Online Certificate Programs Offer a Fast Track to a New Career

Online certificates offer an inexpensive route to learn new skills quickly.

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In the early days, this certificate was popular in the engineering and information technology fields, but now students from almost every kind of business—including pharmaceutical, finance, public management, and retail—earn this certificate. There are no prerequisites for admission to the certificate program, but a bachelor's degree is recommended.

"People have come to understand that project management is a key competency that will improve implementation in any new effort," Lemon says. 

[Find out about online master's degrees in project management.]

Within the healthcare field, the certificate in medical billing and coding has been popular recently, Hartman says. The interest in this certificate is directly related to the changes occurring within national healthcare and the aging of the baby boom generation, he says.

"There is a huge demand for medical billing and records administrators, which this certificate prepares you for," he says.

The only educational prerequisite is a high school diploma, Hartman says. The academic credit earned from the certificate can also be applied toward the completion of a bachelor's of science in health services administration. Since no prior education in healthcare is required, this certificate is appropriate for a person just entering the workforce or someone switching from a nonmedical career. 

Corliss Ford was looking to advance in the nursing field. With the help of a certificate in forensic nursing from Kaplan Continuing Education, she landed a job as the director of nursing with a home healthcare company in Phoenix.

After completing this certificate, she went on to earn a bachelor's of science in nursing from Kaplan University and is currently pursuing a master's of science in forensic psychology from Walden University.

"The certificate definitely was one of the reasons I got this position, and for me that was a big step in my career and a big pay raise," she says. 

In the education field, a post-bachelor's teaching certificate is another certificate program experiencing increased enrollment. It gives a person with a bachelor's degree a fast route to a new career, Hartman says.

"This certificate program offers a quick way to complete the requirements necessary to get into the classroom and begin to teach children," he says.

Drexel University Online's post-bachelor's teaching certificate is recognized by Pennsylvania and by most other states, he says.