Most people have a picture in their mind of how they see their career playing out. They imagine starting off with an education in their chosen field, getting an entry-level job, working up through more advanced roles and gradually taking on a managerial or executive position, or something involved in moving and driving a company forward. Perhaps they see themselves consulting or running their own business after gaining experience. They might imagine making the move to establish a company once they feel confident in their abilities. Perhaps they will even bring on staff of their own.
That vision of the future is genuinely important, but in many cases it must also be paired with certification. Certification or a designation assigned by a third-party organization gives you credibility in your career. It proves you have the skills and knowledge to operate in your job at an experienced level. It also shows others that you have a commitment to your field that includes a willingness to complete the ongoing certification requirements (such as annual education and attending events). Through certification or designations, you are proving that you are engaged in your field and that you are devoted to what you do.
Which certifications are the best? Of course this depends upon the field you wish to pursue as there can be hundreds of certifications and designations available for different careers in Canada. Finding the right certification for you will come from talking to others in your field, reviewing what employers are looking for and doing the research of certification and designation organizations to determine what the best fit is for you and your future.
HR Certification in Canada
If we look at HR certification in Canada, Google returns almost 13,000,000 results. It’s a challenge to narrow the options down, so here we expand on the steps noted above to get you started in your exploration of the Human Resources courses in Canada. These steps will apply to just about any field when determining the right certification or designation for you so even if you’re not looking towards a career in HR, you’ll be able to find the best options.
First, talk to others in the HR industry to determine what certifications and designations they hold, what they found to be the most useful and why. Ask a range of individuals at various levels in their career as there will be some who have been in the HR field for a longer period of time that hold (or have in the past) several different certifications or designations. You’ll also want to talk to entry level HR employees as well as mid-level employees to get a feel for what the benefits were from their choices.
Once you’ve had some input from those in the industry, take a look at current job postings to see what kinds of certification and/or designations in HR are required or preferred in the jobs that appeal to you. Again, don’t just look to entry level jobs. Look to more advanced roles that you would aspire to in a number of years to see what your future job might require.
Then, once you have this input, look at the organizations that offer the certifications and designations you feel would be of the most benefit. One that is likely to come up frequently in HR circles is the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR). CPHR offers different types of memberships that will lead to the CPHR designation. This can be done through one of three paths outlined on the BC and Yukon chapter site at CPHRBC.ca.
For some roles in HR, some companies may not specify HR specific programs and courses, but many – and certainly those in management positions – an employer will generally require specific HR training and certification such as that accredited by CPHR. Education in a specific HR program like a Human Resources Management Diploma will position you with specific understanding around labour relations, personnel and recruiting as well as benefits and compensation. This will contribute towards earning a CPHR designation through the organization’s accredited path.
Education Assistant Courses in Canada
Another area where certification is of benefit is in the field of an education assistant/teaching assistant. Teaching assistant courses in Canada are often taught through experienced schools with qualified instructors who have experience in the industry. These types of courses will generally be described as a certificate or diploma course. This is important to note when reviewing education institutions. Not all schools make this distinction and many employers specifically ask that an employee have education assistant courses in Canada and a certificate or diploma from the institution as a result of completing the program.
In these cases, where a certificate or diploma isn’t issued from a third-party organization, there is a different method to review your options. This isn’t about assessing designations from a specific body, but rather, determining the best education option that will provide the learning you need and the certificate or diploma that employers are looking for.
Start by talking to others in the industry about their experiences. What school did they go to? Was the program flexible and offered online as well as in-person options? Were they awarded a certificate or diploma upon successful completion of the program? Ask all the questions that will ensure you understand the experience they had as a student. Again, be sure to talk to not only those new to the field, but also those who have been education assistants for a longer period of time.
Secondly, look to job postings to determine what employers are asking for. Do they specify that they want a certificate or a diploma? Do they outline things that you must have in your background in terms of education?
And finally, do a review of education institutions. You want to choose one that can offer programs and courses taught by professionals who have experience in the industry.
Certifications, designations, certificates and diplomas can be somewhat confusing. Take your time to talk to others, review schools and organizations and check out job postings to determine the right option for your future.