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15 Types of Certifications to Consider Including in Your Job Descriptions

Professional certifications speak to a candidate’s knowledge and experience and can set them apart from the rest of your talent pool. As a result, you may wish to identify certain types of certifications as must-have or nice-to-have qualifications in your job descriptions.

In this guide, we’ll explore the top most common certifications listed in job descriptions on Indeed and offer advice on when you may want to require them.

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Why include examples of certifications in your job descriptions?

In many fields, professional certifications serve as evidence that candidates have demonstrated knowledge and experience in a particular area. Individuals who hold different types of certifications may be more successful at fulfilling their assigned duties and responsibilities.

If you feel that a certification is essential for success in an open position, consider including it as a qualification in your job description. This will help to ensure everyone in your pool of candidates has the necessary credentials and will further streamline the screening process. Alternatively, you may wish to identify certifications as preferred, but not required, to encourage quality candidates to apply while keeping your position open to a diverse range of people.

The 15 most common types of certifications

To get a feel for the types of certifications you may want to include in your job descriptions, review this list of the certifications most commonly included in job postings.

According to Indeed data for 2023, here are the top 15 certifications most commonly listed in job descriptions on Indeed.¹

1. BLS certification

Included in 4.14% of job postings
American Red Cross Basic Life Support (BLS) is a certification for first responders and healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses and emergency medical technicians. To gain the status, candidates must complete a training course that covers how to administer life-saving care to adults and children experiencing breathing and cardiac emergencies.

2. CPR certification

Included in 4.06% of job postings
Offered by a variety of organizations, such as the Red Cross and the American Heart Association, CPR certification indicates that a person has received training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, a life-saving technique. Unlike BLS certification, CPR courses are typically for individuals working outside the healthcare system, such as teachers, personal trainers and nannies.

3. CNA certification

Included in 2.03% of job postings
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification is a credential for nursing assistants. The state boards of nursing develop certification requirements, so eligibility criteria vary from state to state. Generally, prospective CNAs must complete a training course and pass an exam to earn the credential.

4. ACLS certification

Included in 1.16% of job postings
The American Heart Association’s Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification is for healthcare professionals who routinely care for patients likely to suffer cardiovascular and breathing emergencies, such as surgeons and intensive care unit nurses. Recipients complete a training course that covers airway management, pharmacology and management of conditions that arise due to cardiac arrest.

5. ServSafe certification

Included in 0.92% of job postings
ServSafe certification is a credential awarded by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to people who complete a 60- to 90-minute course on food handling safety and pass a 40-question exam. The certification may be beneficial for anyone working in the food service industry, including prep cooks, chefs, dishwashers and food servers.

6. Food handler certification

Included in 0.87% of job postings
Food handler certification is the general term for a credential earned by receiving training in and demonstrating knowledge of food safety guidelines. ServSafe is one example of a food handler certification.

7. First aid certification

Included in 0.86% of job postings
First aid certification is a credential earned by completing training on delivering care to people who become ill or injured. The Red Cross and American Heart Association offer first aid certification programs generally geared toward individuals outside the healthcare industry, such as caregivers, camp counselors and babysitters.

8. ASE certification

Included in 0.60% of job postings
The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers ASE certifications for auto mechanics in a variety of specialty fields, such as hybrid and electric vehicle repair and collision repair. To qualify for these certifications, candidates must meet work experience requirements and pass examinations to demonstrate knowledge.

9. Certified medical assistant

Included in 0.52% of job postings
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) confers Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification status upon medical assistants who meet eligibility requirements, including completing an approved training program, participating in an unpaid clinical placement program and passing an exam.

10. PALS certification

Included in 0.46% of job postings
The American Heart Association’s Pediatric Cardiovascular Life Support (PALS) certification is for healthcare providers whose job duties may include delivering life-saving care for infants and children, such as pediatricians, OB-GYNs and neonatal nurses. Required training covers the same basic topics as ACLS but focuses on the unique needs of pediatric patients.

11. BC/BE certification

Included in 0.46% of job postings
Board-certified (BC) and board-eligible (BE) are two terms related to physician specialty certification. Boards affiliated with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) grant specialty certifications for physicians who meet training requirements and pass examinations. For example, the American Board of Dermatology certifies dermatologists, and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology certifies psychiatrists.

A BC physician is someone who has already gained certification through the appropriate body, while a BE physician has met all certification requirements except passing the necessary exam.

12. ARRT certification

Included in 0.35% of job postings
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers several types of certifications for allied health professionals who administer diagnostic imaging tests, such as sonographers, CT technologists, MRI technologists and nuclear medicine technologists. Each certification has its own eligibility rules, but generally, candidates must meet training and experience requirements and earn a passing score on exams to earn credentials.

13. Child Development Associate certification

Included in 0.32% job postings
The Council for Professional Recognition awards Child Development Associate (CDA) certification to preschool teachers, childcare workers and other professionals involved in the education of children from birth to age five. There are multiple pathways to certification, including earning certain degrees or gaining a minimum number of hours of work experience.

14. PMP certification

Included in 0.27% of job postings
Awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is for project managers who demonstrate skills related to motivating team members, developing successful strategies for projects and assessing the success of completed projects. To gain certification, candidates must meet education and experience requirements and pass a written test.

15. Forklift certification

Included in 0.24% of job postings
Forklift certification is a credential for warehouse workers, laborers and other positions that require operating a forklift to move goods and materials. To gain certification, candidates must receive training on specific topics, such as operating instructions, vehicle capacity and steering and maneuvering in various settings. Employers have the option to provide the necessary instruction as part of their on-the-job training programs.

Do you have jobs that require a certificate or credential?

Now that you’ve explored examples of certifications, you’re ready to turn your attention to your own job descriptions and determine if you should include them. To arrive at your decision, first establish whether the role you’re hiring for requires a certificate or credential for success, or whether certifications would be beneficial, but not vital, to your roles. Consider the following to decide.

Job roles and responsibilities

Review the roles and responsibilities for the open position and consider whether any type of certification would be essential for completing them. For example, healthcare providers who will be assigned to a mobile emergency response team in a hospital would likely need PALS and/or ALS certification to execute their job duties. On the other hand, a hospitalist who would only perform general rounding and not be assigned to this team may not need this certification.

Trends in your industry

Consider what certifications your competitors require by reading their job postings. Depending on the trends in your area, you may need to mandate one of the above job certification examples or a different certification to acquire customers. For example, an auto repair shop in an area where all other competitors advertise having ASE-certified mechanics on staff may benefit from making ASE certification a required qualification.

¹Indeed data (US), Dec 2022 – Dec 2023

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*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your recruiting or legal advisor, we are not responsible for the content of your job descriptions, and none of the information provided herein guarantees performance.

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