Get Certified: 4 Keys to Achieving a Professional Certification

Aug 13, 2015 | Career Development

certification250Earning an admin-specific certification is one of the more valuable things you can do for your admin career. It shows your dedication to your work and professional development. And it can even increase your earning potential by several thousand dollars!

Yet tackling a certification isn’t something to take lightly. It requires thought, research, preparation and dedication. If you’re considering a certification to enhance your admin career, here’s what you need to do to get yourself ready.

1. Map out plan of action. What do you want to pursue or achieve with your certification? Does the certification require an application? What resources – time, money, supplies, etc. – will you need to complete it? Before you dive into a certification, you need to map out a plan of action and research what goes into getting it. Look for information online, download and review the application, find out the cost for the test, as well as the study materials. Ask other admins what certifications they have and how they’ve helped their careers. By figuring out all of these things first, you’ll know what to expect before, during and after your certification, which can save you a lot of unneeded stress. If you need some inspiration for your plan, here’s a sample:


2. Create a study strategy. Figure out how, when, and where you’ll study for your certification before you actually crack open a book. Then schedule it on your calendar and keep the appointment with yourself. When I did the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) exam, I put together a local study group, and we met once a week at the public library. The accountability helped keep us all on track. If you know other admins who are studying for the same certification as you, consider forming your own group. You can also go online and join a virtual group. Either way, the extra level of accountability can go a long way in helping you prepare for your exam.

3. Know what to expect during the exam. Don’t wait until test day to find out what the exam process is like. Know in advance how long the test is, where it’s administered, and what kind of materials you’ll need. For example, the CAP exam takes most of the day, while the Myers Briggs certification exam only takes about an hour. If you know what you’re getting into before you show up for the exam, you’re less likely to encounter surprises. You’ll also be able to mirror the test conditions during your preparation.

4. Celebrate your success! Regardless of whether you pass your certification exam on the first try or you have to retake it, be proud of the time and effort you put into it. It’s important to recognize your achievement and, if needed, figure out what you have to do to pass it the next time.

Professional certifications are a must for any admin who is serious about his or her career. And the benefits are well worth the effort it takes to prepare and take an exam! If you’re interested in pursing an admin-specific certification, here are a few that might be of interest:

World Class AssistantTM Certification
Professional Administrative Certificate of Excellence (PACE)
Microsoft Office Certifications
Qualified Administration Assistant
Meeting Professional International’s Certified Meeting Professional

Do you have another admin certification that you think should be on this list? Please email us with your suggestions.

© 2017 Julie Perrine International, LLC


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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at

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