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Online Certificate & Diploma Programs

Online certificate programs provide focused education in a concise way. Certificates could show that you know a lot about a certain topic. You might be able to earn them a little more quickly. And since the programs are online, they could even fit into your day-to-day life! That means you could study when and where works for you. You could also choose to earn a certificate in a lot of different fields. In other words, you could study what you want, in a way that works in your life.

What Is An Online Certificate Program?

Online certificate programs are not like degrees or a diplomas. If you learn the ways they might vary, you could find the one that works for you. Here’s a brief guide to some terms you might come across.

Certificate vs. Degree

One of the big things to keep in mind is that certificates are not degrees. For one, degrees tend to require more courses. Because there are fewer classes, some certificates may focus on a specific subject. Degree programs may be able to cover a little more material, because they have more time to do it.

Certificate vs. Diploma

Diplomas and certificates have a few things in common. Both are non-degree options. You might earn both of them with fewer classes. Also, they might focus on one subject or skill. Diploma programs generally aim to prepare students for a specific type of job. Online certificates might do that, too. They might also opt to build on existing knowledge. Certificates, unlike diplomas, might be offered at both the undergrad and graduate levels.

Certificate vs. Certification

While these terms sound similar, they are two different things. A school might award a certificate once a student has completed a course program. Organizations usually issue certifications after people complete the requirements. Those could be things like course hours, working, and passing an exam with a certain score. In some fields, you might need to become certified to find employment. You might also need to pursue continuing education to keep the certification.

Credit Certificates vs. Non-Credit Certificates

Depending on what you’re looking for in a program, this could be a big factor. Basically, in credit certificate programs, the courses are worth college credits. Those credits might be able to be transferred toward a degree program later. That could depend on how well the programs work together, though, so make sure you ask about that if you're interested. Non-credit means the classes don't include college credits. Those would not apply toward a degree later. However, they might still count as CEUs (continuing education units). Those can help you maintain some certifications.

Why Enroll in Online Certificate Programs?

Online certificate programs could be a good choice for a few reasons. First is value. Because these programs tend to be short, they could be finished in less time, with fewer courses. That means you could earn a certificate more quickly. And if you want it earn a degree later, you might choose one that could transfer, making that a little easier later on, too.

Second, certificate programs tend to focus on specific skills and subjects. So you could study the things you need to study, and hone the skills you want. And you could do it without having to take extra courses. And if you want something that’s a little more broad? That could be an option, too. Some online certificate programs cover the basics in a given field. That might help you build a strong foundation for success.

Online Certificate Program Types

Online certificate programs may be offered in all different ways. That means there could be one out there that matches what you’re looking for. This includes ones aimed at both undergrad and graduate students. Undergrad certificates could be an option if you haven’t been to college before. Those might include associate and bachelors certificates. Online graduate certificate programs, meanwhile, may include programs at the masters or PhD level. For those, you’d need to have earned a certain degree already to apply.

Online Certificate Programs: Potential Subjects

Certificates could talk about a lot of different of subjects. That means there might be one for every interest. Some of the things you might consider include the ones listed below.

  • Online Business Certificates: This could include a variety of topics. Examples include healthcare administration, accounting, marketing, human resources, leadership, and even office management.
  • Online Criminal Justice & Legal Certificates: Passionate about the legal system or politics? Or is it something you deal with on the job every day? Either way, online legal certificates could be for you. This could include paralegal studies, homeland security, law enforcement, and more. It could also cover things like contract writing and current law and policy issues.
  • Online Education Certificates: Education certificates aim to train you to help kids. Many education certificates aim to support certified teachers. However, some certificates could instead focus on child-care. Those classes might be open to people who aren't already teachers.
  • Online Fine Arts & Design Certificates: These programs may hone creative skills. Programs might talk about studio art, graphic design, or even web design. Whatever kind of art you love, online certificate programs most likely will cover it. And you could study online, while still working on your portfolio.
  • Liberal Arts & Humanities Certificates: This could cover a wide array of subject areas. But each one aims to understand the world through its own unique lens. Some of these might include cultural studies, language, literature, communication, and more.
  • Medical Certificate Programs: This could include all different options. Examples range from medical billing and coding, nutrition, medical assisting, or lab sciences. Some could be hands-on, if you'd like to get your hands dirty. Others might be more administrative. So whichever side of the medical field you might like, you could find a program that works for you.
  • Online Math, Science, & Engineering Certificates: STEM skills could be valuable in many fields. Online math, science, and engineering certificates could help build on those skills. This could include math, biology, biomedical science, or engineering.
  • Online Public Affairs & Social Sciences Certificates: Love helping people? This could be a subject for you. Some programs might look at how society works. Others might look at how groups work. Still more might focus on how people behave, or how you can help them to thrive. These programs might also look at what it's like to work in the public sector.
  • Online Religious Studies Certificates: This topic could look at religion from a scholarly lens. It might also touch on how to provide faith ministry. You might choose to learn about theology, ministry, Christian counseling, and Biblical studies.
  • Online Technology Certificates: Technology is a big part of today’s world. Earning a technology certificate online could help you show your tech skills. You might choose from computer science, IT, security, software development, web design, and more.

Start Your Search for Online Certificate Programs

If you’re ready to find online certificate programs, you could get started right here. eLearners has some options for you to think about. Narrow down your options using the menu. Just choose the subject area you want. Then read the programs that match, and click on “Request Info” to learn more about the ones you like!

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