Main image of article RPA Certification: Is It Worth It? How Much Does It Cost?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a subset of business process automation, which is the automation of complex business processes such as customer service. RPA is the automation of software-related tasks, often with the help of sophisticated artificial intelligence (A.I.) software; RPA tools can take over human-powered tasks within applications such as inputting data or answering emails and text messages.

As A.I. systems grow more sophisticated, the use-cases for RPA will only increase. Companies can use RPA to save money and reduce the need to hire people to click through repetitive software tasks. That utility means more managers will want technologists who can implement and maintain RPA systems—and during the hiring process, they’ll be interested in whether those technologists have certifications proving their mastery of various RPA tools and products.

Does RPA have an official certification?  

Like many other technologies, there isn’t an “official” RPA certification. Instead, the companies building RPA products issue certifications demonstrating mastery in those products. Here’s a partial list of some of the most popular, along with costs and basic descriptions:

In addition, organizations such as Pega AcademyNICE, and WorkFusion offer their own certifications and training courses in RPA. The goal here is to ensure that all technologists who work with RPA systems have extensive knowledge of best practices, and can use RPA to make organizational workflows far more efficient.

If you’re a self-learner, consider a massive online learning course; many of these come with their own certificates of completion. For example, Coursera, Udacity (which features a “nanodegree” program in RPA), Pluralsight, and more.

How many RPA certifications are there?  

RPA and business-automation companies such as AppianAutomation AnywhereBlue Prism, and UiPath offer 3-4 certifications each, while Microsoft also has its own certification for Microsoft Power Platform’s automation capabilities. As more companies enter the space, they’ll likewise introduce their own RPA certifications—the fees associated with exams and training are a consistent revenue channel, especially as products iterate and evolve. 

What are the required skills to get certified?  

The majority of certifications require mastery of a particular RPA product’s functions and features. More advanced certifications (i.e., ones for senior developers and “masters”) require that you possess a high-level understanding of how RPA technologies are used within the broader tech stack, how RPA can improve a company’s workflows and bottom line, and the RPA project lifecycle. 

Can I get an RPA certification without a degree?

Certifications don’t require you to obtain, say, a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree in anything. As long as you have the requisite knowledge and you pass the exam, you can obtain the certification. 

Can you get a job with an RPA certification?  

Right now, there’s a strong need for automation engineers. According to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, automated engineer positions are projected to grow 11.4 percent over the next 10 years. Right now, the average time-to-fill for an automated engineer position is 44 days, suggesting a high level of demand on the part of employers.

Not all automation engineers will necessarily work extensively with RPA, but organizations’ continuing hunger to automate their processes suggests that those with RPA skills will be able to find opportunities for quite some time to come. If you’re applying for a job that involves robotic process automation, having certifications in key technologies can help assure hiring managers and recruiters that you have all the necessary skills—and that, in turn, can help you stand out from a crowded pool of applicants. 

How much can RPA specialists earn?

According to Glassdoor, which crowdsources compensation data for a variety of jobs, those specializing in RPA can earn an average of $94,548 per year, including salary and additional benefits. Meanwhile, ZipRecruiter pins the national average salary at $105,813 per year.

That’s within the range of the average tech salary, which currently stands at $111,348 per year, according to the most recent Dice Tech Salary Report. With experience and mastery of key skills, RPA specialists can take their compensation even higher. You don’t necessarily need a formal certification to land an RPA-related job, but listing certifications on your resume and application materials will help you stand out in a crowded field during your job hunt.