Find Your Perfect School
Certificates are non-degree awards that can open career opportunities in diverse fields from healthcare and education to information technology. These are designed for individuals who have little time and money to earn a college degree but want to enter the workforce with competitive training.
These are also among the fastest education achievements to earn, with most programs designed for completion in less than a year!
Data from the NCES or the National Center for Education Statistics reveal that schools in the United States awarded more certificates than associate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Such popularity isn’t surprising considering that many well-paying jobs only require certificates for entry, among other benefits.
We feature occupations that only require certificate-level training for entry-level jobs. The featured schools offer among the fastest online certificate programs for these occupations, too. When we say “fastest,” we mean programs that can be completed in 12 months or less; many of them can be finished within 3 to 4 months, to boot.
The fastest online certificate programs were chosen based on the following criteria:
- These are offered either 100% online or as a hybrid program, combining online classes and on-campus sessions. The on-campus sessions are usually for orientation, internships, and other relevant activities, but these sessions are still convenient for working professionals. The classes may be on a synchronous or asynchronous basis, with the schedules typically favoring non-traditional students.
- The programs must be accredited by either a national or regional accrediting agency. Accreditation is a must when choosing certificate programs since it means you’re getting quality instruction that complies with educational standards. The quality of instruction for online and on-campus programs must be the same, too.
- These have online learning management software (LMS) compatible with current computer specifications. The LMS should also allow online students to access their learning materials, submit their assignments, and interact with faculty and students.
- The members of the faculty are available for consultations and other relevant activities. The schools must provide satisfactory student support services and technical assistance.
We also looked into the affordability of the programs and their acceptance, retention, and graduation rates. These are important factors in considering the suitability of certificate programs for contemporary students.
Take note, too, that a few graduate certificate programs require a bachelor’s or master’s degree for admission on this list. However, most are undergraduate certificate programs with only a high school diploma or equivalent as an admission requirement.
20 Fastest Online Certificate Degrees
Architectural and Civil Drafting
A solid background in computer-assisted design and drafting (CADD) combined with manual drafting and mechanical drawing skills are a must for architectural and civil drafters. Employers also prefer knowledge of drafting standards, engineering technology, and science and math.
Certificate programs for the occupation emphasize the drafting of plans for residential and commercial structures. Since these last for a year or less, there’s more focus on technical skills than general education. Students benefit from the asynchronous format but can be required to attend synchronous sessions and possess AutoCAD software.
Most programs need only a high school diploma or its equivalent, with or without related work experience. However, a professional interest is strongly recommended since architectural and civil drafting is a challenging occupation.
While certification isn’t required, it’s a preferred accomplishment. You may or may not opt to sit for the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) certification exam.
2101 15th Ave NW, Willmar, MN 56201
Ridgewater’s fully online CADD program has two start dates – fall and spring – but it’s best to enroll as early as possible. Students earn 29 credits after program completion and learn skills necessary for their success as professional drafters. These skills include ASME standard practices, basic and advanced drafting design, and manufacturing processes.
Students will also become proficient in using related software, such as AutoCAD, Creo, and Mastercam 3D machining software. Their training will result in marketable skills that provide them with a competitive edge in diverse industries, from 3D printing to civil works.
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
You will enjoy the benefits of quality education delivered by experienced instructors with above-par expertise in drafting methods and related software. Your instructors will also record their interactive lectures and demonstrations for your future reference.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
900 Hwy 34 E, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
The 36-credit certificate program prepares students for gainful employment as architectural drafters in architecture and engineering firms, general contractors, and construction companies. Their technical training emphasizes residential and commercial building technology as it relates to modern drafting.
But technical training isn’t all there is to the program! Students are also trained in professional communication, behavior, ethics, and design concepts’ creation and presentation. Their instructors ensure that, indeed, they will become productive and valuable drafters shortly.
The college has an advisory board on the certificate program that reviews its curriculum and course content. You are then assured that the knowledge and skills you will learn are in-demand skill sets.
Ordained church leaders and laypeople enroll in certificate programs in Biblical studies, which are available on the undergraduate and graduate levels, to increase their knowledge. Take note that completion doesn’t usually result in clerical status and licensure. Most programs focus on providing students with a deeper understanding of the Bible, including its history, interpretation, and future direction.
While the title, curriculum, and courses vary between schools, there are common requirements and courses. Students must have a computer with a stable Internet connection on which to download the program’s LMS. The courses can include Christian ministry, Old Testament and New Testament studies, and Biblical theology.
Many programs don’t have a final exam, but students are encouraged to undertake independent study. Bible study classes may or may not be part of the curriculum.
1500 Peachtree Street, Box #153, Jackson, MS 39202
The 18-credit program attracts individuals who want a more critical look at the Bible as a way of gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for it. Students learn the skills to prepare them for a life of ministry, perhaps a teaching career in the ministry. The program’s emphases are on the history of Israel, the study of the Bible, and the role of ministry in the Christian faith.
