Obtaining a certificate can be a great career move, whether you’re job hunting, working toward a promotion or switching fields. Certificates serve as proof of specific knowledge and provide qualification to perform certain tasks or operate specific equipment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “most certificates involve specific, work-related training. Many community college students—especially older and part-time students who hold full-time jobs—neither want nor need to pursue lengthy educational programs. A growing number of experienced workers who have a bachelor’s degree attend community colleges for computer classes and other instruction to keep current with new workplace technologies.”

Pharmacy technicians are among the many positions that benefit from certifications. While some states do not require certification for pharmacy technicians, many employers do. Those that do not may still find the certification appealing when sorting through job candidates.

Some fields require certification prior to employment. Fitness professionals like yoga and Pilates instructors need to fulfill certification requirements before stepping foot in a studio to teach. Teachers may obtain necessary certification while working, though some states may place a time limit on this. Federal certification is required to repair aircrafts. Radiology technicians and dental assistants also need certification.

For computer specialists like network administrators and computer systems analysts, earning certifications and keeping them current is crucial to their careers. Whether they are learning new skills in order to specialize or just stay up to date, computer specialists have a vast number of certificate options. Computer and information technology companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe and Cisco Systems offer vendor-specific certification. Cisco awards certificates for entry-level professionals, as well as for associates, professionals, experts and specialists. While having an associates, bachelors or masters degree in computer information sciences is optimal, many IT professionals are hired for their levels of experience working with specific software programs and network systems. Gaining certification in these areas can help open doors and in some cases may substitute for years of experience.

Penn State Online World Campus offers a variety of certificates to advance your career through academics including a bachelors-level certificate of achievement in weather forecasting and a graduate certificate in children’s literature. Other local programs include Villanova University’s certificate in human resources management and Drexel University’s certificate in retail leadership. Many local community colleges and universities offer certificates through online courses, as well as traditional on-campus classes. Because many adults with busy work schedules and family obligations continue their educations by obtaining certificates, schools have learned to accommodate them. Night school, weekend classes and online options are viable routes for non-traditional learners. To better serve these students Immaculata University has the College of Lifelong Learning, while Gwynedd-Mercy College has the Center for Lifelong Learning.

Often employers will subsidize or reimburse their employees for completing certificate programs, whether they last one day, a week or an entire semester. Talk to a human resources representative at your company to find out if these offers exist. If they are not currently set up, take the initiative and make a proposal. Prove to your employer that the extra training will improve your skills and therefore improve the company or its products. Show your supervisor that the specialized schooling you receive will pay for itself as your increased productivity will lend itself to the company’s bottom line.