Are you considering a career change? If so, you’re hardly alone. In the last few years, a lot of people have found themselves wondering if they could find a more satisfying and higher paying position, but that often requires developing new skills. As you consider your next steps, then, keep your eye on these challenging professional exams. All in growing industries, they’ll take effort to pass, but will open up exciting new doors.

Cisco Certified Network Associate

Cisco is one of the biggest tech companies around, providing hardware, software, telecommunications equipment, and much more. Their services are used by companies of all sizes – and those companies need tech support. To that end, the CCNA badge is a valuable certification because it enables you to manage a variety of fundamental networking issues for businesses. To earn your CCNA badge, you need to take the CCNA 200-301 exam, which covers topics like IP services and connectivity, security, and automation, among other topics in network operations.

Certified Public Accountant

Almost everyone will consult a CPA at some point in their lives because we all need to do our taxes – but did you know that it’s extremely challenging to become a CPA? Although there seems to an H&R Block outpost on every corner during tax season, the CPA exam consists of four sections and boasts a pass rate of just 40-50%. In order to earn your license, you have to pass all four parts of the CPA exam within 18 months, and many industry experts estimate it takes at least 150 hours of prep time, along with appropriate work experience.

Certified Management Accountant

A step up the ladder from CPAs, CMAs work with businesses and government organizations to perform advanced business analytics, risk management, and future-oriented projections based on extensive financial data. Like it’s relative, the CPA exam, the CMA licensing exam is challenging. In addition to requiring two years of relevant work experience, such as employment as a business analyst, the global pass rate for the CMA exam is just 40%. However, with a top prep program, such as the Wiley CMA Exam Prep program, that number can go as high as 80%, which is evidence of how important a good preparation strategy is.

Series 7

Securities investors can, over time, earn a variety of licenses, enabling them to engage in different, specialized activities. Of these licenses, though, the hardest and most comprehensive is the Series 7 exam, which is known as the General Securities Representatives exam. As such, it’s the basic exam for stockbrokers, but insurance agents, financial planners, and related professionals also commonly hold a Series 7 license. Additionally, most financial professionals must hold a Series 7 to progress to any additional license, like the Series 65 and 66 licenses.

Though many careers require licensing or certification, today the technology and finance sectors dominate the professional exam sector – and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. In fact, with new technology and even techno-finance hybrids like bitcoin reshaping the market, we’re likely to see more exams in the near future, rather than fewer. There’s a world of opportunity in these fields, if you can master the content.