There are seven courses in the 100% online program, and these include Biblical Interpretation, The Life and Teachings of Jesus, and Hebrews to Revelation. Students learn from instructors with a deep faith in Jesus Christ and its role in contemporary society.
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
The 7-week courses are offered year-round, and these are offered in small class sizes. Classes are also imbued with a strong Christian perspective.
Moody Bible Institute
820 N. LaSalle Blvd., Chicago, IL 60610
Students earn 26 credits in the 100% online Certificate in Biblical Studies program from the prestigious Moody Bible Institute. The eight courses focus on reading and interpreting the Old and New Testaments and their theology. The interpretations of the books of Isaiah and Romans for teaching purposes are also included in the curriculum.
Students become well-versed in practical knowledge about Biblical doctrines, evangelism, and discipleship at the end of the program. Their training transforms them from casual Bible readers to more emphatic and knowledgeable Bible believers.
The institute is among the well-known institutions dedicated to training individuals for full-time ministry. You will be under the guidance of expert instructors committed to quality education in the Christian ministry. You may also apply the credits earned toward an associate or bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies.
The great thing about bookkeeping certificate programs is their short duration – most can be completed in three to six months! Applicants only need to present their high school diploma or equivalent to become eligible for admission, too. The rewards of completion are aplenty, too, including good salaries and career advancement, as well as the opportunity to translate it into a degree.
Like other certificate programs, these can result in eligibility to sit for a certified bookkeeper certification exam. While certification isn’t required to become a practicing bookkeeper, it’s a recommended qualification. The certificate-level training combined with at least two years of relevant work experience is necessary for certification.
Several organizations currently offer bookkeeper certification, including the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). Interested individuals may also consider bookkeeper specialization programs offered by colleges and universities, but these confer no titles.
Naugatuck Valley Community College
750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT 06708
The NVCC Bookkeeper Certificate program is a non-credit program designed for quick turnaround and offered on a rolling admissions basis. Students are ready for bookkeeping jobs within six months, aside from being ready for the AIPB certification exam. Thus institution encourages students to take the exam soon after their graduation for a higher chance of success.
The program consists of four courses:
- Bookkeeping Practices
- Correcting and Adjusting Entries
- Inventory/Internal Controls and Fraud Prevention
Students who complete all four courses are awarded the certificate. Keep in mind that this is a study-intensive program due to the program’s short duration and the extensive nature of the topics.
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
The four-month program involves online classes with a few on-campus requirements, so you will find it convenient. You will also learn the vital skillset to enter an in-demand occupation.
Northcentral Technical College
1000 W. Campus Dr., Wausau, WI 54401
Students only need to earn 15 credits in this Bookkeeping Technology certificate program! The flexible, self-paced classes have the vibe of an accounting boot camp, and, thus, students acquire vital skills in a competitive environment. The asynchronous delivery, nonetheless, appeals to non-traditional students, including working adults.
The courses include payroll accounting and introduction to business and spreadsheets, QuickBooks, and other relevant software. Students learn through academic coursework hands-on projects, and digital lab sessions. There’s even a 10-key by-touch class that enables students to attain 8,000 keystrokes/hour speeds.
If you’re looking for entry-level bookkeeping skills suitable for entry-level jobs, then this certificate program is for you! You will have a competitive edge for bookkeeping jobs, particularly those that involve payrolls, payables, and receivables.
Certificate programs in Christian ministry are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels, aside from being offered in private secular and Christian schools. The level of training varies depending on whether it’s at the undergraduate or graduate level, but common threads run through these programs.
These include Christian history, traditions, and methodology that prepare students for a life in ministry, whether as ordained clergy or as laypeople.
Many certificate programs are 100% online. But there are also low-residency programs wherein students must attend short-term, on-campus residency periodically. Most of these programs have a one-year or less time commitment depending on their focus.
For example, programs designed for ordained clergy emphasize contemporary evangelism and Bible studies. For programs geared toward community ministries, the emphasis is on family and individual counseling, community work, and recovery programs.
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, VA 24515
Liberty’s Christian Ministry Certificate program involves completing 20 credits, which can be completed in six months. The eight-week courses are delivered completely online, and students can request transfer of credits up to 75% of the certificate total. Students can gain a new and deeper understanding of the Christian religion, including its theology and doctrine.
There are six foundational courses in youth ministries, evangelism, and church ministries designed to equip students with strong ministerial skills. The focus leans more toward practical skills instead of theoretical perspectives, and it has been proven useful in contemporary ministry.
You will have a myriad of opportunities to grow as an aspiring Christian minister in this fast-track program. You will learn under the guidance of real-life missionaries, church administrators, and pastors. Your training will strengthen your aspirations to become a champion for Christ, too.
City Vision University
1100 E.11th St., Kansas City, Missouri 64106
The Certificate in Christian Ministry can be earned in eight months if you’re a full-time student. The 12-credit program is 100% online with eight-week courses, as well as features affordable tuition. Students can also request for transfer of credits up to 75% of the total certificate requirement.
