Is a Certificate in Marketing Worth It?

If you are considering going into the digital marketing field and receiving a digital marketing certificate, it is important to find out if it is really worth it. It’s definitely worth considering, but be wary of people who will want to take your money by offering courses and certifications with no background in the industry. Some of the certifications out there are worth it, but others are not. In this article, we will explain if a certificate in marketing is actually worth it, and what you need to know before you enter the world of digital marketing. 

When is a Digital Marketing Certification Worth Your While? 

The digital marketing field is growing rapidly and there is a large demand for digital marketers. A recent study found that 71% of respondents found they were struggling to find marketing or creative professionals who were skilled enough to fill their job openings.

For this reason, many people are looking for ways to improve their skills and make them more appealing to employers. One way of doing this is through receiving marketing certifications. These certifications are most worth your time when they meet one or a few of these conditions:

  • When it comes from well-known brands, such as Google. One of the most well-known free online marketing courses is Google Analytics
  • It caters to a specialty skill that is hard to learn on your own. If you specialize in content creation on YouTube, you can benefit from YouTube Certification Programs, which is an exclusive program only available to certain Youtube creators. 
  • It is on a topic that is ahead of the curve 
  • It comes from a university or organization that is accredited 
  • You are already an expert on the topic and want to enhance your credentials

best marketing certification

Reasons to be Careful of Digital Marketing Certificates

If you notice any of the following factors, you should be wary of the digital marketing certificate you are thinking of getting. Think of these as red flags that the certification may not be legit or worth your time.

Certifications Without Experiences for Your Portfolio

A lot of less than trustworthy organizations will want to push the fact that they offer “certifications” in digital marketing. But one thing to stay clear from is if they don’t include the exact skills or knowledge that they will be teaching you. You should walk away from any course that doesn’t offer quizzes or exams, homework, or other opportunities to build your portfolio with projects. These tangible pieces of information will go a long way in convincing employers to hire you.

There is Not One, Specific Accredited Authority Behind the Certificate 

Online certificates don’t carry nearly as much weight as a degree from a college or university. It is easy to look at an online certificate and think that it is professional, when in fact, it might not carry any significance. It’s easy to look at an official-looking website and think that they offer the best marketing certifications. But if you haven’t heard of the site or even the so-called “experts” behind it, you should be careful. When you look up the professionals or the organization on Google, there might not be much information on them. Don’t fall for this. 

Still, just because most online certificates are just trying to sell you a piece of paper, this does not mean that there aren’t real and well-respected marketing associations and industries that do offer certifications. For these, it is much more likely that you will have to take a test and become a member of the organization. This is a great option for marketers who are more experienced, as they can benefit from networking with a professional organization. 

marketing certifications

Poor Quality or Inexperienced Teacher

Online learning is good because it makes it accessible to a lot more people. A lot of people have lots of real insights on a variety of different topics and they can now share their genuine expertise online. But in a classroom, what you learn depends on the quality of your teacher. Here is a basic understanding of whether an instructor is good or not: 

  • Do the courses seem put together and professional? Or is the content put into poor web design and has a lot of typos?
  • Is the instructor transparent about who they are? What about their experience? When you type their name in Google, what comes up? 
  • Is it easy to find out what people are saying about the course? Can you find testimonials on independent websites? 

Learning from an experienced teacher with success in the industry can take you further in your marketing career. 

What to Look for in Digital Marketing Certificates

These are the top four things you should look for in potential digital marketing certificates. This will help you decide which courses are going to be worth your time.

1 – Are Case Studies and Tools Provided?

Because digital marketing is results-driven, it is easy to create case studies that follow exactly what happened in a project and how it turned out. Digital marketers rely on a bunch of tools to make their lives easier. You should look through the curriculum and see if one or two of the common marketing tools are going to be used in the course. The best marketing certifications offer you experience with the tools that you’ll need for the rest of your career. 

digital marketing certification

2 – Endorsements or Backings by Industry Professionals 

An easy way to identify a quality course is by looking at who’s actually associated with it. If they associate themselves with industry leaders, this is a major sign that you are dealing with a quality source. 

3 – Student and Tech Support Within the Course 

When it comes to online learning, there are things that can and do go wrong. A good course offers opportunities for: 

  • Coaching, feedback, and mentorship from instructors 
  • Easy-to-access tech support 
  • A student community with the ability to connect with others

4 – Clear Connections to How it Can Help Your Career Progress 

Any course or certification program you choose represents an investment. Therefore, it should have clear connections to how it helps your career progress. For example, many high-quality courses: 

  • Offer access to communities that you can use to grow your network 
  • Teach you industry best practices that will be viable long-term 
  • Introduce the specific skills and knowledge you’ve identified that you need to be able to move forward in your own career
  • Demonstrates how its students have experienced increased earning potential and career advancements as a result of the course/certification 

marketing certificates

Three Digital Marketing Certifications That Are Worth Your Time 

1 – Social Media Marketing

With a social media marketing certification, you’ll learn how to develop and manage a social media marketing strategy across all different kinds of platforms. Having this skill will help build your brand and drive more traffic. There are almost three billion social media users in the world, so now is a great time to boost your social media marketing skills. A certificate in social media marketing can give you a hands-on-experience building measurable and end-to-end social campaigns with a wide range of platforms. 

2 – SEO and SEM analytics 

Learning how to develop and implement a comprehensive search engine marketing (SEM) strategy plan is never a bad idea. An SEM certificate course will help you get a great understanding of the principles and best practices of overall search marketing. This knowledge can be used to develop an effective and comprehensive marketing strategy. A lot of this means using things like SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to drive traffic and improve lead generation. 

3 – Digital Marketing Certificate Course 

In a digital marketing certificate course, you will receive hands-on experience with the latest digital marketing tools and techniques used by professionals around the world. From marketing novices to industry-level vets, a digital marketing certificate course often works wonders, helping professionals boost key digital skills. 

The bottom line is, digital marketing certifications can be a great addition to your resume. But choose wisely, because there are a lot of people out there who attempt to make false claims that just aren’t true. If you have more questions on digital marketing, don’t be afraid to reach out to SEO Design Chicago today. 


  • Are there accredited marketing certifications out there? 
  • What should I look for in a digital marketing certificate?
  • Which well-known brand is the safest bet for certificates? 
  • What is an SEM certificate? 
  • How does a digital marketing certificate boost digital skills? 

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