Admins / Career / Certifications

Certified Admin? 5 Salesforce Certifications to Achieve Next

By Christine Marshall

Salesforce certifications are a trusted industry standard qualification, and are frequently required by employers. Becoming a Salesforce Certified Professional indicates a level of proficiency, as well as a commitment to personal and professional development. 

In addition, with the majority of Salesforce professionals holding at least one certification, and the general consensus being that certs can help you stand out as well as boost your earning potential, there’s never been a better time to start thinking about your next steps.

If you’re interested in the top 10 certifications that will boost your pay, then check out the most recent Careers and Hiring Guide from Mason Frank. In this guide, I don’t want to focus purely on salary, I want to explore the top five certifications to advance your admin career in the “real world” – those that will help you gain valuable insights and experience that you will likely encounter as a Salesforce Admin. 

Platform App Builder

The Platform App Builder certification is ideal if you want to demonstrate your knowledge of building custom applications on the Salesforce platform using clicks, not code. This exam also starts to venture into programmatic solutions and will expect you to understand when code would be a more appropriate choice. 

There is a lot of overlap between this exam and Advanced Administrator, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Service Cloud Consultant. 

Of all the certifications, Platform App Builder has to be my #1 recommendation if you’re looking for a fundamental cert to advance your career. 

Where to start? In terms of progression, this cert is going to be required for pretty much every Salesforce Architect role including:

  • B2B Solution Architect
  • B2C Solution Architect
  • Application Architect
  • System Architect
  • Technical Architect

It’s also one of the top three certifications held by Salesforce professionals according to the Careers and Hiring Guide.

READ MORE: Platform App Builder Certification Guide & Tips

Think you’re ready to take the Platform App Builder? Try our free 60-question practice exam to see if you are ready to take on the real exam.

Sales Cloud Consultant

The Sales Cloud Consultant certification is designed for consultants who have experience implementing Sales Cloud solutions in a customer-facing role. 

The exam zones into Salesforce’s most popular and customizable product, taking a deep dive into all the features that make up the Sales Cloud, including some of the less frequently used such as Enterprise Territory Management and Advanced Currency Management.

75% of Salesforce Professionals who responded to the Mason Frank Careers and Hiring Guide work with Sales Cloud. It’s the original “Cloud” from Salesforce and by far the most popular.

This suggests then, that becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant could be a smart move.

As mentioned in our Platform App Builder overview, there is a lot of overlap between that and the Sales Cloud Consultant, so do yourself a favor and study both!  

READ MORE: Sales Cloud Consultant Certification Guide & Tips

Service Cloud Consultant

The Service Cloud Consultant certification is designed for consultants who have experience implementing Salesforce Service Cloud solutions in a customer-facing role. This exam zones into Salesforce’s second most popular product, diving deep into all the features that make up the Service Cloud.

64% of Salesforce professionals who responded to the Mason Frank Careers and Hiring Guide work with Service Cloud and the certification is number 6 in the list of certifications held, potentially giving you an edge over other candidates. 

At Salesforce Ben, we all agree that we’d sit up and pay attention to someone with the Service Cloud Consultant certification as it’s packed full of complex features such as Salesforce Field Service! 

In the digital age, virtual customer service has become increasingly important, and the demand for skilled Salesforce Admins who are well-versed in Case management and self-service options, such as Experience Sites and Knowledge, has increased. 

READ MORE: Service Cloud Consultant Certification Guide & Tips

Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist

The Salesforce CPQ Specialist Certification was created a few years ago after Salesforce acquired Steelbrick CPQ. The certification leads the way for ensuring that those implementing CPQ and the Quote to Cash process are fully prepared for complex requirements and business models.

There is a trend at present for Salesforce professionals to specialize in an effort to stand out from the crowd and increase their earning potential.

READ MORE: Why Salesforce Roles Are Trending Towards Specialization

CQP is a notoriously tricky product and Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialists are both in demand and in short supply. According to the Careers and Hiring Guide, achieving this certification can command an increase in your salary.

READ MORE: CPQ Specialist Certification Guide & Tips

Business Analyst

The Business Analyst Certification is an ideal way to prove your skills when obtaining clear business requirements, facilitating project discovery, process mapping, and creating user stories. But it’s not all about business analysis! The Salesforce Certified Administrator is a prerequisite for this exam. 

Business analysis is one of the 14 key skills of a successful Salesforce Admin and can help you learn how to improve the efficiency of your business operations.

READ MORE: How to Become a Salesforce Business Analyst

It’s clear that the role of Salesforce Business Analyst has been increasing in importance and visibility in recent times, due to the introduction of this certification earlier this year. 

READ MORE: Salesforce Business Analyst Certification Guide & Tips

Bonus – Platform Developer I 

The Platform Developer I certification tests not only your understanding of Apex, but also declarative tools, best practices, security, UI, and performance.

Controversial to include a developer certification in a list for admins? Maybe. 

Now, to be clear, we’re not saying that you need to learn to code or become a full-blown developer to have a successful career! However, we have to acknowledge that the salaries for developers are higher than that of a typical admin and that there is a demand for “Adminelopers”. 

READ MORE: Salesforce Developer Salary Guide

Platform Developer I is also a vital part of the Architect Pyramid and will be needed if you intend to become a B2B Solution Architect, Application Architect, System Architect, or Technical Architect. 

READ MORE: Salesforce Platform Developer Certification Guide & Tips

Think you’re ready to take PDI? Try our free 60-question practice exam to see if you are ready to take on the real thing.


I didn’t include Advanced Administrator in this list, but that’s not because I don’t think it’s a valuable certification! I think it’s great and has a ton of overlaps with Platform App Builder, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Service Cloud Consultant. So, if you’ve already completed or are planning to complete any of those, then consider doing the Advanced Admin in parallel, as it’s very complimentary. 

So, what do you think? Which one will you take to advance your career? And more importantly, if someone asked you, which certification would you recommend to a Salesforce Admin? 

If you’re interested in learning more about the various certification pathways available to you, check out our handy infographic. You’ll find the recommended experience and prerequisite certifications you will need to progress to the next stage. Which path will you follow?

READ MORE: Salesforce Certification Pathways [Infographic]

The Author

Christine Marshall

Christine is the Courses Director at Salesforce Ben. She is an 11x certified Salesforce MVP and leads the Bristol Admin User Group.

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