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Why Certificate Programs Have Skyrocketed in Popularity

By on March 31, 2020 in Graduate School with 0 Comments

woman sitting at computer earning an online graduate certificate

A generation ago, getting a bachelor’s degree was considered the ultimate goal in secondary education. Gaining stable employment required a four-year degree, and those who received certificates or two-years degrees simply didn’t have the same opportunity. Yet recent statistics are showing a shift with associate’s degrees and certificates increasing in popularity. Here is a closer look at the reality behind this change and the certificate programs that are making headway.

Certificates Are Tailored to Meet Today’s Workforce Demands

When today’s employers find that they cannot hire qualified individuals, they look to certificates as a way to get people qualified promptly. Because certificate programs tend to be more skills-oriented than bachelor’s degree programs, they are easily tailored to market demands. The main goal of these programs is to help graduates find employment in their desired line of work.

Many large companies are now jumping on this trend and partnering with universities to create customized certificate programs. For example, Amazon has recruited colleges to provide cloud computing certificates that train people in the expertise needed for the online retail giant. Google has engaged community colleges to create IT certificates that train workers to work well in their particular field.

In addition, many schools are working certifications into their degree programs, according to Education Dive. This means students will graduate and be equipped to start a job without the need for additional industry credentials and testing.

Embedding is not a new idea, but it previously was reserved for community and technical colleges. Now, four-year colleges are starting to add certificate programs to help prepare students better for the demands of the modern workforce.

Certificate Programs Cater to All Types of Learners, Not Just High School Graduates

Another reason certificate programs are seeing growth is the fact that they work for all levels of learners. While new high school graduates can use certificate programs to start their career path, seasoned employees can use them to quickly gain a new skill that keeps them competitive in a changing marketplace. Because certificates aren’t tied to a degree, the education level of the individual seeking the certificate matters little.

Certificates Offer Fast, Affordable Career Advancement

Certificates will continue to be a favorable choice for the modern worker because they are both fast and affordable. Many are designed to take just a handful of class periods to earn, so those looking to advance in their job can do so in a year or sometimes less. In addition, these programs cost much less than similar degree programs since there are fewer courses required to complete a certificate program than a bachelor’s program.

Areas of Study in Which Certificates Are Gaining Popularity

Certificates are gaining traction across the board, but certain areas of study are particularly favored. IT specifically has many certificate programs that are in high demand. Adding training in new technology, learning cloud computing skills, or understanding cybersecurity does not require a full degree but may require some additional education.

Within the IT industry, it has become an expectation that a student who has a degree should also have a certification. ACU Online’s coursework in IT Administration prepares students to take a compTIA certification exam, which is a highly recognized and respected certification. Gaining this will not only give a boost to a resume, but shows the hiring manager that an individual is independently trained. In many fields, the credentials, not the type of degree, are considered the most important factor in hiring and salary decisions.

Yet the interest in certificates is not limited to technology studies. In the corporate world, business analytics and conflict management are both valuable certificates that make business professionals more in-demand.

Sometimes certificates are designed to provide a little niche training in an area. For educators, conflict management and resolution certificates can help them be better prepared for the inevitable conflicts faced in and out of the classroom. People in church leadership roles can benefit from training in therapy techniques that can apply to their counseling work.

Many times, this additional training does not require another degree, but it is invaluable in the day-to-day work the individual performs.

If you are looking for a graduate-level certificate program in education, business, or ministry, and want to benefit from a highly respected educational institution with a faith-based focus, consider Abilene Christian University. Our online certificate programs will give you an edge in your career, while adding the expertise you need to better perform your ministry or work tasks. Browse our available online courses and certificate programs today.

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