Why You Should Consider Certificate Programs

Daphne Heflin
Daphne Heflin
Elementary school principal; Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration
'Certificate’ surrounded by other words and a hand holding a pen.

Are you like me and have many interests and passions and therefore a constant desire to learn and pursue topics of interest? Maybe you are pursuant of learning about technology and want to secure your knowledge and skills related to IT. Maybe you are also interested in automotive studies, increasing your cooking skills and learning exercise management techniques. In essence you have many interests!

Or are you looking to increase your skill set in a particular field? Maybe you are an educator and want to increase your skills in teaching reading or in dyslexia therapy for special needs students.

What about planning for the future? Maybe you are planning to change careers or build your resume so that you are more marketable in a given profession. Perhaps you are working on a master’s degree in educational administration, and you wish to have additional areas of certification like curriculum design or special education.

Certificate programs are proven to be helpful in the named scenarios. They generally provide targeted learning in particular areas of interest. Such programs can require face-to-face instruction, online instruction, or a combination of the two. A variation of program types is available, such as technical programs and professional programs, which require different qualifications for entry.

With a variety of available learning techniques, methods, and courses yielding degrees, diplomas, and certificates, why should certificate programs be considered? What is attractive about certificate programs?

Require Different Qualifications for Entry

Technical certificate programs often require a high school degree or GED but do not require a college degree for entry. Other professional certificate programs require a bachelor’s degree for entry. Some certificate programs can be entered with no prior experience in the field or topic of choice while others recommend prior experience. Basically, anyone interested in becoming more knowledgeable and skilled can find opportunities to reach those goals through certificate programs.

Provide Learning on Topics of Interest

For individuals who love learning simply for the sake of learning, certificate programs are a great means of achievement. The learner can choose a specific interest and delve deeply into that area as many certificate programs are designed around targeted topics. Most certificate programs do not require as many general learning courses for completion of the program whereas  degrees require quite a number of general courses before specialty courses.

Quick and Affordable

The expected time to obtain a master’s degree is about two years on average and each course taken during efforts to obtain such a degree has a sizeable cost per credit hour on average. Certificate programs, on the other hand, generally take several months to two years to complete, and the costs are dependent on the institution and the program requirements but are on average cheaper than degree programs. The duration of the certificate program often depends upon the participant’s work schedule because many are self-paced, which is yet another benefit of certificate programs.

Earn Master’s Degree and Certificate Simultaneously

Many certificate programs can be completed during the same time as a graduate degree. When this is the case, an individual is killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Generally, a master’s degree takes between one and two years to complete and walking away with certifications and a master’s degree is a great accomplishment, a stacking of knowledge and skills, and makes a person more marketable in the professional world.

Benefit Those Wanting to Change Careers

Jobs, careers, professions…who’s to say you have to stick with the one you originally started? Things change, and this sometimes means a lateral move within a profession or a move from one career to another. Certificate programs are fairly quick to increase one’s knowledge and skill set so he/she has a greater chance for success in a different position within the same career or in a different profession altogether. Certificate programs improve the qualifications of an individual for his/her next career move.

Allow Existing Educators to Specialize While Getting Their Masters

Educators who get their license in a particular area or their degree in a particular field can specialize by having extra hours, extra training, and extra credentials in a specialty area. Certificate programs allow for specialized learning and specialty qualifications.

Increase Credentials and Opportunities

Upon one’s completion of a course of learning, specifically a certificate program, a person has more credentials at which point he or she will have more opportunities because the individual is highly diverse in knowledge and skills. You might say the individual has value added due to the additional knowledge and skills.

What are your plans, needs, and interests? If they include seeking a certificate program, excellent resources for finding a program of interest include: online searches, speaking with professionals from nearby learning institutions, seeking professional development coordinators, checking with online learning organizations, and visiting local community colleges and/or universities.

Learning goals, whether to increase credentials, to lead into a starter career or a career change, to improve skills, or to learn more about a topic of interest, can be addressed through these programs. Benefits of learning are endless; moreover, benefits of certificate programs enhance one’s learning venture.

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