This past school year, several Elizabethtown High School students obtained at least one certification in their preferred career field, which allowed them to add to their resumes before graduating high school.
Certifications can serve as proof of an individual’s skill set and it is not uncommon for businesses to require a certificate depending on the career path.
Susan Ryan, workforce readiness coordinator for Elizabethtown Independent Schools, said the certificates not only help with student resumes but also self-esteem.
“I believe that it helps students see themselves as valuable, as employable,” she said. “Not every student has a cheerleader at home.”
Ryan said 350 certifications were earned by EHS students this year. Prior to the last day of school this year, about 240 students possessed a certification from this past or previous school years, which was about a third of the student population. Numerous students earn multiple certifications.
One student who earned a certificate, Dennis Bowen, a rising E’town senior, wants to become an information technology administrator. As a result, he obtained numerous certificates this past school year, including a TestOut PC Pro certificate, which is used to verify the skills to work as an IT support professional.
“The need and demand for the jobs that deal with that are growing,” Bowen said of IT jobs. “The money that you can also make kind of helps. And I’m just really good at it. I like doing it.”
Careers in computer and information technology are projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the median annual wage was $86,320 in May of 2018.
Bowen said he felt accomplished knowing some employers look for certifications when hiring.
“I feel like I’m more prepared out of high school,” he said.
Ryan said students have already lined up work with companies because of their certifications. She said one student who obtained a Microsoft Office Specialist certification, which demonstrates skills in Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Excel, will now go through a co-op with United Way, where she will perform database work.
Another rising senior, Kady Clodfelter, plans to take a digital literacy class this upcoming school year to obtain a Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
“I just want to make sure I can build myself up and prepare for anything,” she said.