Professional Certification and Social Mobility

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes



Social mobility is the change in class in an existing social hierarchy. A jump from middle to upper class in society, for example, denotes a change in income, quality of life, and social esteem.

Can obtaining a professional certification be the key to climbing up the social ladder?


Vertical social mobility

This is the movement up or down a social stratum. This type of social mobility involves a change in your status, for instance, when you move from a junior employee to a department manager.

That’s an upward movement, and it comes with a title change.

Ascension in a social stratum requires the following:

  • Improved ability to work and behave like those above
  • Change in general personality, language, and style
  • Moving to a posh part of the city
  • Participation in social functions


Downward social mobility

Unfortunately, the change in social status can also be downward. The fall happens when a person declines from a position of prestige to a lower status.

Contributing factors may include economic recession, depression, loss of a job, or career stagnation.

For downward social mobility to occur, these factors must be at play:

  • Lack of initiative, desire, or effort to move upwards
  • Lethargy and declining skills
  • Inefficiencies at work
  • Limited social skills and lack of networking


Horizontal social mobility

Perhaps this is the truest definition of stagnation. Horizontal social mobility is when a change in your circumstances happens, but it doesn’t lead to ascension or descent on the social ladder.

Consider when an account manager moves from one organization to another but still retains the same title and income scale. There is a change in affiliations but no change in status.


The Role of Certification in Social Mobility

Professional certification is advanced education after college. It is an exceptionally effective method for powering the upward movement in societies across the globe.

It has a multi-directional impact in advancing social status. But, how?…


Aspiration and achievement

Social agility directly relates to the aspirations and achievements of individuals. If persons are determined to climb up that ladder, they will (eventually) do it.

Pursuing professional studies is a clear sign of that desire for achievement.


New knowledge and higher skills

Advanced training can affect mobility in many ways. More training in a given subject matter leads to better understanding and advanced exposure.

It leads to efficiency, and in turn, supercharges the change of income and status.


Prestige and title

All the general public’s occupations don’t get a similar degree of respect. Some job titles command more respect in contrast to others.

After a professional certification course, you can get a new title to your name.

It is a sign of respect and prestige. With it comes more compensation and acceptance by those who are further up the ladder.



It’s a new world, titles and social statuses are no longer inherited. One has to be smarter than his or her peers to ascend in the system.

A professional program sharpens one’s understanding of their subject matter.

It equips them with a fresh knowledge of efficient ways of doing things, regulations, and trends.


It reveals potential

Skills and knowledge are the key drivers for the advancement of any person. And certification is proof of knowledge, skills, and attainment.

It can be relied upon to gauge a person’s potential and worth not just in the workplace but in the global community.


It is the system

It is a universal fact. Education sharpens insight, broadens vision, and helps in a person’s holistic upward movement socially, economically, and politically.

Anyone wishing to advance must obtain higher education.

Certification itself, minus its benefits, can safely be considered a type of social mobility.


More income

Professional accreditations can certainly lead to a change in income. In many organizations, salary scales are pegged on skills and job titles. After acquiring a specialized accreditation, both of these factors change.

You become proficient and get a prestigious title to go with it, and automatically, you command a higher salary.

The motivation for hard work is the end goal in training and this is to inspire individuals to be better in their professions. Success in these programs involves long hours of study and tough exams.

When a person successfully completed their studies, they can use the same motivation to effect changes in other areas of their lives.

College graduates may pursue advanced degrees in their careers. Professional accreditation does the same things as these advanced degree programs- it improves skills and employability.

The main difference is that the certification program is inexpensive and quicker to obtain (relatively speaking).


It’s great for women

Several things can limit a woman’s advancement after college, in contrast to their male counterparts. These include constraints on time, the pressure to start or nurture a family, and financial difficulties.

Professional certification is relatively quick to obtain, and one can juggle it with family responsibilities. It also costs less than other popular methods of professional growth (such as an MBA).


Specialized accomplishment

Occupational accomplishment is key in deciding the degree of mobility an individual can expect in society.

Professional training serves to improve a person’s worth and value in an organization. It ignites upward mobility.


Social esteem

Advanced training encourages societal mobility. High educational success empowers one for upward movement on the career ladder. The bigger the title, the higher the esteem.

The training can, thus, easily lead to wealth and influence.


Change in thinking and behavior

Through training, college graduates can truly change their ways to be seen as more professional. The skills learned to the effect this includes; better time management, better communication and better planning.

Professional certification is firmly connected to upward social mobility.

These programs play a significant part in equipping people with the skills, efficiency, and behavioral change needed to earn more in the workplace and fit in the society’s upper class.


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