Certifications: Do I need them?

Certifications: Do I need them?

Update: 2021-08-19


Sustainability certifications are a minefield. Do you have to spend time and money getting certified? How do you choose? GreenBiz’s John Davies knows which credentials are worth the effort and the cost—and when you don’t need them at all. In this episode, John gives us the scoop on:

  • Gold-standard certifications specific to different industries
  • Hands-on experience through internships, volunteering and other jobs is just as valuable as a certification
  • You don’t need an Ivy League degree to get a green job

1. Which green certifications do I need to get hired? 

  • Entry-level jobs don’t often require certifications. If you need one to do your job, the organization should offer the opportunity to get it as part of your job training. 
  • Each industry comes with its own certifications, as do many different roles within industries. You don’t need the entire alphabet soup of certifications. 
  • Some gold-standards are the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), GARP in finance (Global Association of Risk Professionals), LEED AP in design and APICS in supply chain management (Association of Supply Chain management).
  • On their own, certifications don’t guarantee a job, a promotion or a salary increase.

2. Additional valuable experiences that can give you a leg up 

  1. A listener asks: “Do I need an Ivy League degree to get a leadership role in sustainability?” 
  • Not by a long shot! An elite degree is not a prerequisite for a career in sustainability. 
  • Many sustainability professionals want to mentor the next generation of purpose-driven workers, no matter their educational background. 
  • Your degree doesn’t matter as much as you might think. A critical thinking degree in the humanities is just as relevant to sustainability as is engineering or biochemistry.

Learn more:

Figure out which certifications are right for you: 

For links to the policy and advocacy organizations mentioned in this episode, see our Green Jobs Hub. 









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Certifications: Do I need them?

Certifications: Do I need them?

John Davies, Yesh Pavlik Slenk