upgrade certification

Upgrade Certification

Achieving certification is a big step on the career ladder, hopefully it is only the beginning of the climb towards ever higher career goals and rewards. Candidates that show interest in their profession, pursue opportunities for advancement through certification.

Moving to the Next Level

The activities that bring an individual to meet higher levels of certification are the same kind of activities that will build a candidate’s professional value to employers, customers, peers, and themselves. Which can lead to increased job responsibilities, promotions, raises, and recognition.

Use NICET program descriptions as a guide for taking the next steps. Not all programs have the same structure, but progress up a typical 4-level certification ladder might look like this:

  • Level 1 is the beginning step; at this point in your career you are probably just beginning to explore the essentials of the field. At Level 1, you can demonstrate that you have a grasp of the essentials that will allow you to progress in your chosen field.
  • Level 2 is the make or break point. At Level 2, you've been in the field a few years and have decided to stay and make it your career. The knowledge examined at Level 2 is more wide-ranging and more career specific. Earning a Level 2 certification demonstrates that you are actively involved in the field and are interested in staying there.
  • Level 3 is for individuals who work independently — those who have the knowledge, skills, and responsibility to work without immediate supervision. You may have begun to take on some supervisory responsibilities.
  • Level 4 is the pinnacle of the profession. At Level 4, you will be the expert, taking on the most difficult assignments and troubleshooting when problems arise. You will likely be supervising others in the aspect of the field that most satisfies you and in which you are most interested and involved. At this level, you will be in a position to actively recruit and mentor others through these steps in career development.


Adding a Specialty

Careers in engineering technology may follow a simple pattern of advancement within a single specialty area, such as Fire Alarm Systems or Highway Construction Inspection. Often, though, a career branches out to encompass work in a set of related specialties. These specialty sets may be loosely defined by terms such as "Fire Protection", "Transportation/Public Works Inspection", "Security Systems", "Construction Materials Testing", etc. Sometimes they match NICET's "fields"; sometimes they do not. Candidates add multiple certification for two main reasons.


Many technicians are interested in variety and desire to work that is broader technically — working with various types of materials, systems, plans, construction projects, etc. Some want to be the go-to technical person who can plan or troubleshoot complex situations. Or maybe even supervise teams working on large projects involving multiple specialties. To realize any of these ambitions requires developing knowledge, skills, and experience across more than one technical specialty.

Employment Setting

Many companies provide services that involve more than one technical area. Career advancement may hinge on a technician’s flexibly to take on multiple roles as needed. Developing skills and earning certification in more than one specialty for various work assignments and, eventually, leadership on complex jobs. Alternately, there may be a related technical area that your company is not currently involved in, but could be — if someone has the qualifications that would allow the company to expand its offerings.

Whether the motivation comes from workplace incentives or an individual’s sense of purpose, when the time comes to branch out, certification is a way to validate qualifications in expanding range of capabilities.

Choose your next accomplishment today!

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