Whether for fulfilling general education requirements or taken as a prerequisite before pursuing college degrees at the bachelor or master degree level, online certificate programs can open many educational doors.
Online certificate programs can provide students the technical skills they need for various entry-level careers. The number of students enrolling in online certificate progams continues to grow each year.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, postsecondary schools awarded over 99,000 certificates for the 2017-2018 year. These programs remain popular today.
Some of this popularity is due to their relative affordability and flexibility. Online certificate programs have seen an increase due to COVID associated closure of many campus based programs.
What Types of Students Enroll In Online Certificate Programs?
- Students who have recently graduated from high school
- Adults holding down either part-time or full-time jobs
- Retired adults take online certificate courses.
There is a wide range of certificate programs and providers from which to choose. One will be best for your professional goals.
What Are The Perks of An Online Certificate Program?
Focused, flexible and affordable, online certificate programs offer many perks.
Time Is Often The First Benefit Mentioned
There are several benefits for completing an online certificate program. One of the most commonly cited perks is the time it takes to complete certificate programs. They most typically take 12 months or less to complete.
Students can take advantage of undergraduate certificate programs to complete the requisite core competencies for several entry level positions. The most common of these fields are as follows.
- digital media
Once the student has completed their baccalaureate degree, there are certificates designed to prepare them for both master’s and doctoral level programs.
Convenience Is Another of The Major Perks Listed
According to the director of Successful Release (a non-profit organization) says that another of the major benefits of online certificate programs is convenience. Adam Sanders has had personal experience with online certificate programs.
He further stated that “working full time limits ability to pursue educational opportunities, especially those that happen on campus.”
Online students benefit from asynchronous, part-time courses that offer the flexibility that allows them to continue to meet family and employment obligations.
Affordability Is Clearly One of The Major Perks of Online College Certificate Programs
The affordability of online certificate programs is often mentioned as one of their highly regarded perks. Scholarship opportunities and lower tuition costs are clearly desired benefits. Many companies offer some level of continuing education support for relevant certificates or courses.
Degree vs. Certificate
Degree of focus is the primary difference in the two educational entities. College degrees are much more comprehensive in nature.
Certificate programs are more tightly focuses on the technical training needed for obtain employment immediately upon completion of the program.
Certificate programs often cover such topics as:
- small business development
- paralegal studies
- automotive technology
Of course, students can use the training obtained via certificat programs to pursue higher level education later on as well. A number of online certificate programs transfer into either a bachelor’s or master’s degree program
You can also use your certificate training to pursue additional education at a later date; many online certificate courses can be transferred into bachelor’s or master’s programs.
Certificate Programs vs. Professional Certification
Although you will hear people use these two terms interchangeably, they do so incorrectly. These terms are different entities entirely.
One is offered by institutions of higher learning and the other by private organizations and each has a specific purpose in mind.
Certificate programs offered by institutions of higher education are created to assist students in advancing their current careers or to engage in a different career altogether.
A variety of applicable skills taught in these programs include, be are not limited to:
- computer management
- project management
- strategic communications
Private organizations award professional certifications as opposed to states which award licenses. Two examples of professional certificates are educaton and healthcare. Each of these require licensure to work in their states legally.
There are a few professions that offer voluntary certifications as well. These certificates indicate the professional’s competency to any potetntial employer, colleagues or clients.
Fields like cloud technologies and cybersecurity also have professional certificates available.
Accreditation for Online Certificate Programs
Colleges and Universities cannot award a valid online certificate unless that have earned either regional or national accreditation. The CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) is an organization with over 3000 members.
This independent accrediting organization provides oversight of the entire process. Further, it maintains a list of accredited schools.
There is an independent accrediting institution recognized strictly for Post-Secondary schools. They can earn accreditation regionally via one of six organizations.
One such organization is the Higher Learning Commission. The HLC provides supervison over schools in 16 states, including Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Industry Specific Online Certificate Programs
Some associations that are industry-specific also offer online certificate programs. One of the best known of these is for business schools which can earn accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
It is not wise to enroll in an uncredited certificate program. Many people consider them to be less credible. Many employers do not recognize a certificate awarded from an unaccredited institution.
Providers of Online Certificate Programs
Such providers usually include community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities and MOOCS.
Colleges and Universities
The majority of colleges and universities offer certificates at levels consistent with the degrees. They also offer certificates at continuing education and professional levels.
Their programs help students to improve specific skills associated with their degree. Those earning certificated often transfer into the next level of degree offered at the educational institution.
Normally, online certificate program coursework is delivered asynchronously. Sometimes, however, live online meetings may be required as well.
On-campus labs, online meetings and practica experiences may be part of the requirements as well. There is a wide range of program requirements so do not make assumptions. Check it out carefully.
Vocational Schools and Community Colleges
Certificate programs focus on career pertinent education. Frequently, they are associated with vocational schools and community colleges.
These institutions are dedicated to the improvement of the employment and economy of a community. Each has their own way to approaching these issues.
Technical Certificate Programs
Some of the most popular certificate programs of the technical type include:
- Aviation/ Private Pilot Instruction
- Emergency Medical Assisting
- Real Estate Brokerage
Liberal Arts Certificate Programs
Certificate seeking students also have the option to complete general education requirements via this pathway. Students may pursue both associate and bachelor’s degrees in this manner.
Many state universities collaborate with community colleges. They provide a 2+2 program. These offer the students a way to seamlessly complete their degrees.
This is a great benefit to students. The two-year schools offer a lower rate of tuition and the state research universities provide more comprehensive resources.
Online certificate programs allow students to pursue their education all around the globe without leaving home. Many educational institutions boast quite a selection of online certificate programs in many fields.
What Is A MOOC
MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are online courses and are delivered remotely and asynchronously. Anyone can enroll.
Admission to a MOOC is open to as many students as wish to participate. Educational modules, assignments and quizzes are all part of the course.
MOOCS are easily accessible and offer a great deal of variety. Students choose them for both personal enrichment as well as to learn new professional skills.
A number of well regarded universities, including some Ivy League schools, offer free MOOCS. Often, universities charge a fee to obtain total access to all learning resources or to receive a certificate of completion.
MOOC Provider vs. College/Universities
Each of these entities have several positive components that makes them an attractive choice for many students. In general, the sheer number of online certificate courses offered is the major benefit of MOOC providers.
Colleges and universities have several other benefits to consider. Each student must decide if the number of courses outweighs the following benefits.
- greater ease of access to course instructor
- more collaboration with classmates
- better student resources
- staff dedicated to assist students with career goals and academic success in general
A Few Uncatagorized Tips When Pursuing Online Certificate Programs
- If pursuing an entry-level career, consider courses leading to certification from corporate partners (examples of this are IBM and Microsoft)
- You can find transfer credits from partner universities more easily via MOOCs
- Students need clear objectives if they choose a MOOC platform such as edX or Coursera
- Online Certificate Programs provide a path toward achieving many professional objectives. This is affordable, flexible and convenient.
- Students use online certificate programs to better prepare for the pursuit of college degrees or an entry-level career.
- The diversity of online certificate programs is vast and covers both academic and technical areas. Medical imaging and plumbing are just two examples.
- Online Certificate Programs are available via two-year community colleges, 4 year universities and MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses)
All Online Students Need To Know This
However, before you select the courses you want to take, you need to read this article. https://onlinecollegelife.info/selecting-an-online-college-course/
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