The courses include:
- Introduction to Nonprofit & Ministry Management
- Biblical Theology
- Christian Community Development and the Social Justice Tradition
- Vocation, Calling & Purpose of Work
Students are trained for ministry duties in non-profit organizations, ministries, and churches, even the military.
The requirements for student admission include a high school diploma or GED and standardized test scores. The flexible admission process attracts diverse populations to the program, too.
Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
The university’s non-profit focus means reasonable tuition, quality instruction, and experienced faculty members. You will gain practical skills that can be readily applied to real-life situations.
Students in computer programming classes learn the basic tools and technologies related to website development, software engineering, or database management. The short-term duration covers various topics, including programming languages, data structures, security, and web development. With information technology and computers evolving rapidly, students must also be on their toes for recent trends.
The career opportunities are aplenty, too, as computer programming skills have high demand across diverse industries in public and private spheres. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer programmers earn $97,800 in median annual wage (2022).
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021
As an active part of the Technical College System of Georgia, GPTC offers its Java Programmer Technical Certificate program to interested individuals across the State. The 22-credit program is completely online and requires students to have the required computer setup with suitable software. The obvious emphasis is on acquiring the Java program language skillset, which will complement other programming skills.
The courses include:
- Introduction to Oracle Databases
- Program Design and Development
- CIST 2371 Java Programming I and II
- Elective (Computer Concepts, Visual Basic I, or Mobile Application Development I)
The courses should be taken in sequential order, too.
You will become skilled in Java and C# programming languages and web development, Oracle databases, and systems analysis. Such well-rounded training means getting more job opportunities and learning more on the job.
Lansing Community College
419 N. Capitol Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933
The large public community college offers a world-class online Computer Programmer/Analyst certificate program that serves as a starting point for aspiring professionals. Academic advisors guide students in completing the 19-credit program based on their schedules and aspirations.
Applicants must provide their high school transcripts or GED and standardized test scores and submit a completed admission application. Students must have basic computer skills or must enroll in an introductory course before applying to the program.
Courses include Java, C#.NET, and VB.NET programming and computer information systems, Internet literacy, and SQL concepts.
Your computer programming/analyst training will open doors of opportunities that may not have been possible with only a high school diploma. Plus, you can transfer the credits earned toward an associate or bachelor’s degree in the same field.
Certificate programs for aspiring court reporters have academic coursework and internship training. The academic coursework includes fundamentals of court reporting, legal and medical terminology, and machine shorthand. There are also classes on reporting technology, clinical reporting, and real-time reporting techniques.
Due to the nature of the occupation, students must also develop their skills in listening and recording information quickly yet accurately. Their skills will be tested in real-life situations through the internship aspect of their training.
Graduates find entry-level work as court reporters or transcribers in law firms, broadcasting companies, and government agencies, even in courts with suitable work experience. The certification is issued upon passing the certification exam administered by organizations like the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).
Alfred State College
10 Upper College Dr, Alfred, NY 14802
The NCRA-certified program welcomes individuals interested in careers as court reporters, captioners, and transcribers in diverse industries. Students learn high-speed recording skills, as well as the use of computer-aided transcription technology and machine shorthand.
The 42-credit program may take two years to complete. But its online format allows non-traditional students, such as working adults, individuals unable to attend on-campus programs, and single parents, the opportunity to learn at their own pace. Students can also transfer previously earned credits to the program and, thus, shorten their study time.
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education or MSCHE
You can schedule your classwork based on your family and work commitments, while asynchronous delivery means you can log in at any time, anywhere. Your training is the same one provided to on-campus students since you have the same instructors, too.
1830 W. Romneya Drive, Anaheim, CA 92801-1819
Cypress College, part of the California Community Colleges System and the North Orange County Community College District, offers a respectable Court Reporting Certificate program. Graduates can sit for the Court Reporter’s Board exam. But first, students must complete the required courses with at least a “C” grade and at least 20% of coursework completed at the college.
Students earn between 20 and 21 credits depending on their chosen pathway. The courses include:
- Court/Conference Reporting: Medical
- Court/Conference Reporting: Congressional
- Court and Deposition Procedures
- Computer-Aided Transcription – Stenograph
Every student must provide his/her machine and paper for the entirety of the program.
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
You can sit for the court certification exam, a preferred professional qualification that can boost your employment opportunities. You will be well-prepared for it, too, thanks to the quality instruction.
Students in dental assistant certificate programs acquire practical skills to perform chairside assistant functions in dental clinics and other related settings.
The coursework can be challenging because of the wide range of topics covered, from basic dental support services to office duties. The combination of theoretical and practical lessons also prepares students for certification exams and real-world work.
The common courses include:
- Dental fundamentals and terminology
- Dental materials and tools
- Chairside assisting principles
- Oral anatomy
- Oral radiology and pharmacology
- Dental office management
Most programs have a one-year completion rate, and, thus, students must comply with requirements promptly and properly. After graduation, you can sit for a dental assistant certification exam administered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The certification is proof that you’re competent to perform duties related to a dental assistantship.
