Professional Designations

What are Professional Designations?

A professional designation is a ‘stamp of approval’ that a person can earn from an organization, demonstrating to employers and their clients that the person has achieved a particular standard of excellence in their field of work. You have seen them on business cards and in email signatures:

  • CHRP or CHRL
  • CPA (formerly, CA, CGA and CMA)
  • CIP

These are professional designations, and only people who have met the standards of their professional associations and licensing bodies that coordinate them can use them. Some designations are provincial, and others are national and international.

Many designations require further study after your undergraduate degree, with a professional and practical focus. Some designation courses are available online or offered in the evenings/on weekends to ensure that people who are working can complete them.

Business Designation Examples

There are any number of business-related professional designations that individuals with BBAs, as well as HBAs and HBScs can pursue, including:

Lifelong Learning and Professional Certification

The only constant is change, they say, and it seems to be true. The world of work is constantly shifting, and the end of your undergraduate degree is definitely not the end of your learning and training.

Once you have entered an industry or field of work, you will have a better idea of what kinds of additional learning and training would be wise to pursue. Some employers will even grant you time and/or help you to pay for your ongoing learning

Social Work and Mental Health Designation Examples

Designations/memberships in these fields often also provide access to liability insurance, which is important in health care:

Technology, Infrastructure and Environment Examples

In Information Technology, there are countless designations to be earned from hardware and software providers: Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), and the Google Analytics Individual Qualification are just a few.

Health Care and Science Designation Examples

Most health care designations are earned through specific graduate and professional studies at the Master’s level or equivalent. Others include:

Where can I find more information?

  • Job postings are a great place to find out what professional accreditation and designations are in demand in the field of work you intend to pursue. Look in the Qualifications section of any job ad.
  • A search engine like Google is very useful for finding out the names of the professional associations and licensing bodies relevant to your desired industry.
  • Information Interviews are also an effective way to find out what designations are in demand in your field. Use tools like tools like wwwTenThousandCoffees.com to find people who are open to answering your questions!

Additional Resources

See our tip sheets on Applying to Graduate School and specific professional programs like these:

University of Toronto's graduation gift

All graduates of U of T have access to a $750 tuition credit, usable within 24 months of convocation, at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies.

For details visit learn.utoronto.ca/how-to-register/alumni-benefit

The AA&CC can help! Attend the Graduate & Professional Schools Fair (October), go to a Preparing for Professional & Graduate School workshop, meet professionals in the field through Extern, or speak with a Career Counsellor to learn how to get relevant experience!

Please note: While this tip sheet aims to ensure accuracy, requirements do change. Consider it a starting point for your further research. Visit professional association and licensing body websites for detailed, up-to-date information about earning a professional designation.

Last update: September 2015