Professional Certifications: What’s Worth It?

February 3, 2012

In the field of architecture, there seems to be a certification for just about everything. 

Many employers will offer incentives for achieving specific professional certifications that they believe will ultimately increase your productivity and the profitability of the firm.


What’s In It For You?

                1.  Develop a better understanding of the necessary content

                2.  Become confident enough to move into a leadership role

                3.  Be recognized in a community of expert professionals on the subject matter

                4.  Increase your personal marketability (resume builder factor)

                The resume builder factor is the least important because a credential is only a highlight to an employer if it translates into value to the company. 

Take a look at your goals and be proactive about the direction of your career as well.   

So how do you go about determining which ones are worth your time and money?  What professional certifications could help to position you for opportunities to do what you love?

If you are interested in developing your Building Integrated Modeling (BIM) capabilities, choose a widely accepted software package like Autodesk Revit and go for it.  The certification process will push you to the next level of rigorous training to be a more efficient CAD user.

If you are passionate about sustainable design, then it would be valuable to research credentials like the Green Building Certification Institute’s Leadership In Energy & Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) certificate or Green Advantage if you are a contractor.  

During the process of becoming a LEED AP, I learned so much about the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system for New Construction which places higher priority on incorporating certain sustainable design strategies into construction projects.  I was also exposed to many other sustainable design ideas that have broaden my thinking as a designer.  It also exposed a personal weakness in the area of construction specifications and led to my eventual exploration of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)  Construction Document Technologist (CDT) certificate as well. 

After obtaining this my credential, I also gained the personal confidence necessary to move into the LEED Coordinator project management role for approximately $100 million of LEED construction over a few years.

Both of these certification experiences have helped me to reach toward my ultimate goal of professional registration. 

Professional certifications are most powerful when combined with work experience.   The questions in this article will help you to strategically chose the professional certifications that best align with your aspirations. 

True success lies in figuring out where you belong and getting there!


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