With the national unemployment rate hovering at nearly 10 percent, many of the unemployed might consider returning to the classroom. However, there is a high price associated with that decision—the cost to obtain an undergraduate degree can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, and advanced degrees are even more expensive.
According to the Dearborn, Michigan-based Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), certification programs can provide affordable options for those who may find the tuition expense and time commitment of a degree too steep. Despite a larger potential hiring pool, manufacturers are having difficulty finding qualified candidates for high-skill positions. Holding an industry-respected certification, such as those available from SME, can provide prospective employees with a means to demonstrate their skills and experience levels, the organization says.
SME’s flagship certifications include the Certified Manufacturing Technologist and the Certified Manufacturing Engineer. Amid increasing focus on sustainability and waste elimination issues, SME says its multi-level lean certification program is also in high demand. This certification recognizes tactical, integrative and strategic application of standard lean principles.
“A lean certification is tangible and portable proof that you have acquired a body of knowledge agreed upon by industry professionals,” says Kris Nasiatka, certification manager for SME. “More and more manufacturing jobs have added a ‘check here’ box for lean certification on job applications.”