Kennesaw State University
3333 Busbee Drive, #3301, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144
Applicants to KSU’s Clinical Dental Assistant Certificate program must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, as well as basic computer skills. No medical or dental office work experience is required, and a current CPR certification is preferred but not required.
Students learn the skillsets necessary to become productive dental assistants shortly. The coursework includes preventive dentistry, dental procedures, anatomy and physiology, and patient care and communication. Graduates can sit for the Dental Assisting National Board exam’s radiology and infection control portions.
The target completion time is 180 days, and a student must earn at least 70 as a final grade to be considered for completion.
This is among the best dental assistant programs in the state, thanks to its high graduation and passing rates in certification exams! Graduates are known to become successful in the occupation because of the KSU reputation and quality of instruction.
2500 North Robison Road, Texarkana, Texas 75599
For affordable tuition, Texarkana’s Dental Assistant Certificate program students gain full access to the learning materials for six months. The self-paced learning style allows students to master the basics of clinical and administrative functions as dental assistants. The mix of theory and practice results in a well-rounded education that employers prefer in their dental assistants, too.
The coursework includes:
- Introduction to dental operatory, equipment, and procedures
- Legal aspects of dentistry
- Tooth structures and their functions
- Sterilization and other operational aspects
- Administration policies and practices in dental clinics
Students enjoy 24/7 course mentoring and sufficient instructor support, access to animated simulations and other course videos, and career guidance. Externships are required on some courses.
You will benefit from the interactive learning modules, exceptional student support services, and lab access. You can also sit for the DANB certification exam’s Radiation Health and Safety and Infection Control exams.
Early Childhood Education
Individuals who seek to become early childhood educators are well-advised to enroll in early childhood education certificate programs. Undergraduate programs are available – and more common, too – but graduate programs require at least a bachelor’s degree for admission. Specializations, such as pre-school or elementary school, are also offered.
Most of these programs have a one-year or less completion period, so it’s possible to snag employment in the education sector in less than two years. The best jobs are typically open for individuals with state-level ECE certification.
These include jobs in childcare centers, private and public pre-schools and elementary schools, and churches. Certified early childhood educators can also find jobs as personal caregivers, home-based childcare providers, and in-home tutors.
Curriculum and course content varies, but these programs feature common courses like child development, bilingual learning techniques, literacy, and numeracy development.
11255 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037
The graduate Early Childhood Credential program requires students to complete 18 quarter units or four courses that meet National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards. These courses focus on the following aspects:
- Professional growth
- Promotion of child development and learning
- Building community and family relationships
- Teaching and learning
These are designed according to the NAEYC Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs. Students are then equipped with skill sets that employers look for in early childhood educators and practitioners.
NU believes in the benefits of small class sizes, usually 20 or fewer students, even for its online programs. Instructor feedback, student interactions, and easy access to learning materials are then guaranteed.
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
Upon completion, you can meet the requirements set by the State of California Child Development Permit Matrix for pre-school teachers. But remember that it doesn’t result in a teaching license or credential. Think of this certificate degree as a stepping stone toward greater things in your education career.
5051 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200, Norcross, Georgia 30092
Individuals who want to earn the required 120 hours of professional education for their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential can consider this program. The earned credits can also be applied toward an associate degree in a related field.
The intensive coursework covers everything necessary to work with children in an early childhood education setting. The diverse courses include health, safety, and nutrition among children, curriculum development, literacy, and numeracy development.
This is a one-semester or six-month program that can be taken anywhere due to its 100% online delivery. But students must complete the requirements within one year from the enrollment date.
Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission
Aside from the short duration, the program is affordable with easy installment plans. You can also schedule your classes based on your personal and professional commitments.
Electronics Engineering Technician
Becoming an electronics engineering technician can start with the completion of an accredited one-year certificate program. Since it doesn’t have general education courses, students have an easier time in their studies. Instead, the emphasis is on practical knowledge and skills that translate to readily marketable skillsets.
Courses vary, but students typically study industrial controls, circuit components, and transformers, which involved both theory and applications. Many programs also encourage students to work as teams on engineering projects that combine statistics, chemistry, and physics.
While the curriculum can be challenging due to the STEAM focus, the rewards are aplenty. The median wage for electronics engineering technicians is $66,390 per year in 2022. Career advancement is possible with a more advanced degree, such as an associate degree, combined with relevant work experience.
Grand Rapids Community College
143 Bostwick Avenue N.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-3295
The 20-credit Electronics Engineering Technology certificate program takes the cake for being one of the fastest online programs in this area. The courses include:
- Technical Electronics
- Introduction to Digital Logic
- Microprocessor Applications
- Electronics Mathematics
All credits can be transferred to the AAAS Electronics Engineering Technology degree program at GRCC, too. Students learn from experienced instructors, many of which have advanced degrees in electronics engineering technology.
