11 Business Analyst Certifications to Advance Your Career

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Business analyst certifications are credentials you can earn that show your skills and knowledge in business analysis. By earning them, you can enhance your CV and improve your employment options. If you're a business professional or analyst, learning more about certifications can help you advance your career. In this article, we review 11 certifications you can pursue, describe the benefits of earning them, detail how to earn them and provide helpful tips for passing certification exams.

Related: What Does a Data Analyst Do?

11 business analyst certifications

Earning business analyst certifications can improve your skills and enhance your application materials. Here are different institutes that offer a variety of options:

International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)

The IIBA is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to the business analysis profession. It follows the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge standard, which defines knowledge areas and perspectives that business analysts should study. IIBA certifications require you to get recertified every three years. They require you to earn 60 continuing development units (CDUs) during each period, either through professional or volunteer experiences. Business analysts may pursue one or more of these certifications:

1. Academic Business Analysis Certificate (ABAC)

This is an entry-level certification you can obtain from a college or institution partnered with the IIBA. The ABAC can help students prepare for competency-based IIBA certifications. This certification is popular among business students and other students who want to improve their credentials.

2. Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

The ECBA shows an individual has a foundational knowledge of business analysis practices. To earn this certification, you require at least 21 hours of professional development and a passing grade in an exam. This credential allows you to develop and emphasise your core business analysis abilities.

3. Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)

This certificate shows a candidate's ability to apply business analysis techniques to real-life scenarios. To earn a CCBA, candidates require at least 3,750 hours of business analysis experience, positive references, 21 hours of professional development and a passing grade in an exam.

4. Certified Business Analysis Professional

The CBAP is the highest competency-based certification a business analyst can earn from the IIBA. It demonstrates mastery of business analysis and the ability to lead others. Candidates require 7,500 hours of business analysis experience, at least 35 professional development hours and a passing grade in an exam.

5. Agile Analysis Certification

Many businesses are beginning to adopt the Agile project management framework. This certificate shows a business analyst's knowledge of Agile methods and how to work in that style. To earn the AAC, candidates undertake an exam.

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International Qualification Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA)

The IQBBA focuses on business analysis in the information technology field. Analysts working in fields, such as software development or website security, may find certifications from the IQBBA ideal. Both the CFLBA and CALBA certifications are lifetime certifications, meaning that applying for a renewal or earning continuing education hours isn't mandatory. These are the two certifications the IQBBA offers:

1. Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)

This certification shows an individual has a basic knowledge of business analysis practices. It includes information about business management and strategies. To earn a CFLBA, candidates undertake an exam.

2. Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA)

This certification expands on the CFLBA and also focuses on business analysis process management. It's an advanced certification that focuses on analysis process management and strategic optimisation. Candidates undertake an exam to earn a CALBA.

Project Management Institute (PMI)

The PMI's focus is to teach and maintain the best standards of project management practices. It offers one business analysis certification:

1. Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)

This certification is for analysts that work closely with project teams. For PBA certification, candidates require a passing grade in a multiple-choice exam consisting of 200 questions. Those who hold a PBA can keep it active by submitting a renewal application every three years, which includes proof of completing 60 professional development units.

International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB)

IREB is a requirements engineering institute. Since gathering and maintaining requirements is a function of business analysis, some companies look for individuals to have one of these lifetime certifications:

1. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Foundation Level (CPRE-FL)

This entry-level certification demonstrates a holder's knowledge of business analysis as it relates to requirements engineering. It focuses on requirements engineering and software systems development. Candidates require a passing grade in a multiple-choice exam at an approved testing site.

2. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Advanced Level (CPRE-AL)

Recipients of this certification have advanced knowledge of requirements engineering. It includes information about requirements elicitation, modelling and management. To earn it, candidates require a CPRE-FL and a passing grade in a multiple-choice exam at an approved testing site.

3. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering Expert Level

IREB's highest level of certification shows a mastery of business analysis and requirements engineering techniques. Candidates applying for this certification require a CPRE-AL, experience as a requirements engineer and experience leading a team as a requirements engineer. They also require a passing grade in a written exam at an approved testing site and completion of an oral evaluation.

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Benefits of earning certifications

These are some benefits of earning business certifications:

  • Improve your CV: Adding certification can improve your CV by showing your potential employer proof of your skills and knowledge on a subject. Including certifications can also be beneficial because it can show them that you're committed to continuous education.

  • Expand opportunities: Some employers may seek candidates with certain certifications or credentials. Others may prefer candidates with certifications to those without.

  • Enhance analyst skills: By completing educational certification programmes, you can learn more about business analysis and improve your skills. You may learn more about business analysis software and essential tools, processes and effective methods.

Related: What is a Business Analyst? (With Duties and Skills)

How to earn certifications

These are some steps you can follow to earn business certifications:

1. Determine the best certification for you

Before enrolling in a certification course, review the materials and skills different certifications can offer. Consider which institutions offer certifications that can advance your career, and determine if the institution is valid and can accurately represent your knowledge. Consider speaking with your manager or leader to determine which certifications can most help you advance your career.

2. Make sure you meet the requirements

Some certifications require that you have certain requirements before enrolling. This can include years of experience, previous certifications or other competencies. Before you enrol or pay the fee for the certification, check to make sure you meet the necessary requirements to earn the certification.

3. Prepare for the certification exam

Almost all certifications require you to pass a practical or written exam before earning it. You may also complete some coursework before being eligible to start the exam. To prepare for the exam, study the materials and practise the relevant skills. Creating a study routine can help you learn the information for the exam and prepare consistently.

4. Take and pass the certification exams

Taking and passing certification exams is often necessary to earn the certification. Some exams may be online, in-person or proctored, and can include both written and practical information. If you don't pass the exam, the first time you take it, you may be able to take it again, depending on the institution or certification.

5. Renew your certification as necessary

Some certifications require you to renew your credentials every six months, once a year or at a different interval. To do this, you may pay a membership fee or reregister your information. Some certifications may also require you to pass recertification exams.

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Tips for earning certifications

These are some helpful tips for earning business certifications:

  • Study the material consistently: Rather than studying the material right before the exam, consider studying consistently throughout the coursework or programme. If there is no coursework for the certification, consider creating your own studying routine.

  • Prepare with other students: If you have colleagues or friends who are completing the same certification as you, it can be beneficial to study together when preparing. Building an accountability group with other students can help you maintain consistent studying and ensure you arrive at exams on time.

  • Consider online certifications: Online certifications may be easier to fit into your schedule than in-person courses and certifications. Consider completing this if you have a busy schedule or if there aren't in-person options near you.

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