Certificates : A Fast Track to Careers (bls.gov)

No time or money to earn a college degree?

No problem. An educational certificate may be a good option, but do your homework first. That way, you’ll know if a certificate is the best choice for you. Certificates are nondegree awards for completing an educational program of study after high school. Typically, students finish these programs to prepare for a specific occupation. And they do so in a relatively short period of time: Most certificates take less than a year to complete, and almost all are designed to take less than 2 years. Among the questions about certificates that you’ll need to have answered are the following:

  • What occupations can certificates
    prepare me for?
  • What are some benefits and drawbacks to getting a certificate?
  • How can I find a program that’s right for me?

This article answers these and other questions about certificates and certificate programs. The first section of the article describes certificates and some of the occupations that require them. The second section explains some potential benefits and drawbacks to these educational awards. The third section offers advice on evaluating certificate programs. The final section provides additional sources of information.

Occupations and Certificates

Certificates are one of the most popular types of post-secondary education awards. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2010–11, U.S. schools awarded more than 1 million certificates—more than the number of associate’s (942,000), master’s (731,000), or doctoral degrees (164,000). About 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees were awarded in that same year. Certificates and certificate programs differ in many ways. Read more here…

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Source: https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2012/winter/art01.pdf