Degree AND Certification—Not OR

by Rachel Reynolds

certification-with-degree-equals-success-meeting-iaapWe have been asked this question often lately: I have my college degree—do I really need my CAP as well?

In a word—YES. Allow me to explain why.

Whether you got your degree right after high school or later in life, you worked hard for it. Maybe the hardest you’ve ever worked. Your sense of accomplishment when you earned it was incredible. But many people look at that degree as the finish line rather than the starting line. It is your foundation—your cornerstone: Important, to be sure, but meant to be built upon.

The world moves at a lightning-fast pace, constantly changing and evolving. The only way to remain relevant in your career is to change, evolve, and grow with it. Life-long learning is a vital piece of the puzzle, especially when you can demonstrate your commitment to learning and showcase new skills to your current and/or prospective employer. Certification assesses knowledge that is progressive and up- to-date with marketplace expectations—your next building block.

Certifications like the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) assess your knowledge in several content areas integral to the administrative field and require continuing education credits to remain active. By its very design, it involves continual updating of your knowledge, skills, abilities, and even leadership—all highly desirable traits to employers.

CAP offers a built-in accountability for professional development. By requiring recertification every three years, it forces you to prioritize your own training and development—something that so often gets lost in the sea of good intentions when life gets busy (and when is it not?). CAP highlights you and your passion for continued learning; it differentiates you in a competitive market; and it offers another opportunity to feel that same sense of accomplishment.


Make the commitment to life-long learning and continue building on your degree now. You won’t regret it. And, each time you recertify your CAP or earn a specialty certificate, you’ll experience that incredible sense of accomplishment again. Trust me—it’s addictive.