It seems like a lot of folks are interested in getting a PPC career these days. And I wholeheartedly welcome it! At least in Austin, it seems like there are far more positions open for talented PPC folk than there are people to fill them. I’ve been hitting a lot of career fairs and networking events now that I deal with hiring people on my online marketing team. And one question comes up very often: is PPC certification worth it?
Let me answer that with a little of my own experience with Google AdWords certification and Microsoft AdCenter certification. Back when I started my career, the agency I was working at sponsored our AdWords certification. I took the test (and passed!) but qualification requirements have changed since then and I never bothered with renewing the certification. I certainly helped me get the next job I had after the agency, but since then I’ve been sought out due to my LinkedIn resume and my blogging efforts.
My Microsoft AdCenter certification story is much shorter. Late last year, Microsoft started offering free accreditation for their AdCenter certification. They said it was a limited time offer, so I took the test on a whim and passed with flying colors. They’re still offering this free, “limited time” offer (although I’m not sure just how limited this time is if it’s been going on for months now). Although I’m a little skeptical about the true scarcity of this offer, I do encourage people to go ahead and get the certification. It’s free, and should only take about two to three hours of your time.
So do I think it’s worth it? Absolutely. Will it help you get a PPC job? Maybe. As a hiring manager, I would definitely like to see a AdWords or AdCenter certification on a resume. But it’s not everything. I’m much more impressed by hands-on PPC experience or an interesting, complex online marketing project someone has worked on. But if you’re just starting out in your career and don’t have experience yet, I think that $50 and an investment of your time is a small price to pay for this strong indicator of online marketing competence. I wouldn’t hire someone on a PPC certification alone, but it would certainly give you an advantage versus someone at the same experience level who lacked the certification.
Taking either test only requires a few hours of studying some free materials. AdCenter certification is free for now, and the AdWords certification only costs $100 ($50 per exam, and you have to pass two). That’s far less than the certification costs of most other specialized professions. Online marketing is a growing field, and there’s certainly a lack of talent in it. I encourage anyone with an interest in marketing to go the online route if you want to have some job stability. Passing your certification exams is the first step.