Moving to the Next Level

When Should I Move to the Next Level?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Sometimes building a career is like eating an elephant: but taking it one bite at a time is much, much easier.

Where do you want to be 5 years from now? 10 years from now? Let's not even think beyond that. We'll lay the framework for that in the next 5 to 10 years.

In 5 years, do you want to be more respected, promoted, counted on, consulted?

Begin with the basics: for others to know you can be respected, should be promoted, counted on, consulted, etc., you need to tell them you are capable.

How? By showing interest in your career or profession. You can do this by pursuing opportunities for advancement through certification (where you will demonstrate that you have the knowledge that it takes to do the job), through seeking continuing education (where you will demonstrate that you have the interest in knowing the most current information in the field), through networking with your peers (which may be done online or in face to face settings).

NICET can help you. NICET certification programs are based on input from subject matter experts and practitioners in the field being certified. Thus, NICET certification programs are specific and appropriate to the area being certified.

Taking steps toward the next upgrade of your NICET certification can function as the little bites that can make that big elephant disappear. Use NICET program descriptions as a guide for taking those 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.

The requirements for obtaining and maintaining certification are established by industry experts. The activities that bring an individual to a level of capability that meets these standards are the same kind of activities that will build your professional value to employers, customers, peers, and yourself. Use the materials provided by NICET, the know-how and experience that your peers and employer can provide, and the resources available to the industry (training, books, standards, etc.) to acquire the knowledge and experience to attain higher levels of certification and higher levels in your profession.

When the time comes for increased job responsibilities, promotions or raises, your NICET Certification carries the clout of a third-party, standards-based credential, granted by the oldest and most respected certifying organization for engineering technicians and technologists.