You can customize your learning experience in many ways, from being a part-time or full-time student to learning online or through community-based experiential learning.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
839 Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01854
Umass Lowell’s Electronic Engineering Technology Certificate Program is an introductory program for students with a high school diploma or equivalent. Students earn 16 credits through six courses, namely:
- Calculus A
- Electric Circuits I
- Circuits II and Laboratory
- Circuits III and Laboratory
- Circuits IV
These courses cover comprehensive topics, including AC/DC mathematical analysis, passive filters, and transformers. Students learn skillsets suitable for diverse employment opportunities, from telecommunications to semiconductors.
You will be considered a graduate of one of the best universities in Massachusetts, and it counts for something! You can also proceed to an associate or bachelor’s degree program with the credits earned in the certificate program. You can complete the program within a few months, too.
Emergency Medical Technician
Certificate programs for emergency medical technicians (EMT) equip students with basic medical skills for patient care in the field. These foundational skills include first aid measures, CPR administration, and external bleeding management. Due to the variety of situations in the field, students also learn people skills.
EMTs work for hospitals, ambulance services, and police and fire departments. Such is the life-and-death decisions EMTs must make that their certificate-level training may only take one year but can be intense. Their training lasts for 120 to 150 hours before obtaining certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam.
The median wage for EMTs in 2022 was $39,410 per year, but career advancement opportunities abound. The opportunity to save lives is also part of the appeal.
UCLA Center for Hospice Care
1083 Gayley Ave. Floor 3, Los Angeles, CA 90024
This is a 10-week course that welcomes individuals interested in top-notch EMT training from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), among the best universities in the country. The flexible schedule is complemented by on-site skills lab training, self-paced study, and interactive assignments. Students must attend at least a lecture every week online, although all lectures are recorded for future reference.
While the EMT Prep course isn’t required for admission, applicants should consider it. The courses on human anatomy, medical terminology, and physiology can be difficult without proper preparation.
Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
You can apply for the National Registry Exam (NREMT) certifying test and pass it, too, considering the top-notch training. According to UCLA, the program had an impressive 96% first attempt pass rate in 2020.
Crafton Hills College
11711 Sand Canyon Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
Students of Crafton’s EMT certificate program get training that meets the California Code of Regulations requirements for the occupation. The 10.5-credit program includes the following courses:
- Preventing Disease Transmission
- Basic Life Support
- Hazardous Materials First Responder Awareness
- Customer Service and Professionalism
- Electronic Patient Care Reporting
Applicants must show proof of a clear criminal background check before being considered for admission. There are also age and physical requirements, and not all eligible applicants will be admitted.
Graduate outcomes include evaluation, treatment, and transportation of the injured and ill; administration and monitoring of medications; and basic competency in medical emergencies.
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
You are well-prepared to pass the National Registry examinations once you complete the program, the first step toward state certification. You may, however, skip the certification exam and find viable employment first.
A dog grooming certificate can pave the way toward a successful career as a dog groomer, a well-paying job that involves salaries, commissions, and tips. Online dog grooming certificate programs provide an excellent combination of theoretical foundation and practical experience. Once you complete the program, your career opportunities are aplenty since you can become a salaried employee or an entrepreneur.
Establishing a dog grooming business even when you don’t have pre-certificate work experience is possible! You can start with family and friends as your first clients and then build your business with savvy marketing techniques. Your certificate-level training will be sufficient in ensuring quality services will be provided to clients and their dogs.
925 Oak Street, Scranton, PA 18515 USA
Peen Foster is well-known for its range of exceptional online certificate programs for individuals who want to launch technical or vocational careers. Among its popular programs is the Pet and Dog Grooming Certificate program that attracts hardworking individuals in the pet-related business. Many graduates have established successful careers as pet groomers in vet clinics and grooming salons; many others have started their businesses.
With the institute’s DEAC accreditation, students assure that its pet grooming certificate program complies with, even exceeds, standards. This is crucial since there are legal aspects to pet groomers’ services, such as pet care liability issues. The more skilled you are at the job, the lesser your risks for liabilities.
Penn Foster’s program features mobile-friendly coursework, informative video courses, and visual simulations that guarantee your learning anytime, anywhere. There are also goal-setting and progress-tracking tools that keep your studies on the right track. Suffice it to say that you have excellent student support services at your fingertips!
Why settle for a fly-by-night program when you can enjoy the benefits of training from a nationally accredited program? This is exactly why Penn Foster is the best school for a pet grooming certificate. You will also appreciate that 100% of your training is online and on a self-paced basis, not to mention that you will get job placement assistance.
Animal Behavior College
27509 Avenue Hopkins, First Floor, Valencia CA 91355-3910
Due to its exclusive focus on animal care-related courses, Animal Behavior College’s Dog Grooming Training Course is among the best programs. Students get comprehensive training on pet grooming with in-depth discussions on grooming tools, pet care, health and safety, and grooming techniques. Alumni can also access short-term programs to supplement and improve their existing skills and, thus, become better professionals.
