Online Certificate Programs
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What is a Certification?
A professional or trade certification is a qualification used to assure that a person has the necessary skills to perform a certain job or task.
Earning one is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise, strengthen your resume, or prepare for a career change or promotion, and in some cases, it may be required.
What are the types of Certification ?
There are four common types of certification programs, including:
Corporate certification: These are given by a corporation or organization to its employees for internal purposes. Companies may require all employees to attend a training session in a subject such as customer service or diversity, at the end of which they receive a certificate.
Often these types of certificates are not portable—meaning they lack meaning and significance outside of the organization in which they are given. However, they’re also the simplest to administer, so many companies choose this route when wishing to ensure that a large number of employees gain a specific skill.
Product-specific certifications: These programs are generally much more involved than corporate types, and are intended to be portable across many different companies that use the particular product.
They are particularly common in the IT industry, where people can earn them for use of a wide range of hardware and software applications. Some jobs within the IT sector may require certain tech certifications, for example, with the advent of new technologies, employees must earn new certifications to keep their qualifications current.
Professional certifications: These are typically the most in-depth types of certifications, given by a governing association that intends to apply certain professional standards, increase quality of practice, and in some cases provide protection to the public.
They are recognized wherever a person might work, including across state borders.
Graduate certificate programs: Graduate programs are typically given after earning a Bachelor’s degree. They provide a less comprehensive education than a Masters degree, usually earned within approximately one year. Some programs can be transferred to a Masters degree at a later time.
How much does certification cost?
It depends. Some may be free, while others cost several hundred dollars or more. Corporate programs tend to be free, but these are the least valuable in terms of portability and acceptance throughout an industry.
Professional programs are the most valuable and the most likely to boost a resume, but they also tend to be the most expensive and involved. However, some companies are willing to pay the cost of the program, if they are applicable to the job.
Should you earn certification?
Some careers require a certain type of product-specific certification. Even if it isn’t required, they can give your resume an edge if you’re looking for a job. It can demonstrate your qualifications in a certain area, especially if your previous experience or education isn’t in that area.
Who needs a certification?
Again, it depends on the career and industry. While some careers, such as public school teacher and public accountant, require a them, many others don’t—but it’s still advisable. In some industries, it may not be required, but it’s advisable and even expected. These industries include aviation, IT, construction, health care, business, and finance.
What’s required to get certified?
This can vary drastically, from taking a one-day seminar to participating in traditional or online courses for over a year. Some designations take only a few weeks to earn, while others can take months or even a year or more. Some require applicants to pass a test or accumulate a certain number of apprentice hours in the field.
How often do you need to be certified?
Some may be earned once, but many others must be renewed periodically. For certifications—usually professional-level designations–require periodical renewal, you may be required to show continued learning in the industry.
Can I get certified online?
Many programs are available online. When choosing an online program, be sure to verify that it’s administered or approved by the right professional organization, if that’s applicable in your industry. It’s also good to find out whether the online program you choose provides an actual certification at the end—or simply prepares you for the test.
Getting your certification can be a good career move. They can make you look more qualified than your competition, as well as open opportunities for employment and advancement.
To get the most from your program, however, make sure it’s a designation that’s valued in your industry and career—as well as portable from one company to another.
Earn an online certificate, and you’ll be able to fit study and test time around your existing full-time work and family commitments.
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