When it comes to drilling a tooth cavity, training you in the gym, or operating on you in theatre, you’re want to know the person responsible is qualified. To know that they’ve studied, trained, and know exactly what they’re doing before they’re let loose.

Even when it comes to our pets, cars and homes it goes without saying that we only really want help from professionals who can qualify their craft with relevant qualifications or certificates.

This level of certification should also be a deal-breaker when outsourcing your accounting, bookkeeping, or financial advice for your business.

Why? Well, because these are the types of professions that require accredited qualifications. But can the same be said when it comes to things like copywriting, photography, video editing, PR, and fashion?

These are some of the most common freelance fields (just to name a few) and typically they don’t call for any proof of educational background or certification before being hired.

In this blog post, we explore the question: are certificates or qualifications required for freelance workers?

Does a freelancer need qualifications or certificates to work?

For the most part, a freelancer won’t need a qualification or a certification to carry out their work. In fact it’s quite rare for a client ask to see a CV before hiring a freelance professional.

They’ll be more interested in things like portfolios, showreels, experience, and recommendations when researching their freelance contacts.

Other things hirers will look out for in a freelancer include:

  • Impeccable time management and the ability to meet deadlines
  • Confidence working independently
  • The ability to take a brief
  • Willingness to negotiate around budgets where necessary
  • Attention to client relationships

That said, some freelancers will need to be able to use various software or programmes in order to carry out their work, so being certified in these areas to prove proficiency can be useful.

The benefits of qualifications and certificates for freelancers

In a recent study of DACH freelancers, those with a University degree earned an average of €96 per hour, which was €14 more than those who had only reaching secondary school level of education.

Aside from evidently being able to charge more with qualifications to back you, here are some other reasons why accolades and achievements might serve a freelancer well:

  • Stand out against your competition – When a client comes to choose between you or some other potential freelancer, an extra qualification or certification could be just what it takes to pip them to the post.
  • Improve and update your current offering – As a freelancer, it’s always good to stay on your toes so that you can continue providing work which is fresh, relevant and in-line with the latest trends and technologies.
  • Upsell your service by upskilling yourself – As well as making sure your existing toolkit stays top-notch, it’s also a good idea to branch out and expand your skillset where possible. Naturally, this will be dictated by time and budget but upskilling is an effective way to evolve yourself as a freelancer and impress your customer.

For instance, a wedding photographer might decide to take a course in video editing in order to extend their editing skills into moving image as well as stills. This way, they will then be able to cross-sell and upsell their service with a wedding photo and video package.

How can I upskill?

When asked which methods of further education they prefer to use, most (69%) of respondents said technical literature such as books, manuals, articles, or reports. Online courses, workshops, seminars and webinars were all prioritised after that.

However, with the benefits of qualifications and certifications for freelancers being so appealing, you may very well find yourself scratching the itch to dust off your learning cap at some point.


Are you a freelancer with a catalogue of qualifications and certificates under your belt? Have you found they’ve helped you win work and schmooze clients? Want to share a great course with your fellow freelancers reading this article? Let us know in the comments below!


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