11 Business Analyst Certifications for Career Growth
Updated July 4, 2023
As a business analyst, a professional certification can help you become a more competitive candidate for open positions and increase your earning potential. There are several programs for you to consider, so it's helpful to ensure the one you choose aligns with your professional goals. Understanding your certification options can help you earn the credentials necessary to qualify for a specific role or further your professional development.
In this article, we explain what a business analyst certification is, explore 11 certifications you can pursue, and give you six job options for business analysts.
What is a business analyst certification?
A business analyst certification is a credential that shows your skills and knowledge in data, business and technology. It can show your statistics knowledge and ability to use certain data software. You can add business analyst certifications to your resume, cover letter and professional networking pages.
Why are business analyst certifications important?
Business analyst certifications are important because they help you show your aptitude and knowledge. As a business analyst, you may decide to pursue certification to further your career and advance your professional development. They can show potential employers that you have the skills, knowledge and dedication to excel in your role. Many employers seek certified individuals, so you may also expand your job opportunities by earning a certification and qualifying for a wider variety of positions.
Related: Learn About Being a Business Analyst
Benefits of business analyst certifications
These are some benefits you may experience when you pursue a business analyst certification:
Enhance your resume
Adding a certification to your resume can help you validate your skills. It expands and elevates the information you include in your application materials and can help you separate yourself from other candidates.
Improve your skills
Completing a certification course can help you learn new business analysis skills. This can help you gain the skills to succeed in an entry-level role, or it can help someone in an entry-level role improve their abilities and advance their career.
Show your dedication
Earning a business analyst certification can also help you show your dedication to continuous learning. Employers may be more likely to offer you a position or promotion if you show you're dedicated to improving your skills.
11 business analyst certifications
There are several business analyst certifications you can earn. Here are four institutes that offer a variety of options:
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) certifications
The IIBA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the business analysis profession. It follows the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge standard, which defines knowledge areas and perspectives that business analysts study. IIBA certifications require you to get recertified every three years. You earn 60 continuing development units (CDUs) during each period. You can earn CDUs through professional and volunteer experiences. Business analysts may pursue one or more of these five certifications:
1. Academic Business Analysis Certificate (ABAC)
This is an entry-level certification you can obtain from a college or institution partnered with the IIBA. The ABAC can help students prepare for competency-based IIBA certifications. This is a great idea for prospective business analysts to earn to begin their careers.
2. Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
The ECBA shows an employer that an individual has a foundational knowledge of business analysis practices. To earn this credential, the IIBA requires candidates to have at least 21 hours of professional development in the past four years and pass an exam. Earning this certification can help professionals distinguish themselves from other entry-level business personnel.
3. Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
This certificate shows a candidate's ability to apply business analysis techniques to real-life scenarios. To earn a CCBA, the IIBA requires candidates to have at least 3,750 hours of business analysis experience, provide references and complete 21 hours of professional development. After providing these prerequisites, candidates can take the exam.
4. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
The CBAP is the highest competency-based certification a business analyst can earn from the IIBA. It demonstrates mastery of business analysis and the ability to lead others. Applicants must have 7,500 hours of business analysis experience within the past 10 years and have completed at least 35 hours of professional development hours within the past two years, two references and pass an exam.
5. Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
Many businesses are beginning to adopt the Agile project management framework. This certificate shows a business analyst's knowledge of Agile methods and how to work in that style. To earn the AAC, applicants pass an exam.
International Qualification Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA) certifications
The IQBBA focuses on business analysis in the information technology (IT) field. Analysts working in software development or website security may find certifications from the IQBBA ideal. It offers two certifications, both of which are lifetime certifications, meaning business analysts don't apply for a renewal or earn continuing education hours. These two certifications include:
6. Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
This certification shows an individual has a basic knowledge of business analysis practices. To earn a CFLBA, applicants pass a foundational-level exam. This exam tests a candidate's understanding of topics, including business process modeling and designing business solutions.
7. Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA)
This certification expands on the CFLBA and focuses on business analysis process management. Applicants pass an advanced-level exam to earn a CALBA. This exam reviews candidates' understanding of engineering requirements management and strategic analysis.
Project Management Institute (PMI) certification
The PMI's focus is to teach and maintain the best standards of project management practices. It offers one business analysis certification:
8. Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
This certification is for analysts that work closely with project teams. The level of work experience for this certification depends on the degree attained. For PBA certification, candidates pass a multiple-choice exam consisting of 200 questions. Those who hold a PBA keep it active by submitting a renewal application every three years, which includes proof of completing 60 professional development units.
