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.
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:
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.
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.