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Are you a new or seasoned digital marketer wondering what, if any value there is in obtaining a digital marketing certification?
If you have any knowledge of digital marketing, you know that you are always going to be seeking more. More knowledge, more skills, and more ways to show clients or employers that you can set their business apart. Adding a qualification to your resume is one of the best ways to do that while setting yourself up for success.
It's becoming a widely accepted fact that becoming a digital marketer does not necessarily require a four-year degree. It’s a field where proven ability supersedes four years of school—largely due to the fact that bachelor programs aren’t teaching the specific skills required to become a digital marketer.
In fact, many would argue that digital marketing certification is even better than a college degree and may be the best way to demonstrate that you have invested time and energy into learning and mastering the skills of your craft.
What Makes a Certification Legitimate?
There have been plenty of courses, certificates, and certifications that have been sold by scammers trying to make a quick buck—so how do you know if the certification you are looking at is legitimate?
Ask these questions to determine for yourself if the certification you are looking at will be beneficial to your career:
Are They Taught by Industry Professionals?
If the people teaching the courses are not adept at doing what they are teaching, you’re wasting your time and potentially money. Employers want their employees being taught real-world practical knowledge as it applies to this industry. And any good marketing institution respects that and hires top-notch teachers with a proven track record in the subject they are teaching.
Does It Offer Practical Knowledge?
Will you be able to take from this certification the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired and then apply them to the real world? Will it teach you new skills, or upskill ones that you already have? You want to look at how you will be able to translate what you learn into your career in digital marketing. If you can and will, then it’s looking good.
Is It Widely Accepted?
This might be harder to determine, but a little bit of research can help in this regard. What are former students saying after taking this course? Check for reviews. Unfortunately, not all programs are accepted equally so if you are looking at two that appear to meet the above criteria, this could be the deciding factor for you.
What is the Difference between a Certificate and a Certification?
Certification recognizes that you’ve taken a series of classes and passed an exam on the course material. The courses can be quite in-depth, covering a range of topics. Your certification may in some instances only remain valid for a set amount of time before you must recertify. Certifications can cost more because they are more in-depth than certificates, and you may have to pay a fee in order to take the exam.
Certificates are given at the end of a course, usually covering a single topic. They are often given for participation in the course and not necessarily a reflection of merit. This does not discount their value if they teach you something useful. In addition, many are offered for free, so taking them requires only an investment of time. Plus, it doesn't hurt to add them to your resume.
What Are the benefits of Obtaining a Qualification/Certification?
The value of a digital marketing qualification to career development is immeasurable. Whether you have experience in the field or you’re just starting out, there is value to be gained. One of the more appealing aspects of obtaining a qualification/certification is that you don’t have to have prior educational experience or upgrade any courses to begin.
Some of the specific benefits of obtaining a qualification/certification include:
Staying On Top of New Developments
Certifications help you keep on top of new developments in the industry as they occur. With innovations in technology constantly emerging, continually upskilling will help you stay on top of these advances.
A recent study suggests that college graduates don’t seem to be as ready to enter the workforce as they think they are. Having certifications that show potential employers that you have the practical knowledge you need to succeed in your job is invaluable in this context.
Digital marketing involves such a diverse cross-section of skills. Adding one or two specialties to your niche can help you advance quickly in a company. For example, a content writer that masters PPC and SEO can easily become a content manager.
Demanding a Higher Wage
Your earning potential as a digital marketer is high. It is one of the top ten earning jobs that doesn't require a degree. Every certification that you add to your resume adds to your ability to demand a higher wage and gives you the confidence to know that you deserve it.
Set Yourself Apart From Your Peers
When all else seems equal, the number of certifications you’ve compiled will set you apart from your competition. It is not just that you have the certifications and the skills that come with them, but it demonstrates a drive for self-improvement that speaks highly to your character.
The reality is that there is still a lingering mentality that formal education is important. A digital marketing certification is where education and practical knowledge intersect. It meets the requirement of post-secondary education that focuses on teaching you the things you will actually need to know in the real world.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Certified?
That will depend entirely on what you want to become certified in. There are a number of free certifications available online for things like Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Facebook Ad Manager and more.
If you are looking to invest in your education, paid certifications are an incredibly valuable asset. The Digital Marketing Institute has a new course offering digital marketing certification, and much like traditional learning institutions, they have financing options available. A course that covers all of the fundamental elements of digital marketing in a way and demonstrates how all of the pieces work together will give you a competitive advantage.
The most exciting thing about this business is how accessible it is to those that are willing to put in the work to become an industry leader. If you want to become a digital marketer, or you already are, adding qualifications/certifications to your resume is going to position you as a leader and an expert.
Many of the certifications available are very affordable, especially if you are comparing the cost to a college degree. This is making digital marketing an accessible option for those who are looking to change careers or upskill in their current one.