This program takes 12 months or less, although students have up to 18 months to finish it. Students are advised to spend at least one hour per day, or seven to 10 hours per week, on their studies. The externship can last between four and seven months, the actual duration of which will depend on you and your mentor’s preference.
Aside from the hands-on training, students also get a 40-piece grooming toolkit, pet first aid and CPR certification, and study materials and uniforms.
Accreditation: International Association for Continuing Education and Training
Your skillset will be exceptional because of the online coursework and 150-hour externship. You will also become a certified pet groomer, a qualification that pet owners look for.
Fire Service Technology
The typical admission requirements of fire technology and related programs include a high school diploma, recent physical exam, and up-to-date immunization.
Many programs may also require industry-specific qualifications for admission purposes, as is the case for graduate certificate programs. These credentials can include EMT-Basic or EMT-Paramedic certification since life-saving measures can be required in fire-related situations.
Specializations may also be offered in fire services technology certificate programs, such as fire inspector, fire officer, and fire investigator. But there are common courses in these specializations, including fire control, fire protection equipment, and fire rescue. Incident management, life safety, and leadership skills are also discussed in depth.
Fire service administration is a related professional credential, but its focus is on personnel relations, human resource management, and public education. Students learn about the business of fire services, too, such as financial systems, business law, and media damage control.
Texas A&M Extension Services
200 Technology Way, College Station, Texas 77845-3424
The Online Firefighting Recruit Academy provides hands-on training for aspiring firefighters who don’t have the time for traditional face-to-face training. The program consists of two parts, which students must complete to be eligible for the certification exam:
- The 10-week online portion involves the use of a home computer, online supplemental material, and textbook. Students must participate in activities including threaded discussions, reading assignments, and module quizzes. There’s an online final exam, too.
- The 3-week face-to-face portion is a boot camp consisting of classroom and hands-on field training at the TEEX Brayton Fire Training Field. This portion must be completed within six months after the completion of the online portion.
The instructors are among the best practitioners in the state with their state and national certifications mixed with years of firefighting experience.
The Academy meets state and industry requirements, as well as provides exceptional training for students. Facilities include training rooms, virtual skills training, live chat capabilities, and instructor feedback. You’re getting the best firefighting training at your own pace and time, too.
Mt. San Antonio College
1100 N. Grand Ave., Walnut, CA 91789
Mt. SAC is a nationally-ranked community college that provides quality instruction and academic prestige with reasonable tuition. The Fire Technology Certificate program is popular for these reasons, and it’s an excellent entry-level credential, too.
Students earn 24 units spread over eight courses that introduce them to the field of fire science. The eight courses consist of two basic fire technology classes: the basic fire academy and six mandatory classes. The latter can be taken completely online, too.
Credentialed instructors conduct all classes with years of experience in the field. These are also the most affordable courses with less than $50 per unit as tuition, not to mention that financial aid is available.
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges or ACCJC of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
This is the community college that made it to big-time with recognitions like the best vocational and trade college in the State of California! Your chance at the best entry-level jobs in the firefighting field is better because of its prestige.
Graduate certificate programs in funeral directing take just a few months to complete, and the rewards can be satisfying. These programs provide students with a comprehensive overview of the vital knowledge and practical skills for professional employment. However, many establish their funeral services business or pursue a graduate certificate to improve their skillset.
The coursework includes classes on:
- Funeral services management
- Funeral service pathology
- Restorative arts and embalming
Students also learn soft skills necessary to carry out their duties, particularly when dealing with the bereaved family. These include communication skills, expressions of empathy and sympathy, and body language. There are also laboratory activities related to the embalming aspect, which are conducted on a face-to-face basis.
University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana
3501 U of A Way Texarkana, AR 71854
The UAHT Technical Certificate in Funeral Directing program meets state and industry standards and, thus, it’s among the most recommended programs of its kind. Graduates can meet the training prerequisites for licensure as a funeral director and subsequent employment or entrepreneurship in the funeral business.
The comprehensive curriculum includes courses like:
- Business and Funeral Law
- Funeral Directing
- Funeral Psychology/Sociology
- Funeral Merchandising & Management
An experienced instructor leads every course with suitable credentials as well as delivered online. Students are required to complete the requirements before being considered for completion.
You will get the best possible training in funeral directing from a nationally recognized community college. Your training will include all aspects of your chosen occupation while also leaving room for further education.
Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science
5808 Baum Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA
PIMS offers an online Diploma in Embalming program that allows interested individuals to acquire professional education in funeral services. You can study from your home or office! All courses are delivered over the school’s secure website and learning platform.
This is a low-residency program, as all online programs with the hands-on component are, so there are on-campus laboratory activities. These are mainly related to the restorative art aspect of funeral services.
The online program has the same curriculum as the on-campus program except for the delivery and term length. The online program is conducted over an 8-week term, while the on-campus program is on a 15-week trimester. Both, however, have a structured outline with due dates, term dates, and exams.
