth rate through 2022: 25 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: Dental assistants must pass the Certified Dental Assistant exam from the Dental Assisting National Board. To take the exam, dental assistants must either have graduated from an accredited program or have a high school diploma, and complete the required amount of on-the-job training. Applicants must also have current certification in CPR.
2012 median pay: $34,500 per year

4. Emergency medical technician and paramedic
Projected growth rate through 2022: 23 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certifies EMTs and paramedics. All levels of NREMT certification require completing a certified education program and passing the national exam. The national exam has both written and practical parts.
2012 median pay: $31,020 per year

5. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer
Projected growth rate through 2022: 21 percent (faster than average)
Certifications: Technicians with relevant coursework and less than two years of experience may take the entry-level certification exams. HVACR technicians who have at least one year of installation experience and two years of maintenance and repair experience can take a number of specialized exams. For example, the North American Technician Excellence offers the Industry Competency Exam; HVAC Excellence offers a Secondary Employment Ready Exam, a Secondary Heat exam, and a Heat Plus exam; the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute offers a secondary exam; and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society offers two levels of certification.
2012 median pay: $43,640 per year

6. Heavy and tractor-trailer driver
Projected growth rate through 2022: 11 percent (as fast as average)
Certifications: All long-haul truck drivers must have a commercial driver's license. Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test. Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle. Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials must have a hazardous materials endorsement.
2012 median pay: $38,200 per year

7. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse
Projected growth rate through 2022: 25 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs and LVNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination. In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN or LVN.
2012 median pay: $41,540 per year

8. Manicurist and pedicurist
Projected growth rate through 2022: 16 percent (faster than average)
Certifications: After completing a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program, manicurists and pedicurists must take a written and practical exam to get a license through their state board.
2012 median pay: $19,220 per year

9. Massage therapist
Projected growth rate through 2022: 23 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must get a license or certification after graduating from an approved program and before practicing massage. The exam may be solely a state exam or one of two nationally recognized tests: the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
2012 median pay: $35,970 per year

10. Medical records and health information technician
Projected growth rate through 2022: 22 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: Certifications include Registered Health Information Technician and Certified Tumor Registrar, among others. Many coding certifications require coding experience in a work setting.
2012 median pay: $34,160 per year

11. Phlebotomist
Projected growth rate through 2022: 27 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: Several organizations offer certifications for phlebotomists. The National Center for Competency Testing, the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the American Medical Technologists offer Phlebotomy Technician certifications. Certification candidates typically need some classroom education and clinical experience.
2012 median pay: $29,730 per year

12. Skincare specialist
Projected growth rate through 2022: 40 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: After completing an approved cosmetology or esthetician program, skincare specialists take a written and practical exam to get a state license. Licensing requirements vary by state.
2012 median pay: $28,640 per year

13. Surgical technologist
Projected growth rate through 2022: 30 percent (much faster than average)
Certifications: Certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting allows the use of the title "Certified Surgical Technologist. Certification typically requires completing an accredited formal education or military training program and passing an exam. Certification through the National Center for Competency Testing allows the use of the title "Tech in Surgery-Certified." An applicant must pass an exam and have taken one of several routes to be eligible. Both certifications require surgical technologists to complete continuing education to maintain their certification.
2012 median pay: $41,790

*Job titles, education and pay descriptions from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.
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