Accountant at desk with CPA license frame on wall

What Is a Professional Certification?

Unlike professional licenses, certifications are issued by non-governmental bodies. These can include professional associations, like the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Independent organizations, such as companies or vocational schools, can also issue them. Like a professional license, certification demonstrates a standardized credential; one that qualifies someone to work in a particular industry or profession.

They also typically require a certificate program coursework, education, or certification exams. Some are also the industry standard for advancement in a field of work. For example, they may awarded for particular fields like human resources or project management. There are three main types of certification:


This is an internal certification created by an organization or corporation. It primarily serves to standardize the quality of training that a participant receives. For instance, a digital agency may offer social media certification for their internal teams. It’s a great way to improve their skills with these platforms and is usually a tax write-off for employers.


This verification focuses on building skill or mastery of a product or application. This is primarily used to distinguish candidates in the job market. Candidates can use this documentation to stand out on their resumes. Like if you have earned a Google certification.


This credential is one that teaches candidates the professional standards of practice in a particular field. If you’re a physical therapist, for example, you’d want to frame your American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists membership.

Many people wonder if these professional credentials are tax-deductible. According to the IRS, the ones that qualify you for a new trade are not. Those that allow you to meet the minimum requirement for a job are not deductible. However, the documentation that is required to maintain or improve your skills in your present occupation can be deducted.

Investing time and money in this certification isn’t the only way to demonstrate your commitment to your industry. It’s also not the only way to achieve growth in your career field. Like earning a license or certificate, joining a professional association is prestigious. It’s another way to signal to hiring managers that you are a dedicated candidate.

And remember that these papers can only get you so far. Hiring managers will expect to see you utilize these skills on the job. It’s important that you can back up your professional licensure and keep your skills sharp even during your job search. If not, you may not last long in the position.

woman in office on phone with ABPTS license frame

Considering a Professional Association

A professional association is a group or organization made up of members that share the same profession. Doctors who specialize in obstetrics, for example, may be members of organizations such as ACOG.

A professional association is a networking group. It allows members to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news and trends. They can also connect with other professionals like them. Many are recognized nationally or internationally, unlike a certification or license.

There are many benefits to joining a professional association. Because of industry recognition, employers often look favorably on individuals who are a part of professional associations. Plus, professional associations may offer activities and benefits that serve as professional development opportunities.

These groups may also be a hub for employment opportunities in the profession. Organizations typically provide information about companies that are hiring for positions within the field of work. Additionally, many associations hold networking events, which can be instrumental in finding the perfect next step for your career.

Membership requirements vary by association, but they often include monthly or yearly dues. Some associations also may require that members hold a particular degree, certification, or license to join. Membership dues paid to business leagues, trade associations, or professional board can be deductible if your employer does not reimburse you.

office with OBGYN license frames on wall

Framing Your License or Certification

Want to join a professional association or pursue a license or certification? You should recognize yourself for your dedication to your career. Proudly display your certificate of membership, your license, or your professional certification in your office or home.

Showcase your success with a license or certification frame that features profession seals. If you are pursuing a license from a state agency, we also offer professional license frames with state seals.

The official state seal medallions are elegant. The state name in gold or silver embossing is perfect for displaying your accomplishment. Whether you want to frame your child care license or realtor license, our professional license frames are a perfect choice.

Our custom certification frames feature countless professional associations. These include medical, dental, and legal fields. And our wide array of accounting products include both CPA license frames and CPA certificate frames. The certification frames feature your association name and logo with a variety of medallions and embossing options.

Find your organization and display your hard work and commitment with pride in a professional association frame.

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