5 Online Certificates Programs You Can Earn to Advance your Career

Online certificate programs are a great option for professionals looking to gain an extra leg up in their industry or to change career paths. From accounting to IT, to human resources and safety, earning a certificate from online certificate programs can help you to advance your career and also pad your paycheck. Most students earn their online certificate programs in a year or two for a few thousand dollars in tuition expenses.

An illustration of a student with a certificate.

Why Choose Online Certificate Programs?

It is no secret that more education or training often leads to better employment opportunities. During the recession, when unemployment numbers were skyrocketing, more education was often the difference between getting a job and being passed over.

But going back to school or going to school in the first place isn’t always an option. It’s expensive and time-consuming, and choosing to go to college is a big commitment. Luckily, these online certificate programs are an option for people looking to advance their careers by gaining more education.

So here are some programs to help you advance your career:

1. Accounting Certificate

If numbers come easily to you and you have a mind for money, accounting is a great field for you. Accountants help people, businesses, and organizations. They help make sense of finances, file taxes, and complete analysis of financial and business records. There are lots of different degree options for accountants but the certification that can really help you to take your career tot he next level is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.

CPAs must complete 150 credit hours and pass a certification exam before they can receive their certification. A traditional bachelor’s degree is 120 hours. For a simple 30 extra hours, interested students can receive their CPAs and also earn a significantly higher wage.

2. Information Technology (IT) Certificate

Information Technology (IT), is an incredibly large field that encompasses everything from software engineering to computer networking. The IT field is growing at an amazing rate and there are tons of job options for qualified candidates. With such a large and competitive field, a certification is a great way to get a leg up on the competition.

Most certifications in IT are based on learning a particular program, software, or protocol. Certifications are also often offered by technology companies themselves (e.g., Microsoft). These programs teach students how to install, use, and maintain their programs. Other programs are focused more on the development aspects of IT such as coding, scripting, and building of programs or websites.

Generally, IT certifications do not require any previous college courses. That means that they are a perfect option for students that are just starting out, or professionals looking to change careers or move up in the IT field.

3. Human Resources (HR) Certificate

Certifications in the Human Resources (HR) field allow professionals the chance to enhance their resumes and also strengthen their position with in the field. Students of HR certificate programs take classes focused on employee/company relations, conflict management, organizational behavior and strategies, and development.

As with IT certifications, HR certifications also generally do not require previous college courses.

4. Medical Billing or Coding Certificate

A medical billing or coding certification can open the door to many different careers in the healthcare system. Unlike nursing, medical billing or coding is a field that has limited patient interaction. Professionals in the field are involved more in the behind the scenes aspects of the hospital they work in, and work closely with insurance companies and other medical professionals.

Courses in medical billing and coding cover all of the basics that you will need to succeed in the field. They also do not require previous college experience and take roughly a year to complete. For those who already have a billing or coding certificate, obtaining a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification can help to give you a competitive edge.

5. Project Management Certificate

A project management certificate is a great base certificate that can be applied to multiple different fields. Courses cover topics that provide you with valuable skills like time management, communication, risk assessment, and also cost estimation and management. With such a broad base of learning, a project management certificate is available to absolutely anyone. That includes those with or without prior college credit.

Whether you are in business, non-profit management, or a technical trade like plumbing, a project management certificate will help you to advance your career.