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Top 10 Business Specialist Certifications

This article looks at the top certifications for business specialists, highlighting their benefits and key areas of focus.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for business specialists in the job market because they provide evidence of an individual's knowledge and expertise in a particular field. They demonstrate that the individual has taken the time to learn and understand specific concepts and skills, as well as prove their commitment to their profession. Having certifications can also give a candidate an edge over other applicants who may not have the same credentials. Additionally, employers often look for candidates with certifications when hiring, as this demonstrates that they have invested in their professional development and are serious about their career.

This article reviews and explains how certifications for Business Specialists can boost their career prospects and provide them with the skills needed to succeed in today's competitive business environment.

What are Business Specialist Certifications?

Business specialist certification is a form of professional development that involves taking courses and exams to demonstrate a competency in business-related topics. This type of certification can help individuals who are looking to advance their career or gain an edge over the competition. It can also serve as a way for employers to verify the knowledge and skills of potential candidates.

Business specialist certification typically covers topics such as accounting, finance, marketing, customer service, operations management, project management, and more. By having specialized knowledge in these areas, individuals can be better prepared to handle the challenges they may face in their respective fields. Furthermore, having this type of certification can also give employers assurance that the person they are considering for a position is knowledgeable and competent enough to handle the job.

Overall, business specialist certification serves as a great way for individuals to further develop their skillset and demonstrate their expertise in specific areas of business. This type of certification not only offers invaluable knowledge but also provides an advantage over other applicants when it comes time to apply for new positions or promotions.

Pro tip: When considering a business specialist certification, make sure to research the benefits and requirements of the program. Compare different certifications to ensure you are getting the best value for your money and time investment. Additionally, ensure that the certification is from a reputable source and that it is accepted by employers in your field.

Related: What does a Business Specialist do?

Top 10 Business Specialist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Business Specialists today.

1. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) is a professional certification offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). It is designed to recognize the expertise and competency of professionals in the field of management accounting, financial planning, analysis, and decision-making.

To become a CMA, one must first meet the eligibility requirements set forth by IMA. These include having at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, two years of professional experience in management accounting or financial management, and passing two rigorous examinations.

The CMA exam consists of four parts: Financial Reporting; Planning, Performance & Control; Cost Management & Analysis; and Strategic Financial Management. Each part consists of 100 multiple choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete. The exams are administered twice a year in June and December.

The cost for taking the CMA exam varies depending on whether you are an IMA member or non-member. For IMA members, the cost is $415 per part while for non-members it is $555 per part. Additionally, there may be additional fees such as late registration fees or rescheduling fees if applicable.

Overall, obtaining a CMA certification requires dedication and hard work but can provide many benefits such as higher salaries and better job opportunities in the field of management accounting.

2. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional designation given to individuals who have passed the CPA Exam and met the licensing requirements of their state. CPAs are licensed by the state in which they practice, and must adhere to a strict code of professional ethics.

To become a CPA, you must complete certain educational requirements, pass the Uniform CPA Examination, and meet any additional requirements set forth by your state board of accountancy.

The educational requirements vary from state to state, but generally include a bachelor’s degree with at least 150 semester hours of college credit and 24 semester hours in accounting courses. In some states, you may be able to substitute experience for some or all of the college credits. You will also need to complete an ethics course approved by your state board of accountancy.

The Uniform CPA Examination consists of four sections: Auditing & Attestation; Business Environment & Concepts; Financial Accounting & Reporting; and Regulation. The exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The exam is offered twice a year in April and October at Prometric testing centers across the United States. To take the exam, you must first apply for eligibility through your state board of accountancy. The cost for taking the exam varies depending on where you live, but typically ranges from $200-$400 per section plus additional fees for applications and registration.

Once you have passed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, you must then fulfill any other requirements set forth by your individual state board before becoming certified as a CPA. These may include additional education courses or working experience under a licensed CPA or other qualified professional.

In total, it can take up to two years or more to become a certified public accountant depending on your individual circumstances and the requirements set forth by your particular state board of accountancy. The cost for taking all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam can range from $800-$1600 plus any additional fees required by your state board such as application or registration fees.

3. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) is a professional certification awarded by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in business analysis and its related disciplines. The CBAP certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, experience, and proficiency in business analysis through an examination process.

It typically takes at least 18-24 months of preparation to become eligible for the CBAP exam. This includes completing a minimum of 900 hours of documented business analysis work experience within the last 7 years, as well as 21 hours of professional development activities related to business analysis within the last 4 years.

To get certified, applicants must pass a three-hour multiple choice exam that covers six domains: Business Analysis Planning & Monitoring; Elicitation & Collaboration; Requirements Life Cycle Management; Strategy Analysis; Requirements Analysis & Design Definition; and Solution Evaluation.

The cost for the CBAP certification exam varies depending on where you take it. In the United States, it costs $325 USD for IIBA members or $450 USD for non-members. In Canada, it costs $395 CAD for IIBA members or $525 CAD for non-members.

4. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation given by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). It is a voluntary certification that signifies an individual has met certain educational, experience, and ethical requirements to provide comprehensive financial planning advice.

In order to become a CFP, individuals must complete the following steps:

1. Complete an approved college-level coursework in financial planning or related fields;

2. Pass the CFP Certification Examination;

3. Meet the CFP Board’s ethics and experience requirements; and

4. Agree to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

The CFP Certification Examination consists of two three-hour sessions with 170 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as investments, taxes, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, risk management and professional conduct/ethics. The exam costs $595 for first-time test takers in the U.S., plus additional fees for international test takers. After passing the exam, individuals must also meet work experience requirements before they can become certified. The total cost for becoming a CFP varies depending on how long it takes to complete all of the necessary steps but typically ranges from $1,500-$2,000 including exam fees and other costs associated with completing education courses or obtaining work experience.

5. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in project management. The PMP certification requires knowledge and experience in leading and directing projects.

It typically takes around 6-12 months to get the PMP certification. To be eligible for the exam, you must have either a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with at least 5 years of project management experience with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education; or a four-year degree with at least 3 years of project management experience with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

To get the PMP certification, you must first apply to take the exam through PMI's website. Once approved, you will need to schedule your exam date through Pearson VUE. After passing the exam, you will receive your official certificate from PMI.

The cost of getting the PMP certification varies depending on whether or not you are a member of PMI. If you are not a member of PMI, it will cost $555 for the application fee plus $405 for the exam fee for a total cost of $960 USD. If you are a member of PMI, it will cost $405 for the application fee plus $375 for the exam fee for a total cost of $780 USD.

6. Certified Business Coach (CBC)

Certified Business Coach (CBC) is a professional certification program designed to help business professionals become better coaches and mentors. The program focuses on developing the skills necessary to effectively coach, mentor, and lead others in the workplace. It covers topics such as communication, team building, problem solving, goal setting, and more.

The CBC program typically takes between six months to one year to complete. During this time, participants will learn how to use coaching techniques to help their clients reach their goals. They will also gain an understanding of how to develop relationships with their clients and build trust.

To get certified as a CBC, individuals must complete an application process that includes submitting a resume and three letters of recommendation from current or former employers or colleagues. After being accepted into the program, they must complete all coursework and pass an exam in order to receive their certification.

The cost of getting certified as a CBC varies depending on the institution offering the program. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $1,000-$3,000 USD for tuition and other fees associated with the program.

7. Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)

Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) is a professional certification program offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). It is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate expertise in supply management and have a commitment to the profession.

To become a CPSM, you must meet certain qualifications, including having at least three years of full-time experience in the field of supply chain management. You must also pass three exams covering topics such as strategic sourcing, operations and logistics, and risk management.

The process of becoming a CPSM typically takes about six months or longer to complete, depending on how quickly you can study for and pass the exams. The cost of becoming a CPSM varies depending on which exam package you choose. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,500-$2,000 to become certified.

8. Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

Six Sigma Black Belt Certification is a professional certification program that demonstrates an individual’s expertise in the field of Six Sigma. The certification requires a comprehensive understanding of the principles, tools and techniques of Six Sigma as well as a commitment to continuous improvement.