International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) certifications
IREB is a requirements engineering institute. Since gathering and maintaining requirements is a function of business analysis, some companies prefer individuals to have one of these lifetime certifications:
9. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Foundation Level (CPRE-FL)
This entry-level certification demonstrates a holder's knowledge of business analysis as it relates to requirements engineering. It tests candidates' basic understanding of analyzing, specifying, and validating industry requirements. Candidates pass a multiple-choice exam at an approved testing site to earn it.
10. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Advanced Level (CPRE-AL)
Recipients of this certification have advanced knowledge of requirements engineering. The IREB requires candidates to have a CPRE-FL. They can then pass a multiple-choice exam at an approved testing site.
11. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Expert Level
IREB's highest level of certification shows a mastery of business analysis and requirements engineering techniques. Candidates applying for this certification have a CPRE-AL, experience as a requirements engineer and experience leading a team as a requirements engineer. They also pass a written exam at an approved testing site and complete an oral evaluation.
Tips for choosing a business analyst certification
These are some tips you can use to help you choose a business analyst certification:
Contact your manager
If you are working as a business analyst for an organization, contact your manager to learn if there's a certification they prefer. You can also speak with a career coach or a successful business analyst to learn about which certifications are most relevant. Your level of experience can influence your certification options as well.
Review job postings
It can be helpful to review business analyst job postings in your area to determine if companies typically seek a certain certification. Review resumes online and make a list of the business analyst certifications you find.
Consider your commitments
Some certifications require more time than others, so it's helpful to consider how much time you can commit. Consider tracking your time for a week and determining how much you have left over to dedicate to pursuing certifications.
How to get a business analyst certification
Here's a list of steps you can follow to earn a business analyst certification:
1. Make sure you meet the requirements
Most certifications have prerequisites you meet before passing an exam. Some require a degree, experience and business analyst education hours. Review each institute's website to learn more about the requirements for the available certifications.
2. Prepare for the certification exam
Most boards and institutes offer courses tailored to the certification exams. There are also external courses that help you prepare. Depending on your region, you may be able to find an in-person course. They're always available to complete online as well.
3. Take the exam
Exams typically last about an hour and include a variety of multiple-choice questions. Depending on the organization, you may be able to retake an exam if necessary. You may also be able to sign up for a practice exam before you take the test to predict your potential score and identify areas that may require additional studying or practice.
6 job options for business analysts
If you're interested in helping organizations grow their business and advance their operations, there are a variety of positions to pursue. Here are six jobs options for candidates with business analyst certifications:
For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries.
1. Budget analyst
National average salary: $71,557 per year
Primary duties: Budget analysts examine financial records and help companies establish budgets and remain on track. This role also involves preparing budgetary reports. Budget analysts may also monitor a company's income and expenses to determine its financial health and performance.
2. Business consultant
National average salary: $72,090 per year
Primary duties: Business consultants examine existing processes and procedures within an organization. They use this information to identify areas of inefficiency and opportunity for improvement. They can also make recommendations for new system implementations.
3. Data analyst
National average salary: $73,012 per year
Primary duties: A data analyst organizes and analyzes data, usually through the assistance of computer programs and accounting principles. They then compile reports that are used to identify business inefficiencies and areas for improvement. These analysts share their findings with company leaders to help them make informed decisions.
Related: Learn About Being a Data Analyst
4. Financial analyst
National average salary: $74,206 per year
Primary duties: This role involves analyzing a company's financial data to offer people and organizations guidance on business decisions and potential investments. They may analyze the performance of investments, including stocks and bonds. These analysts can also estimate expenditures and revenues to help companies with their financial planning.
5. Market research analyst
National average salary: $81,229 per year
Primary duties: Market research analysts analyze data concerning consumers and marketplace competitors to help their clients design marketing strategies. They may also identify business elements such as target demographics and accurate pricing for products and services. This can help a company create a well-informed marketing plan.
6. Quantitative analyst
National average salary: $117,661 per year
Primary duties: Quantitative analysts use complex models to help companies identify investments and mitigate risk. Private companies, banks and insurance companies may hire these individuals to make informed business decisions using existing data. They may collaborate with other internal personnel to help make financial decisions as well.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.
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