Are you considering obtaining your certificate for a particular program? Do your friends and family keep discouraging you to follow this specific type of educational path? Are you bound and determined to do your homework regarding what a certificate program can do for you, so that the people in your life will see why this is the path that you think will best suit your future plans? Continue reading below so that you can learn about the most important factors with regards to this educational path, which will surely help you get your family members and friends on board with your plan.
Perhaps one of the biggest perks that a certificate based program can provide to potential students is that you can generally complete it within two years. In addition, you will be adequately trained and fully prepared to enter the work force, since a large portion of a certificate program will require you to complete hands on training that is directly pertinent to your chosen field of study. Keep in mind, the shorter the length of the training program, the sooner you will be ready to enter the work force and begin making money doing what you enjoy. Therefore, when you compare a certificate based program to the requirements of a traditional bachelor’s degree, the length of study will be much shorter for aspiring students. The primary reason that a certificate based program has the potential to be shorter in length is in regards to the fact that you will not be required to complete general education course work. Instead, a certificate program will only consist of courses and practicum-based training that will aid in your preparation for any future positions.
Keep in mind, because a certificate program is shorter in length you will also incur fewer costs with regards to your education. Due to the fact that the jobs that you will be qualified to pursue are of a similar caliber as those that require a formal undergraduate degree, your financial status is likely to be in a better state should you choose to pursue a certificate based program. It is important to understand that a large portion of the certificate programs that are available to students are focused in service related industries. For instance, most learning institutions offer certificate based programs in areas such as mechanics, culinary arts, business services, and personal services.
One of the first things you’ll notice when research certificate based programs (vocational or trade school programs) is the significant cost difference between them and degree granting programs. Certificate programs usually run as low as $5,000 to as high as $25,000 depending on the type of program. Most hands-on training programs at a campus will average $15,000 where online programs are usually cheaper as they require less staffing by the school offering the programs. Programs in the medical field seem to be the highest. Those in nursing for example often run $20,000 to even $30,000 and are extremely competitive in terms of their acceptance rates. One thing to consider when looking into any program is how you’ll be paying for your training. Many schools offer Federal Financial Aid however we urge people to try other ways in paying for your education so you aren’t strapped with debt when you graduate. Many schools offer 0% payment plans so you can pay while attending school. Another area to research is scholarships. Thousands of scholarships go unclaimed each year simply because nobody applied for them. A lot of schools offer their students scholarships that can be as high as $2000 in some cases simply for applying. Make sure to follow up with the school you are considering before enrolling to see what scholarships are available to you.
Duration of Training
The most appealing part of going to a vocational training school or a school that offers certificate training programs is the amount of time it takes to complete the training. Unlike traditional colleges that offer 2 and 4 year degrees, certificate training ranges from 6 months to sometimes 18 months in length with the average program taking just 12 months to complete. The advantage with this is you’ll be done and working in your field quicker than most college students. It is important to first research if the area of study you are interested in can be completed with a certificate based program. Often students take a program only to realize after graduation that they need more advanced training. I can’t stress this enough when we assist students in finding the right school to attend. Make sure you ask tons of questions before enrolling and it is a good idea to talk to any recent graduates as well as employers that have hired graduates from the school you are attending to make sure the training is sufficient.
When research any school that offers certificate programs make sure the school is accredited by a major accrediting body. These days a lot of schools are losing their accreditation due to low completion and placement rates. The implementation of the Federal Gainful Employment Act makes schools more accountable for the quality of graduates they have. They have to meet certain standards regarding how much they charge for a program in comparison to how much the graduation will be making after they graduate. Don’t take the word of the school regarding their accreditation and current standards. You can fully research every school online as they are required to provide users with these key indicators regarding the quality of their school’s graduation and placement rates.
