What is a Certificate?
A Certificate can be awarded by a career college, community college, online school, technical college or other vocational school to indicate that a student has essential knowledge, skills or abilities in a specific area. Certification training programs consist of short-term vocational courses that generally address changing technological, social or economic areas that particular professional positions must adapt to. In educational status, Certificates are below the Associate degree and Bachelor’s degree and are designed to provide specific job skills.
Why should I earn a Certificate?
Earning a Certificate proves that you are qualified in a specific area. Some Certificates show that a candidate is qualified for a career, such as certain types of mechanics, and other certificates prove knowledge of a more specific sect – like a type of software. Students who already have a degree sometimes use more specific Certificate programs to acquire more in-depth training on their current careers.
How can I earn a Certificate?
Certificate programs are designed for students who are looking for extremely specialized instruction. Certificate programs vary in length, but often entail less than two years of full-time study. The U.S. Department of Education exclusively classifies three levels of Certificate programs:
- Graduate or professional programs that do not lead to another degree and are at least eight semester credit hours or 120 clock hours.
- Undergraduate programs that prepare students for employment in a recognized occupation and provide at least 16 semester credit hours or 240 clock hours.
- Undergraduate programs that prepare students for employment in a recognized occupation, provide at least eight semester credit hours and 120 clock hours, and require completion of at least an Associate degree.
What can I do with a Certificate?
Students enroll in Certificate programs for many reasons — to open opportunities for a new career, to become licensed for advancement in a current career, to satisfy continuing education requirements in a current career, or for other types of personal gain. Although many Certificate programs are designed to stand alone, some may be subsets of higher degree programs. Additionally, some careers may require periodic re certification to stay on top of current technologies.