The certification typically takes around six months to complete depending on the individual’s experience and background. The process involves completing a series of courses, passing an exam, and completing a project that demonstrates mastery of Six Sigma principles.

To get certified, individuals must first complete the prerequisite training for their desired level (Green Belt or Black Belt). After completing the prerequisites, they can then register for the certification exam. Once they pass the exam, they will receive their official certification from an accredited organization such as ASQ or IASSC.

The cost of getting certified varies depending on which organization you choose to certify through, but generally ranges from $500-$2,000 USD.

9. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional certification offered by the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals. The CFA designation is one of the most respected and recognized qualifications for financial analysts, portfolio managers, and other finance-related professionals.

The CFA Program consists of three levels of exams that must be completed in sequence. Each level requires approximately 300 hours of study time. In total, it takes about 2 to 4 years to complete all three levels and become a CFA charterholder.

To become a CFA charterholder, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Pass all three levels of the CFA Program exams
  • Have four years of qualified work experience in an investment decision-making role
  • Become a member of the CFA Institute and commit to abide by its Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Pay annual membership dues to maintain your membership status

The cost to take each exam varies depending on when you register. The registration fee for Level I is $450 USD; Level II is $650 USD; and Level III is $950 USD. Additionally, there are fees associated with becoming an active member of the CFA Institute ($300 USD) and annual membership dues ($275 USD).

10. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual's knowledge and understanding of the Lean Six Sigma methodology. It is designed to help individuals improve their organizational processes and performance by applying the principles of Lean Six Sigma.

The certification typically requires a minimum of 40 hours of coursework, which can be completed in person or online. The coursework includes instruction on the core concepts of Lean Six Sigma, such as process mapping, data analysis, and problem-solving techniques. After completing the coursework, individuals must pass a written exam to receive their certification.

The cost of obtaining Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification varies depending on the provider and the type of program chosen. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500-$2,000 USD depending on the length and complexity of the program.

In order to maintain your certification, you must complete at least 16 hours of continuing education every four years. This can include attending conferences or workshops related to Lean Six Sigma or taking additional courses related to it.

Do You Really Need a Business Specialist Certificate?

Whether or not a person needs a business specialist certificate depends on the individual and their goals. If someone is looking to pursue a career in business, such as an accountant, consultant, or analyst, then obtaining a business specialist certificate may be beneficial. This certification can provide additional knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in this field. It can also help demonstrate expertise and give employers confidence in hiring someone who has achieved the certification.

On the other hand, if someone is simply looking to gain more knowledge about business principles and practices, then a business specialist certificate may not be necessary. There are many other ways to learn about this subject such as taking courses at universities and colleges, reading books or articles, attending seminars or workshops, or even watching videos online. Depending on the goal of the individual, these alternatives may be more suitable than obtaining a business specialist certificate.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to deciding whether or not one needs a business specialist certificate. It ultimately depends on the individual’s goals and how they want to approach learning about this subject matter.

Related: Business Specialist Resume Examples

FAQs About Business Specialist Certifications

1. What is a Business Specialist Certification?

A Business Specialist Certification is an industry-recognized credential that demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in business processes, systems and practices. These certifications are often obtained by professionals working in the field of business, such as project managers, operations managers, financial analysts and consultants.

2. What are the benefits of obtaining a Business Specialist Certification?

Obtaining a Business Specialist Certification can demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully manage and lead business operations. It can also open up new career opportunities and increase your earning potential. Additionally, having a certification gives you access to resources, networks and events that may not be available to those without it.

3. What types of Business Specialist Certifications are available?

There are many different types of certifications available for professionals working in the business field, including Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

4. How do I prepare for a Business Specialist Certification exam?

The best way to prepare for any certification exam is to gain experience in the field through hands-on work or courses related to the specific certification you’re pursuing. Additionally, there are many online resources available that provide study materials and practice tests for most certifications exams.

5. How much does it cost to obtain a Business Specialist Certification?

The cost of obtaining a Business Specialist Certification can vary depending on the type of certification you’re pursuing and where you choose to take the exam. Generally speaking, most exams range from $200 - $600 USD per attempt plus any additional fees associated with preparation materials or courses related to your certification path.