Whether you are a marketing professional or someone who wants to work in digital marketing, completing a certification program related to Internet marketing can be very beneficial. Certification programs lead to a specific credential and typically require successful completion of an exam or other form of skill assessment. They are different from Internet marketing degree programs, which require years of extended study, or more general certificate programs, which require completing coursework but do not lead to a certification designation.
Benefits of Internet Marketing Credentials
According to idealist.org, professional certification can lead to "recognition ... from employers and peers" and can serve as a "testament to your accomplishment and competence." In a relatively new field like Internet marketing that doesn't have specific entry requirements, certification can be the one thing that separates people who have a high level of knowledge and skill - gained through experience and formal study - from everyone else.
In addition to benefiting job seekers and marketing professionals, this type of certification can also benefit solo entrepreneurs and small business owners, as certification can serve as an objective way for them to convey their skills and qualifications to potential clients. When you can put letters associated with a recognized Internet marketing credential behind your name on your resume, business cards, social media profiles or other marketing materials, this can help you stand out from others offering similar services or seeking similar employment opportunities.
Four Certification Options
The Internet Marketing Association (IMA) offers a Certified Internet Marketer (CIM) certification program to its members, so you will need to sign up for a free IMA membership before you can enroll in the program. The program is delivered online via streaming content and PDF documents. Participants can work through the course materials at their own pace.
The content covers the many skills necessary for effective online marketing, including social media, search marketing, content targeting, analytics, and much more. Students must pass a final exam to earn the CIM designation.
Business Training Institute (BTI) offers a Certified Internet Marketing Specialist (CIMS) certification program. The self-paced program is delivered fully online. Training materials include dozens of instructional videos and audio interviews with experts working in the field, as well as recommended books to read.
In order to earn the CIMS credential, students must successfully complete a strategic project and pass an exam that covers topics like Internet marketing strategies, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, writing techniques and more. This certification program can be applied to BTI's Master's Certificate in Marketing.
3. OMCP Certification
You can earn your Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) designation by completing an "OMCP Authorized Training Course" delivered by an authorized training provider (such as MarketMotive and many others) if you also have a college degree and at least 2,000 hours of professional online marketing experience. This certification is valid for one year and can be renewed annually. Certified professionals must complete 100 professional development units (PDUs) in order to re-certify.
As of September 2014 there is no exam requirement for the OMCP certification, but there are plans to replace the training course requirement with an exam in the near future.
4. OMCA Certification
If you do not have a college degree or enough experience to qualify for the OMCP credential, you may be able to earn the Online Market Certified Associate (OMCA) credential by meeting specific requirements and passing an exam. To become an OMCA-certified professional, you must either have at minimum of 600 hours of professional online marketing experience or complete an OMCP-approved training course from one of the authorized training providers within 12 months of applying for certification and sitting for your exam. You must also have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent.
As with the OMCP credential, OMCA- certified professionals are required to complete 100 professional development units (PDUs) annually to maintain certification.
Boost Your Career
Paired with your skills, experience and other formal education background, these types of credentials can make help you stand out when applying for jobs with corporate marketing departments, advertising and agencies that offer digital marketing services, digital or new media companies, website design and development companies and more.
Promote Your Skills and Abilities
If you are trying to build your own business in this field, promote your certification on your own website, online profiles and collateral materials so potential clients know that you are a dedicated professional with a high level of skill that has been verified through a certifying agency or institution.
While certification is not required to work in digital marketing, anything you can do to make yourself stand out can help you differentiate yourself from others who are also trying to succeed in the profession. Earning one of these credentials, or another certification related to online marketing, can help you stand out when applying for any job that requires Internet marketing skills or help you attract clients if you are self-employed.