For a long time, it’s been assumed that you need a college degree to get a good job and a good paycheck. But that route to success may not be available to everyone, and it often involves taking on tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Depending on the desired field, there is another way: certification.
A high school diploma is usually not enough to go beyond service industry and manual labor jobs. You need something else to convince employers that you have the knowledge and skills to start a new position fast. When you’re preparing for a career or improving your resume, certifications can impress recruiters.
Degrees and Certifications
The time and credits required are the main differences. Certificates may be more common in certain fields while degrees are required in other industries.
Usually requiring less time and money, certifications are targeted to a specific career or skill. You don’t take the general courses like English and Math often required for degrees. Certification may be used to improve your skill set and advance your career.
Degrees include associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and are more intensive and comprehensive. Students major in a subject area like Biology, Computer Science, or Business and take other general classes for a well-rounded education. Some jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in the field.
To earn a degree, you’ll spend a minimum two years of full-time study for an associate’s degree and six or more years maximum for a master or doctoral degree. The cost of one year of college when pursuing a degree is anywhere between $9,700 to $33,500.
The cost and time required to obtain a certificate vary widely depending on type and industry. For example, a Paralegal Program can cost $2,900 for 270 hours of instruction while a Medical Office Management with Billing and Coding Program may take six months and cost around $4,000.
The specific industry and desired career should guide your choice. Review the requirements for the career and note what kind of education is expected. You can prepare for an entry level job in several careers with certificate training, such as Nursing Assistant, Medical Office Manager, Paralegal, Massage Therapist, and Personal Trainer.
Online Certification Training
Online training is a great option for people with other jobs or responsibilities. No matter where you are in the world, you can complete the certification required for a new career online and all you need is a computer and an internet connection. You learn on your schedule at your pace.
Online training gives you the freedom and flexibility to create the professional development program that works for you. But not all providers are created equal. Determine what education is required for your goals and then research the companies that offer online courses. Things to look for include:
- Training that meets the requirements
- Accredited providers
- Approved courses
- Experienced, trusted elearning provider
- Reasonable price
- Easy-to-use, interactive platform
- Unlimited customer service in a variety of methods
It’s one thing to just claim you have exceptional skills, but quite another to have certification from an accredited institution. Certification training shows you’re serious about professional development and take the initiative to expand your skills and experience. Employers love people like that.