Accreditation: American Board of Funeral Service Education Inc. (ABFSE)
You will be getting the same quality of instruction in funeral services/embalming but without attending face-to-face classes.
Since wedding planning certificate programs have fewer lessons, these are popular among individuals who want a shortcut to a successful career. Most programs consist of 10 or fewer online courses that can be completed at your own pace, but many require completion within a specific time. All programs require students to have a modern computer with stable Internet access for their lessons and activities.
Both newbies and veterans in the wedding and event planning industry are welcome to apply to these online programs. Newbies have a comprehensive introduction to the field, while veterans can learn new things. The wedding planning industry, after all, is in constant flux because of emerging trends.
Students navigate the principles and processes of wedding and event planning, from the planning process to the actual staging of the event. The courses cover the business and legal side and the people side, such as client and vendor communications.
U.S. Career Institute
2001 Lowe Street, Fort Collins, CO 80525
USCI is a nationally recognized technical and vocational school with dozens of certificate programs. Among its best is the Wedding and Event Planner program, an online program designed for newbies and veterans. Since it’s an online program, students can decide on the number of hours they can study every week. The program can be completed in four months; the average completion time is 12 months.
Students learn a wide range of skills, including:
- Management of clients’ resources and budget
- Creation of a business plan with contracts and fees
- Marketing the business including advertising and word-of-mouth techniques
- Legal aspects of event planning
- Planning for events including weddings, fundraising, and community events
- Business management, including bookkeeping
Indeed, little is left to chance in this introductory course. The rest can be learned on the field.
You will get quality training that will lay the foundation for your success as a professional wedding planner. You have easy access to your learning materials and one-on-one access to your instructors, too.
New York Institute of Art + Design
192 Lexington, Suite 701, New York, NY, 10016
Certified by the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC), NYIAD’s Wedding Planning Course is the best, in our opinion, for many reasons. Aside from the coursework, students also learn practical skills necessary to become a success in the industry. These skills include business management, client relations, vendor sourcing, and marketing and signing clients.
Students also engage in a series of projects that will put their skills to the test and, thus, allow them to grow. Professional wedding planners work with the program’s teachers to ensure that these skills are learned. Students also have 24/7 access to their lessons and videos, get one-on-one feedback from instructors, and learn from their fellow students.
You have up to 18 months to finish the course, but you can do it in less time if you want. You can also try the course for 14 days, risk-free, and ask for a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Medical assistant certificates typically refer to the professional certification issued by the:
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) resulting in the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential; and
- American Medical Technologists (AMT) leading to the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) qualification.
These can also refer to post-secondary certificates for medical assistants that have been awarded after a certificate-level program. These are typically offered in community colleges and technical and vocational schools. The post-secondary certificates consist of between nine and 30 credit hours.
In all cases, the certification is proof that the individual has the required knowledge and skills pertinent to medical assisting. The skillset required is, indeed, wide-ranging since medical assistants have clinical and administrative duties. These include providing support services for doctors and nurses, scheduling appointments, and filing medical records.
College of Health Care Professions
6630 East Highway 290, Suite 180, Austin, TX 78723
The online Medical Assisting certificate program lasts for 48 weeks with six modules for completion. The six modules include courses like:
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Insurance and Managing Medical Records
- Medical Law, Ethics, and Administration
Skills and competencies are also checked regularly as part of the modules. Since graduates can sit for the certification exam, the program also includes a certification review course. Students must engage in an externship as part of their practical training.
Students gain the foundational skillset for their future careers in healthcare. But admission can be competitive as the requirements include passing the Scholastic Level Exam with 13 as the minimum score.
Accreditation: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or ABHES
You will be more than prepared to pass the Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant Exam, and the certification cost is already included in the tuition.
Mount Wachusett Community College
444 Green Street, Gardner, MA 01440
The Medical Assisting certificate program consists of eight courses that form part of the academic coursework. Students who have completed the courses must participate in a 160-hour externship program. Here, they will learn the practical workings of a clinic, hospital, or other healthcare facilities through hands-on training.
Students learn about taking vital signs, assisting nurses and physicians, and keeping patient records, among other activities. Their training lasts for about a year, including the externship period. Graduates can sit for the CMA exam administered by AAMA.
Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs or CAAHEP
You will love the nurturing environment that only a tight-knit community college can offer, even when you’re an online student. Your instructors not only have the credentials but also possess the charm and compassion of great teachers.
The typical students in paralegal studies certificate programs are current paralegals seeking career advancement and individuals wanting to change careers.
Most of these programs are designed for individuals who already have either an associate or bachelor’s degree (i.e., graduate certificate), but there are a few undergraduate programs. These may or may not be approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), but accreditation is a must.
Academic coursework is combined with an externship, which ensures students get a robust theoretical foundation and practical skillset. The coursework can include:
- Family and criminal law
- Legal writing and research
- Trial preparation
- Civil procedures
- Computer applications for paralegals
- U.S. court system
Graduates qualify for entry-level positions at government agencies, law offices, and even businesses. Individuals with paralegal functions may be able to request a promotion with the certificate. Most programs also allow the transfer of applicable credits, which can shorten the duration of studies.
