Accredited Online Certificate Programs
Certificate programs are usually less-than-two-year programs focusing on a specific job function or topic within a field. Because of the nature of these programs, they also do not have the general education requirements that other degree programs typically have. Certificates can be ideal for those looking to supplement an existing degree, update their knowledge or skills, or as formal education for a number of technical trades which do not require a full-fledged degree. For working adults or those seeking flexible options to enhance their knowledgebase, there are also a number online certificate programs available through a variety of schools.
Seize Your Career
Certificates are available for those interested in areas such as accounting, project management, medical assisting, massage therapy, or those who would like to become pharmacy or veterinary technicians. Programs may be geared towards first-time postsecondary students, or may be offered at the post-graduate level.
Certificates are a great option for those looking to demonstrate knowledge of a particular skillset to employers. This may give applicants a leg up on the competition for positions that do not require a bachelor’s degree or may serve to enhance the knowledgebase of professionals already working in the field. In addition, some individuals may be looking to switch career fields or simply change their position within their field. Certificate programs can be a lower cost and less time consuming option in these instances.
Since many certificate programs are focused on educating students in a specific task or particular topic within a field, it is important to make sure the program you choose is properly accredited. Oftentimes, career-specific certificate programs will receive programmatic accreditation. You can research a school’s accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education’s database or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s directory of Programmatic Accrediting Organizations. It is advisable to research what types of accreditation employers in your field of interest are looking for before you enroll in a program. Some certification processes for technical professions also require a program to be certified by a specific agency.
Students enrolled in an online certificate program have more flexibility to choose when and where they complete their course work. This can allow them to balance the demands of a busy work and family life in addition to furthering their education. However, please note that some online certificate programs, especially for technical trades, may require clinic or internship hours in addition to these online classes. In most cases, anyone with a high school diploma or equivalent can enroll in a certificate program, with no college-level entrance exams required, but some certificate programs are designed for those already holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree and expect students to already have a certain level of expertise.
Continue Your Personal Growth
Some individuals may simply be looking to enrich themselves through education for their own personal satisfaction. Certificate programs can be ideal for the casual learner due to their relatively short duration and, consequently, lower cost. Programs are available in a variety of areas, including art, digital media, web design, e-learning, leadership, and literature. Online programs can also make this type of education more flexible and affordable for students from a variety of backgrounds by allowing them to complete their course work at their own pace.
While it is not as important to worry about specific accreditations when you are pursuing further education for the purpose of personal growth, you still want to make sure you will receive the instruction that you paid for. For this reason, it is still a good idea to check accreditation and/or contact agencies like the Better Business Bureau to ensure the school is a legitimate educational institution. Being thorough in your research before choosing a school can help you spot any red flags ahead of time and help you find a program you will enjoy.