In the United States, professional certification is the surest way to differentiate professionals from amateurs. Often times, meeting the necessary requirements to earn professional certification from a legitimate, respected professional organization is even more valuable than a university degree.
While you cannot debate the fact that college degrees are valuable, and can unlock doors for college graduates, many jobs and careers require professional certification. Careers that typically require professional certification include medicine, law, public education, accounting, EMTs, and many others. However, there are other professions in which certification is available, but is not required in order to work in the field.
Since the various existing, and emerging, computer and internet related careers are relatively new compared to other fields, professional certifications are available, but are often optional. A few examples of these are Microsoft certification, Google certification, and Apple certification. There are also several different levels of computer repair and tech certification, as well as search engine optimization certification.
Of the above computer and internet related certifications, SEO certification is probably the newest. Although SEO certification is not yet required to do SEO work or SEO sales, in light of the growing popularity of SEO reseller programs, white label SEO, and other SEO strategies, it might not be long before it is.
Many SEO professionals remain unconvinced that formal SEO certification is any more valuable than learning it on the job. Many of them consider formal certification unnecessary, and assert that SEO firms look more for creative, innovative thinking and ambition before the attainment of any currently available certification; but clients might view this from a different perspective. The bottom line is, despite the current industry perception of search engine optimization certification, from the outside looking in, partnering with certified SEO professionals just might be the more attractive option to prospective clients.