What is a certifiate program?

Certificate programs are designed for students to earn a certificate in specific professional areas while giving them the proper training for a career field.  What separates a certificate program from college courses is that a certificate program does not count for college credit.  This means that, even if a student receives a certificate, he or she will not earn any credit towards a degree unless otherwise specified.   In some cases, certificate programs may provide circumstances in which students could earn credit towards an Associate’s degree or even a Bachelor’s degree but those circumstances must be specified.

There are two main types of certificates: undergraduate and graduate certificates.  Undergraduate certificates generally require a high school diploma or equivalent GED and are similar to a college major in the sense that students in the certificate program will study many courses and learn vital skills for the field in which they want to work.  The areas in which one can get a certificate are as diverse as any college degree program.  Students can get certifications in anything from computer science to foreign language to automotive engineering.  There are also many certificates in vocational areas such as construction or animal care or security.  It is not uncommon for some students to pursue a certificate program just to acquire a new skill.

Why a Certificate Program?

To advance in most fields, some form of education is required simply to prove you have the know how to perform pivotal tasks.  Selecting a certificate program over an undergraduate degree would definitely get the recipients the skills for their chosen field at a much lower cost than a traditional degree.  Another positive aspect to a certificate program is that it can take much less time to complete.  While the time it takes to complete a certificate program varies from certificate to certificate, there are many programs that can be completed in less than a year and most can be completed in under two years which is a shorter period of time than even a full-time Associate’s degree program takes, generally speaking.

Certificate programs are not only for those who may not want a traditional degree but can also be a great way for traditional degree holders to expand their knowledge and education without going back into a traditional degree program.  By getting a certificate after receiving a degree and performing in the work place, one can show his or her employer how committed to doing an excellent job he or she is.  It also is a nice display of the passion for both the company and advancement without taking on the cost of a full or part-time degree.

Flexibility of a Certificate Program

Ideally, those who wish to advance their education will not want to sacrifice their current job to do so especially if they are interested in completing a certificate to advance in their current company.  Certificates are a great way to gain knowledge and valid proof of that knowledge without sacrificing one’s current position.

There are many certificate programs offered online and some can be completed in as little as two months.  Certificate programs are easier to complete than degrees simply because they take less time and remain focused on the area in which you are studying which is unlike a traditional degree that may require general education courses.

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