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Higher Education Issue: How Do I Go Back to School?

by Heidi Lynn Russell, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Everglades University

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The Importance of Certifications

In certain industries, a specific certification may be more important than what your degree is or whether or not you possess a degree. This is especially true if the certification relates to what you did in the military. Civilian recruiters may not understand the military descriptions for certain jobs, but a certification speaks volumes to them, says Tim Mossholder, Project Manager for Candidate Services at recruiting firm Bradley-Morris, Inc.

Here are the top certifications sought by recruiters, according to Mossholder:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): This gives you a license number maintained by the Project Management Institute, a standardized credential program. “Project management has lots of meanings. It gives you a tool kit for how to manage a project, and a PMP can go into a variety of industries,” Mossholder says. “Construction highly values it and so does manufacturing, especially if your job is to supervise maintenance or construction projects at a facility or an overhaul of a logistics entity.”
  • Software Development: In a world looking for certifications, focus on “Agile” and “Scrum.” “Agile is a software development methodology and Scrum is a project manager’s tool kit for managing Agile, developing software based on customer requirements,” Mossholder says.

To understand it further, by contrast, JAVA code “is like being the fry cook, not the head chef,” he says. “If I’m Scrum certified, I have a JAVA code developer working for me, plus other language coders.”


Be advised that no military experience will get you to these two levels except for leadership, so you need certifications in both. “If you head to the West Coast for a job and blend these with your military service, it’s perfect. You’ll get a job in plus-or-minus 12 months,” Mossholder says.


See https://www.scrumalliance.org/certifications for more.

  • Cyber security: If you served in any kind of security or information warfare capacity, strongly consider two “gold standard” certifications: The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
  • The CEH involves learning how to bust into a network to advise your employer about self-protection. The CISSP is a level or two up the ladder and requires five years of experience in the security field.
  • “The CISSP is like the conductor, and the CEH is like the violin section. It’s the total picture for an enterprise versus a specific skill set,” Mossholder says.
  • Syracuse University offers a no-cost certification program for any post-9/11 veteran. “It’s all provided through an online course. If you complete any courses that require examination to earn certification, they’ll pay, assuming you passed and had good grades on required courses,” Mossholder says. See http://vets.syr.edu/education/employment-programs/ for more.



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