Main image of article SAS Certifications: 4 Big Things to Know About Earning Them

SAS (short for Statistical Analysis System) is a suite of statistical software produced by the SAS institute, used in a number of academic, commercial, and governmental contexts. It’s a platform with decades’ worth of history behind it, and many companies looking for analysts and other technologists will prefer candidates who are familiar with its use.

But here’s the big question: When competing for jobs that ask for some level of SAS knowledge, would it be helpful to have SAS certifications? Let’s try to answer that question, along with exploring the types of SAS certifications out there (and their costs). 


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Does SAS have an official certification?  

SAS boasts 23 official certifications in multiple categories, including programming, analytics, data management, and administration. Here’s how it all breaks down:


SAS programming certifications include:

Advanced Analytics

SAS offers a number of certifications in advanced analytics:

Visual Analytics

Visualizations and modeling are key aspects of analytics. SAS certifications in this arena include:

Data Management

Anyone working in analytics will encounter a data management challenge at some point. Certifications geared toward this discipline include:

IDeaS is an SAS subsidiary focused on finance management. It comes with one certification:

How do I get an SAS certification?  

In order to obtain an official SAS certification, you must take the exam. The SAS site features some (free!) practice exams you can take. Associate-level SAS certification exams cost $120, while all other exams cost $180, with the exception of the predictive modeler exam, which costs $250.

Is it worth getting SAS certifications?  

That’s a huge question. Let’s start by turning to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes data from millions of job postings across the country. As you can see from the following chart, a very small percentage of jobs require an SAS certification. 

Now let’s look at the percentages of jobs asking for SAS developer skills. These numbers are higher, especially (as you might expect) for data scientists, data analysts, data mining specialists, statisticians, and social science researchers:

What can we conclude from this? Many businesses hunting for data scientists, analysts, statisticians, and similar professions would like applicants to have SAS-related skills—but those applicants usually don’t need SAS-related certifications. That’s good news for those who know their way around the SAS platform, but haven’t had the time or money to secure a highly specialized certification.

For those who’ve spent the time and resources to secure SAS certifications, though, there’s also some good news in this data: Although certifications aren’t requested for the majority of these positions, having one (or several) will make you stand out. Hiring managers and recruiters are comforted by the presence of certifications on an application, because it offers hard proof that the applicant knows what they’re doing when it comes to a particular technology. 

What is the future of those with SAS skills? 

Lightcast predicts that jobs asking for SAS skills will grow at a rate of 4.4 percent over the next decade, which is pretty good! Companies have an intense hunger for technologists who can analyze data, and SAS is widely viewed as an essential part of the analytics toolbox. 

Where can I get SAS training?

There are a variety of channels for SAS training, including the SAS website, which offers multiple career paths to choose from:

In addition, a variety of colleges, universities, and massive online learning courses all offer courses in SAS tools. By learning the fundamentals of SAS tools and techniques, you’re in a good position to earn SAS certifications.