Online Certificates


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Intro to Certificates

Although many people begin their careers by earning a two- or four-year degree, that is not the only path that can lead to earning a career. Online certificate programs are an alternate educational option that, in some cases, may even be more useful to certain individuals than a degree program.

As compared to degree programs, certificate programs:

  • Typically take six to twelve months to complete
  • Are generally available at vocational schools, community colleges, trade schools and online colleges
  • Tend to focus on one subject, or even a specific aspect of one subject, rather than covering a range of related or general education

Available on the undergraduate and graduate levels from colleges and universities, certificate programs are often an effective source of career education because they are so highly focused on the content of a specific field. Certificate programs can be an especially good choice for students who are looking for the following:

  • Looking to enter the workforce quickly: Because certificate programs can be completed so quickly, they can also help put students in a position to start applying for careers in a certain field at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Looking to pursue a vocational career: Certificates are commonly available for vocational fields, and can cover much of the education needed to earn positions in these careers. Examples include HVAC, computer and appliance repair or beauty and cosmetology.
  • Looking to change careers: If you've already completed a degree program but now want to enter a different field, you may not need to go through the general education requirements you already satisfied the first time around. Rather than starting another degree program, a certificate program may be sufficient to ease the way for your career change with the relevant skills and knowledge.
  • Looking to deepen existing career knowledge: Completing a certificate program can be a convenient way to perform continuing education (especially for careers such as teaching or nursing) or to delve deeper into your field and demonstrate your prowess at the subject (for example, earning a certificate in a specific kind of photography or a specific era of history).

Benefits of Earning an Online Certificate

Just as with degree programs, completing online certificate programs can have a number of benefits for students. The following are some of the ways that certificate programs can be helpful.

  • Employment opportunities: Workers who have earned certificates often stand out to potential employers, which may give them an edge when applying for a job. Having a certificate can demonstrate to organizations that a candidate is serious about their career, as well as the profession as a whole.
  • Promotion opportunities: The focused studies of a certificate program can help students to drill down and learn the skills that can kick their understanding to the next level. This can lead to a better performance in the workplace, which may be seen and respected by superiors when promotion time comes around!
  • Convenience: Online certificate programs can be a lot more flexible than on-campus programs or even online degree programs. Because these programs are so short, they can fit into your schedule easily and be completed quickly enough so as not to cause undue stress.
  • Networking: Students in online certificate programs have the opportunity to meet people who can become part of their professional network. By interacting with professors and peers, students can make valuable connections that may open doors for them in the future.

Online certificate programs are available in a variety of disciplines, making them a viable first step to starting a career or advancing in an existing one. With so many opportunities available, students can confidently learn new information and skills for their chosen career path and reap the benefits for years to come.

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