5 Things to Know About Certificate Programs

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4 min read

With so many advantages and different programs available, it’s no surprise that certificate programs are becoming more popular every year. Certificate programs can boast a plethora of advantages to your professional development, including helping you to develop new skills and fulfill job requirements. 

It can be helpful to find out why more students are choosing certificate programs than ever before, as well as what you should know before enrolling in one. Here are five things to know about certificate programs:

Certificate programs can help you develop specific, up-to-date skills in a given field

One of the most significant benefits of certificate programs is that they allow you to focus solely on the skills that you want to develop. Unlike bachelor’s degree programs, certificate programs rarely mandate that their students take general education classes. Most certificate programs simply require applicants to have earned an academic credential like an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and possibly, depending on the type of certificate, have proof of basic knowledge in a specific field, such as:

  • Computer programming
  • Mathematics

Instead of placing you in classes that are unrelated to your interests, certificate programs allow you to concentrate on one specific field or skill set, such as digital marketing or medical interpretation.  

Certificate programs can lead to college credits, though completing one is not equivalent to a college degree

To secure certain positions, interested individuals may have no choice but to earn a college degree. For instance, public elementary school teachers must often hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. While it’s possible to earn a certificate in education at various American institutions, such a qualification would not be accepted in lieu of a college degree. 

It’s for this reason that you must know the requirements of the position you wish to obtain before selecting a course of action. Certificate programs can lead to college credits, but they don’t always act as a substitute for college degrees.    

Certificate programs can prepare you for certification exams or satisfy job requirements

Another benefit of certificate programs is that they prepare you for the next hurdle in the path to professional growth. The coursework for a certificate in physical therapy, for instance, could help you acquire some of the knowledge you would need to pass a PT certification exam.   

On the other hand, a certificate could help you satisfy certain job requirements. Schools in many countries around the world require English teachers to have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. Completing a certificate program can therefore improve your job prospects.  

[RELATED: 4 Ways Learning a Language Can Help Your Career

Certificate programs are an affordable alternative to pursuing a college degree

In the United States, the cost of earning a college degree is often hefty. After factoring in room and board, fees, and other expenses, and multiplying this figure by four years, a bachelor’s degree can prove to be a crippling investment. Master’s degrees are often even pricier.

Certificate program pricing varies greatly depending on the institution and program type. They can total anywhere from roughly $1,500 to $16,000. It should be noted that the higher end of this range pertains to certificates at the graduate level. Be sure to research all aspects of a program’s cost in order to deduce which option best suits you. 

Certificate programs can be completed remotely

Much of the lure of certificate programs can be attributed to their flexibility, and what makes some of these programs so flexible is their online format. Certificate programs are often favored by those who cannot commit to degree programs, but who wish to advance their careers.

The online format is ideal for busy individuals, because it gives students the option of logging into a platform and completing assignments whenever they have the time. Not all certificate programs can be completed remotely, however, so be sure to find out all the details of a program before you sign up for it.  

It’s important when considering this route to do your research and ensure that the program you’re interested in fulfills all your personal and professional requirements. 

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