In the ClearanceJobs 2022 Security Clearance Pay Report, 52% said they had at least one certification, a 3% jump from the previous year. More and more people are choosing to set themselves apart from employers with certifications – and more and more companies are submitting proposals with a longer list of accomplishments. It’s no surprise that respondents who have a certification earn $13,043 more than those who don’t. Just like a graduate degree, a certification can be a game-changer when it comes to salary, but it all depends on which one you choose.
Top 10 Certifications Held by Certified Professionals – 2022
ClearanceJobs’ annual compensation survey had 24,089 respondents, and the level of talent is varied and deep for clearance holders. Sometimes personal goals drive which certifications are popular, and other times in DoD contracts, contract requirements are the push. Whatever the reason, here are the most popular certifications for licensure holders.
1. COMPTIA Security +
Again, this is the most popular certification for clearance holders, and that’s because it’s a key foundational certification to meet DoD 8140 – the directive that s extends to the original DoD 8570. The COMPTIA Security+ pays much less than other top certifications, but that’s because it’s one of the top certifications on the cybersecurity ladder. And 24% of authorization holders who have a certification opt for it.
2. Six Sigma
Being more efficient is the name of the game when you support the federal government. Six Sigma certification is not only commonly held by licensees, it also makes up for it well. Helping the federal government update its systems and processes requires proven data and methods.
3. COMPTIA+ Network
If you want to prove you have what it takes to troubleshoot, configure and manage networks, COMPTIA Network+ plays an important role. Like the Security+, the Network+ is important to comply with DoD 8140, depending on the role of the project. This certification earns $3,560 more than Security+.
4. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Want to be a better project manager? Do you want to get started in project management within your current organization? This certification usually compensates well and is usually held by licensed professionals. It’s an investment to make, but if you can handle the project management, it’s an investment to seriously consider.
5. Foundations of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
Scope drift keeps project managers up at night. The ITIL foundations offer five levels to achieve during their career in IT service delivery. Depending on the level of success, this certification compensates well. Even at the foundation level, those with this certification have an average of $19,500 more than the average clearance holder in the industry.
6. Amazon Web Services
Last year, this certification ranked ninth and this year it moved up three spots. Amazon Web Services continues to grow in federal spaces, and having this certification may be the right key to unlocking job opportunities.
7. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is another entry-level certification for license holders. When it comes to keeping pace with changing technologies and proving you’ve mastered the fundamentals of networking, the CCNA offers this check.
8. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
If you want to prove that you can design, implement, and manage an organization’s cybersecurity program, CISSP might be the right next step for you. Not only is this in the list of the top 10 most common certifications, but it is also a high paying certification. And that’s because this certification is essential for the CIO or Network Architect – roles that require experience and education as their foundation. Adding this certification makes a candidate an unparalleled triple threat with experience, training, and certification.
9. Scrum Master
The federal government has many complex problems and is taking a creative approach to solving them. Standing out as an innovator or someone capable of driving organizational change can mean adding a ScrumMaster certification to the resume. In software development, ScrumMaster certification can be a game-changer.
10. Certified Microsoft Solutions Expert (MCSE)
This retired certification is still commonly held by licensees, and it also regularly secures a six-figure salary. The MCSE is typically used as a milestone in Microsoft’s cloud certification lineup. Just because something is removed doesn’t mean it’s no longer relevant.
Key Compensation Certifications
When it comes to winning contracts, it’s important to not just have a security clearance. One way to prove that you have the experience you need to do this job — both to a recruiter and to the federal government — is to get certified. And when it’s time to take on new roles, like a project management position, getting a PMP or ScrumMaster can be the way to make that transition seamless.