Job Placement Rates
One thing you’ll find regarding job placement rates for certificate programs is they are typically higher than those who attending a traditional school. The main reason for this is you are being trained to do a single job and trained fast to do that job well. Where college is more general you have the advantage of knowing exactly what type of job you want when you graduate and your curriculum is specific to that career. When looking into job placement rates of any school every school is required by law to post that data. The data for your certificate program will tell you what percentage of students not only completed the programs but were employed after graduation. They are also required to show you the debt of those students which will give you an idea of what you’ll still be paying for that program. If you really want to find out if students are getting hired after graduation simply ask the school. An honest school will give you names and phone numbers of graduates that you can talk to. Another great place is on social media. Often graduates follow their school on social media and this gives you an opportunity to talk to grads without being given hand selected names by the school to ask them how they liked the school and if they would recommend it to others.
One of the reasons why we see such a large number of students each year attending school and taking a certificate training program is the wide variety of training options available to them. Many schools offer both a hands-on vocational style certificate program at their campus locations where others have 100% online options allowing those who perhaps live in a more rural area to still be able to attend school. Below are just some of the main subject matters and areas of interests that offer certificate based training.
Art and Design – When looking in to art programs you might think only art students need to apply however this category covers training programs for those seeking employment in dressmaking, fashion design, interior design, jewelry making and even photography. One area often overlooked is that in graphic design. If you have a creative style and love working with computers then check out all the different training options available to you.
Business – If you are looking for a quick training program to earn a certificate in business then look no further than this category when researching schools. Colleges often offer certificate programs in business including those in: accounting, advertising, finance, human resources, hospitality, marketing, real estate and even if you want to become a wedding planner. These programs cover all the different business aspects needed to be successful. Also many of these certificate programs are just a stepping stone for a student and can be applied to credits in order to earn your degree. In business we highly recommend earning a degree over a certificate as more employers will require it.
Computers – One of the great things these days about computers is almost all of the training can now be done 100% online. You don’t need to attend a classroom and finding a school that offers certificate programs in computer topics is easy. You’ll be able to study not only computer fundamentals but more advanced topics including: computer game programming, computer science, database administration, computer networking as well as computer web design. The latest trend is crash courses is computer programming. Schools now offer 6 to 8 week coding programs designed to get you trained in a particular type of computer coding so you can actually have a job before you graduate. These programs can cost up to $15,000 however many claim to have a 98% placement rate with a job after graduation.
Cosmetology Certificates – These days cosmetology is more than just cutting hair. Clients are also more concerned than ever about hair preservation. Many cosmetologists earn their certificate training in a year and become licensed in their state. Often during their training they also learn about makeup and some even get trained to become a nail technician. You can train to become a stylists an actual shop owner or work in the TV and movie industry styling others. The industry is full of jobs and this is why cosmetology is one of our most popular vocational certificate programs requested.
Culinary Arts – Do you love to cook? Interested in getting a job fast after graduation? Look into all the many certificate programs offered in culinary arts. You can not only focus on becoming a chef but also study to get into catering, specialize in baking or even become a sommelier. With so many restaurants and resorts finding a job in this industry is easier than others. One area to consider if you have a business background is restaurant management. This allows you to deal mainly on the business side of the house and not actually become a cook.
Healthcare & Medical – The single largest sector that employs the most and is the most understaffed are those careers in the healthcare/medical industry. Finding a certificate program is healthcare is easy and it seems most schools offer some sort of medical training. The most popular searches we receive come from: dental assisting, healthcare management, nursing, medical billing, massage therapy, pharmacy technician and phlebotomy. All of these areas (expect for nursing) can be completed in less than 18 months. Due to the shortage of many of the jobs, companies are always doing hiring events to fill positions. Be sure to check with the school you want to attend to see what relationships they already have set-up with hiring companies. This will help you get a job quicker upon graduation.
Trade and Vocational Certificate – When it comes to trade schools and vocational training no other type of school does a better job to prepare students for work in usually a hands-on career. Some of the most popular certificate programs in trade include: auto mechanics, electrical, gunsmith, hvac technician, locksmith, plumbing and truck driving (CDL license). These programs are usually 12 month programs with the exception of truck driving which can be less than 30 days. Prices for certificate programs that are vocational based typically run $15,000 a year.