Despite tremendous job growth, employers in many industries still face an ongoing problem with hiring qualified workers. Due to advances in technology, employers have a great need for workers with advanced technical and technological skills. Not only do front-line production workers need more advanced skills, but employers also need highly-skilled workers to operate, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair today’s advanced automated systems. Unfortunately, the supply of such workers isn’t keeping up with demand.

The Skills Gap: A Company's Hiring Nightmare

This problem, commonly called the “Skills Gap,” has resulted in hundreds of thousands of open jobs across a wide variety of industries. And things are projected to only get worse in the years to come. To take advantage of the skills gap and secure a successful career in industry, students and current workers need to ensure that they’re obtaining the in-demand skills employers need.

Industrial Certification Preparation Validates Knowledge & Skills

With the proper training, the sky’s the limit. But how can students and workers demonstrate their skills and market their training? And how can employers be sure they’re hiring qualified workers who won’t need hundreds of hours of additional training?

The answer to these questions is industry-standard certifications. Not associated with any particular educational institution and developed in conjunction with industry partners, certifications define objective standards regarding the knowledge and skills required to succeed in industry.

Industrial certification preparation gives students and current workers validation and documentation of the marketable skills and knowledge they’ve obtained. They also provide an objective assessment for employers that a person has the skills necessary for a particular job. Certifications also provide guidance to educational institutions to ensure that curriculum teaches the knowledge and skills industry needs.

SACA, MSSC, & PMMI: Certification Options Aplenty!

What industry-standard certifications should a student or current worker pursue? That depends upon the career path desired. Fortunately, there is a growing set of stackable certifications from a variety of organizations that connect knowledge and skills with specific jobs across a broad swath of industries.

For example, students and current workers can obtain core technical knowledge and skills needed by front-line production workers by pursuing certifications offered by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC). Students may also want to explore advanced Mechatronics certifications offered by the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (formerly Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute) (PMMI), which is the leading global resource for the packaging and processing industry.

Many students and current workers will also be interested in the advanced knowledge and skills required in smart factories on the frontier of Industry 4.0. The Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) will offer Industry 4.0 certifications that focus on “connected systems” skills that address the integration of Industry 4.0 technology into advanced industrial processes.

SACA Certifications Supported

The Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and deploy modular Industry 4.0 certifications for a wide range of industries.

  • Certified Industry 4.0 Certifications
  • Basic Operations
  • Advanced Operations
  • Robot Systems Associate
  • IIoT, Networking and Data Analytics
  • Specialist Certifications
  • Automation Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Control Systems
  • Electro-Fluid Power Systems
  • Robotic Systems
  • Network Systems
  • Operations Systems
  • Production Systems
  • IT Systems
  • Certified Industry 4.0 Professional Certifications
  • Industry 4.0
  • Core Micro-Credentials
  • Elective Micro-Credentials

SACA Certifications

SACA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and deploy modular Industry 4.0 certifications for a wide range of industries. Its vision is “to provide highly-affordable, accessible certifications that significantly increase the number of individuals who possess” the connected systems skills that address the integration of Industry 4.0 technology into advanced industrial processes.

SACA’s industrial certification preparation uses a modular structure to fit a wide range of individual needs, industries, and educational environments. SACA offers certifications in three categories: Associate, Specialist, and Professional. Each certification is stackable, allowing individuals to earn multiple certifications to document their particular skills.


Educational institutions and companies can both become members of SACA. As an educational member, institutions have the opportunity to become authorized certification centers, deliver free certifications to their students, and be informed of latest developments in Industry 4.0 technology. Educational membership is available for an annual fee scaled for high schools and post-secondary institutions.

As an industry member, companies have the opportunity to impact the standards and future direction of the certifications, promote their leadership in Industry 4.0 education, and provide scholarships to sponsor educational institutions and teachers when they start new certification programs in Industry 4.0. Industry membership is available for an annual fee, which they can designate to sponsor schools.

SACA’s Specialist Level Certifications

Specialist Level certifications are modular, consisting of a series of micro-credentials. These include core credentials that are applicable to all companies and elective  micro-credentials for regional or specific company needs.

MSSC Certifications Supported

Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is a non-profit, industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by production and material handling technicians.

  • Certified Production Technician
  • Safety
  • Quality Practices & Production
  • Manufacturing Processes & Production
  • Maintenance Awareness
  • Certified Production Technician Plus | Skill Boss Manufacturing
  • Certified Technician - Supply Chain Automation | Skill Boss Logistics
  • CTSCA-EM | Equipment Maintenance
  • CTSCA-ER | Equipment Repair
  • CTSCA-NR | Network Repair

MSSC Certifications

MSSC is an industry-led training, assessment, and certification non-profit organization that focuses on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s front-line production and material handling workers. The nationwide MSSC system is based upon industry-defined standards and offers workers the opportunity to demonstrate that they have acquired the skills needed to excel in the technology-intensive jobs of the 21st century.

Certified Production Technician (CPT)

MSSC’s Certified Production Technician (CPT) program recognizes through certification those individuals who master the core knowledge and skills required for front-line production and material handling. Individuals can earn certifications in five areas: Safety; Quality Practices & Measurement; Manufacturing Processes & Production; Maintenance Awareness; and Green Production.

Those who earn all of the first four certificates receive the full CPT certification. MSSC’s goal for the CPT certification program is “to raise the level of performance of production workers both to assist the individuals in finding higher-wage jobs and to help employers ensure their workforce increases the company’s productivity and competitiveness.”

Certified Production Technician+ Skill Boss Manufacturing (CPT+)

A CPT+ Certification takes skill accreditation one step further. With the full CPT certification in hand, individuals can take a more “hands-on” approach for an additional certification utilizing the CPT+ assessment device, Skill Boss Manufacturing.

The Skill Boss Manufacturing offers performance-based assessment for evaluating the skill levels and competencies of future machine operators in today’s modern manufacturing production areas, including assembly and machine operation. MSSC recognized the need for a standardized assessment system for industrial skills, and collaborated with Amatrol to develop Skill Boss Manufacturing, which evaluates over 60 essential manufacturing skills.

PMMI Certification Supported

The Association for Packaging & Processing Technologies is a global resource uniting the industry across the manufacturing supply chain and represents more than 800 North American manufacturers & suppliers of equipment, components, & materials.

  • Mechatronics Certifications
  • Fluid Power
  • Industrial Electricity 1
  • Industrial Electricity 2
  • Mechanical Components 1
  • Mechanical Components 2
  • Motor & Motor Controls
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) 1
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) 2

PMMI Certifications

PMMI is a leading global resource for the packaging and processing industry. Its core purpose is “to unite the industry across the manufacturing supply chain” by connecting people, knowledge, and ideas in the global marketplace. PMMI’s membership represents more than 900 North American manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, components, and materials, as well as providers of related equipment and services to the packaging and processing industry.

PMMI Mechatronics Program

The PMMI Mechatronics program “helps move manufacturing forward by providing employers, schools and potential workers the tools needed to advance the workforce” in an effort to help close the ever-expanding skills gap.

Through a series of tests based on industry-developed skill standards, the PMMI Mechatronics Certification program helps employers assess workers for core skills, while guiding schools in developing curriculum to prepare students for the manufacturing workforce. The program’s goal is to provide a career pathway for students looking for rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing.

PMMI’s certification tests are based on industry-developed standards and recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Manufacturing Institute’s Skills Certification System.