11 In-Demand Certifications For Business Analysts To Consider

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 13 November 2022

Published 17 August 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.

In business, certain certifications and credentials can help you increase your professional opportunities, command higher salaries and become a more qualified and competitive job candidate. Being certified and gaining designations can also help you when changing career paths or entering a new industry, especially as a business analyst. Knowing more about the various programs and options can help you decide which ones you want to pursue. In this article, we outline 11 certifications for business analysts and explain how they can help advance your career.

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Why You Require To Consider Getting A Business Analyst Certification?

You might consider getting certifications for business analysts for several reasons, though especially because they can help you stand apart from other job candidates. An active or recent credential can show employers that you have the skills, knowledge and proven ability to excel in a role. Many companies and organisations require certified professionals for specific positions, especially in mid to high-level roles. Having these qualifications can play an important role in helping you earn higher salaries, advance your career or gain leadership roles.

Related: Business Analyst Skills: Definition and Examples

Common Certifications For Business Analysts

There are many credentials and certifications to explore in this career path, and a majority get issued by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a nonprofit organisation focused on the profession. Another organisation called the International Qualification Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA) also provides several options. Here is a list of 11 useful certifications you can earn as a business analyst:

1. Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

A CAP distinction shows that you have the skills and ability to deduce insights from data and use them for decision-making and business strategy. This certification requires an advanced degree and at least five years of experience in a business analyst role, or a bachelor's degree with seven years of related experience. You pay an exam fee, which costs less if you are a member of INFORMS, an international association for research and analytical professionals.

2. Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

This IIBA certification is the first level you can achieve with the International Institute of Business Analysts, and it is designed especially for those with entry-level experience. To earn this certification, you are required to have at least 21 hours of professional training credits over the past four years to qualify for the exam. This credential does not require renewal, though it is often the first of several certifications you earn through the course of your career. You can also retake the exam if you do not earn a passing score on the first attempt.

Related: How Much Does A Business Analyst Make? (Plus Duties)

3. Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)

This second level of the IIBA competency course requires significant experience in the industry. You are required to have:

  • A minimum of 3,750 hours of professional business analyst experience over at least seven years

  • A focus of work aligned with the IIBA's Business Analysis Book of Knowledge (BABOK)

  • 900 hours in at least two out of the six knowledge areas in the BABOK, or

  • 500 hours in four of the six knowledge areas in the BABOK

  • 21 hours of professional training over the past four years

  • Two professional references

The CCBA exam prices vary based on membership and you can retake the exam if needed, which comprises 130 multiple-choice questions aimed at gaining your analysis for situation-based scenarios. The exam explores key business analysis concepts, fundamentals of business, underlying competencies and the six areas of knowledge in the BABOK.

4. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

As the third level of the IIBA's certification programme, the Certified Business Analysis Professional designation lends well to those with extensive experience. This exam has 120 multiple-choice questions centred on case studies and analysis, often lasting around three and a half hours. To qualify for this exam and certification opportunity, you need:

  • A minimum of 7,500 hours of work in the business analyst field over 10 years

  • 900 hours in at least four of the six knowledge areas of BABOK

  • 35 hours or more of professional development over the past four years

  • Professional references

When you pass the CBAP certification, you are required to have 60 hours of continuous development courses every three years along with paying a renewal fee for your certification. Earning any level of these certifications can help you develop relevant work experience and skill sets to answer questions effectively during interviews for business analyst positions.

Related: 37 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Example Answers

5. Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)

The agile analysis method is a technique increasingly used in the industry. This competency-based AAC exam specifically focuses on this detailed skill set and can be useful to those working in rapidly changing agile-focused companies or environments. You can earn this IIBA certification together with others, and there are no prerequisites, unlike some of the IIBA's other business analyst certifications which are required to go in order.

There are 85 questions to complete within two hours, and the exam takes place remotely. It centers on these four aspects:

  • Agile mindset

  • Initiative horizon

  • Strategy horizon

  • Delivery horizon

Your AAC status lasts for three years before needing renewal, and it is recommended to have at least two years of agile experience before taking the certification exam.

6. Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)

This relatively new certification from the IIBA focuses on a business analyst's ability to execute analysis that supports business analytics and initiatives. Unlike other exams, the CBDA test has real-world business and industry examples for you to identify, obtain, analyse and interpret data before presenting report results. You are also required to effectively show how the data influences decision-making and strategy for the business presented. You can take the exam more than once if you do not pass on the first attempt, and there are renewal fees, too.

Related: Business Analyst Vs. Data Analyst: What Is The Difference?

7. Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)

This certification course for business analysts is the lowest level offered by the International Qualifications Board for Business Analysts, and you are required to take this exam first to qualify for additional ones. Globally honoured, it is an accredited course focused on business analysts who work in process development and improvement. The test centres on:

  • Business analysis process planning

  • Enterprise analysis

  • Requirements elicitation

  • Requirements analysis

  • Solution validation

  • Techniques and tools

  • Design and innovation

8. Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA)

As the secondary course and certification for the IQBBA, you primarily take the certified advanced level business analyst exam online. While there are in-person training and exam centres, they often are limited. The highest level is the Certified Expert Level Business Analyst (CELBA) certification, which also takes place online. Earning certification from more than one professional association can help advance your career, earn higher-paying salaries or allow you to move into leadership and executive roles.

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9. Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)

The International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) offers three levels of certification for those business analysts who work in requirements engineering fields. Certifications for each level never expire nor do they require to be renewed. Here is a look at each level of the CPRE certifications:

  • Foundation level: The foundation level CPRE certifies you in the basics of requirements engineering, and you are required to hold this certification for one year before moving onto the next level.

  • Advanced level: An advanced level CPRE has three optional paths, including requirements elicitation and consolidation, requirements management or requirements modelling.

  • Expert level: The expert level CPRE certifies you as having the highest knowledge of requirements engineering through previous certification levels and practical experience.

10. Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)

The Project Management Institute offers its own certification, aimed at business analysts whose work centres on project and program management. Through real-life projects, you test business analysis tools, principles and fundamentals before taking the exam. Requirements include:

  • A higher education degree

  • Three years of experience or 4,500 hours in business analysis over the past eight years

  • Five years of experience or 7,500 hours of experience without a higher education degree

To keep your certification when renewing, you are required to maintain 60 professional development courses or units within three years. If your certification expires, you are required to start the process over again.

11. Business Analyst Masters Program

The Business Analyst Masters Program is a great option for those changing industries or career paths. By joining this program, you can earn professional development credits accepted by both the IIBA and the PMI. It is accredited through the IIBA and combines earning your CCBA certification along with these courses:

  • Agile scrum foundations

  • Python for data science and R programming for data science

  • Digital transformation for leaders

While the course is significantly more expensive than other certifications, its immersive design teaches you how to build dashboards, apply the agile scrum method, analyse data, understand analytical concepts and apply statistical techniques to interpret data and help you become an effective business analyst.

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