Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is a certificate program worth it?

The National Center for Education Statistics shows that the growth of higher education in many sectors is slowing down yet the growth of college level certificates has risen dramatically over the last decade. Many cite the need of skilled workers in fields where the knowledge base is changing rapidly such as technology and healthcare.

Research shows that certificates can have a lot of value both academically and economically. For example, research by The Georgetown University Center on the Education and the Workforce shows that workers can earn over a quarter million more dollars over their lifetime by earning a certificate and 20% more than workers with only a high school diploma(1). Recently the State of Virginia released the earnings of the state’s public college graduates and the data showed that those with post-baccalaureate certificates actually earned more than those a master’s degree (2).

The value of a certificate much like a 4 year degree still requires a detailed analysis because it’s dependent on the need of employers. Some fields like Paralegals have a gold standard such as the American Bar Association Accreditation however in many career fields there’s no clear standard. Some fields such as healthcare have more certificates than there are job titles and conversely the return on investment is less than a more technical field such as Aviation or engineering(1). The key is to look long term at both investment and academic goals. Research shows that completing a certificate can enhance thier chances of completing a college degree because it acts a stepping stone towards completion and enhances earning power even if the college degree isn’t finished.

Name recognition plays a powerful role and high quality colleges offer a variety of certificate options. Cornell offers over 20 certificates online through their program at and Harvard University offers online certificates through their extension studies school that may count towards a degree later at Public universities are just starting to get into the awarding of certificates which has traditionally been frowned upon by academia. Some public colleges that are leaders in distance education such as SUNY Empire State College are offering an ever increasing variety of certificates at .




Anonymous said...

As I know Online Certificates are worth it,many people with Online Degrees have earn a good job,I,myself am considering on taking online master of education.

Bradley Stacks said...
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lizabaker said...

Being able to get one or numerous certification programs is truly worth it.