An academic certificate is a document that certifies that a student has reached a standard of knowledge of a certain vocational subject or has passed a test or series of tests. Certificate programs can be completed more quickly than associate's degrees and often do not have general education requirements.
A common misconception is that employers don't value academic certificates. In fact, employers in certain industries see certificates as a valid way for an employee to increase their knowledge or gain a specialization.
If you are considering a pursing certification, it is important to know that there are two types of types of certificate programs. There are Undergraduate and Graduate Certificate Programs. Undergraduate certificate programs, which are designed for students who have a high school diploma or GED, typically provide basic career skills that allow students to obtain entry-level positions within a field. Graduate certificate programs are geared towards students who have already earned a Bachelor's degree or Master's degree. Students considering a graduate certificate program typically do so because they need additional career training in order to earn a promotion, increase their salary potential, or just to stay on top of industry standards and technologies.
If you consider pursuing an undergradutate certificate and think that you may want to pursue an Associate, Bachelor's or Master's degree down the road, it is important to know that credits earned in a certifacte program may not transfer. In this case, be sure to find a program that allows you to earn academic credit.
Career training and continuing education is highly valued in the work place today. While there are certificate programs in just about every industry, the most popular industries in which students pursue certificates are business, healthcare and technology.