Franklin Pierce University
40 University Drive, Rindge, NH 03461-0060
The 30-credit undergraduate program prepares students for success at the national certification exam for paralegals. This is possible through the robust foundation in theory and practice related to legal issues. The ten courses in the program include:
- Legal Analysis
- Microcomputer Applications
- Tort Law
- Real Estate Law
- Family Law
Students learn over three terms and two summer sessions, or 12 months, a fairly short time considering the breadth of topics covered. The program also emphasizes expertise in research, writing, and presentation, which are crucial skills among paralegals. Graduates with a National Association for Legal Assistants certification can work in several sectors, including law, business, and education.
This is a sweet and short program that individuals without prior experience or exposure in law will appreciate. You will learn under the guidance of instructors whose vast legal experience will become your inspiration.
8300 Norman Center Drive, Bloomington, MN 55437
The Flex Choice program at Rasmussen University makes it convenient for non-traditional students to progress at their own pace, even shortening their time spent on the program. The program takes around eight months, although the average completion rate is 12 months.
Candidates for admission must possess either an associate or bachelor’s degree, among other requirements. This is a 61-credit program that includes four general education courses and 11 legal studies courses. Students can opt for a capstone project or an internship as a culminating requirement.
Graduates can take the certification exam for paralegals at no extra cost, too. Once certified, employment options include insurance, law enforcement, social services, and healthcare sectors.
Your extensive training will include simulations of real-world situations in preparation for a paralegal career. You will also be in on the trends with training on emerging technologies, modern legal issues, and even odd cases. What a way, indeed, to launch your paralegal career!
Teaching English as a Second Language or TESL
TESL certificate programs are typically graduate programs since their candidates must be licensed teachers with work experience. Students, however, have different reasons for being in the program, from teaching immigrants to tutoring international students online.
Regardless of their reasons, their training focuses on effective and efficient techniques in teaching English as a second language.
The typical curriculum incorporates theoretical coursework and practical skills, such as teaching a class. There’s also an emphasis on the principles and techniques of language acquisition in the context of cross-cultural communication. The coursework may include the design of the syllabus, curriculum, lesson plans, and a practicum aspect.
While programs have varying durations, most consist of four to seven courses. Students can complete a TESL program in six months or so and then aim for a certification. Employment opportunities are in the education and immigration sectors.
3020 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
(877) 215- 0009
Drexel’s graduate program requires candidates to possess a Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II teaching certificate for admission. Once in the program, students benefit from the expertise of instructors whose holistic approach results in exceptional training as TESL teachers. Every course includes readings, case studies and discussions, and practicums for an integrated approach toward teaching.
- Theory and practice of TESL for all cohorts, from adult immigrants to online students abroad
- Structure and sound of the English language
- Intercultural learning and its modern issues
- Design and evaluation of ESL learning materials
The program meets the education requirements of the State of Pennsylvania in TESL. Graduates will be awarded an ESL teaching certificate that can be used to obtain a TESL position.
Drexel is among the country’s best graduate schools, and its TESL certificate program is proof of it. You will love the highly interactive learning platform, convenient schedules, and quality instruction.
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St. Marshall, MN 56258
The K-12 Teaching ESL degree and licensure program prepares students for the challenges of being a K-12 TESL teacher. Graduates can obtain Tier 3 licensure, too, and gain a competitive edge. Plus, it’s a low-residency program that will fit most schedules; it combines online activities with on-campus community building.
Minimum requirements must be met to be admitted into the program. These include at least a 2.8 GPA in reading, writing, and math, which are skills that every TESL teacher must possess in spades; other requirements are two years of studying a foreign language in high school or a year of collegiate foreign language studies.
The challenging curriculum is excellent preparation for your future career as a TESL teacher in and out of the country. You don’t want an easy curriculum that does little to nothing for your knowledge base.
Many community colleges offer online veterinary assistant certificate programs and, thus, interested individuals are guaranteed quality education with reasonable tuition. Furthermore, it takes only a year to finish these programs so students can plunge into their careers quickly.
These programs also have minimum requirements, foremost of which is a high school diploma or GED equivalent for admission. Some programs, however, may ask candidates to enroll in introductory courses before admission. The curriculum integrates academic coursework and hands-on training, a common mix in healthcare programs.
The courses may include:
- Anatomy and physiology of pets and farm animals
- Management of ill and injured animals
- Vaccinations, laboratory procedures, and diagnostic tests on animals
- Routine exams and safety measures related to animal care
- Front office processes
- Client communications
- Animal medicine and euthanasia
Graduates can pursue higher studies, such as a two-year associate degree, to become registered veterinary technicians. Employment opportunities exist in veterinary offices, pet stores, kennels, zoos, and animal shelters.
Kennesaw State University
3333 Busbee Drive, #3301, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144
KSU’s certificate program is a popular program that attracts the best of aspiring veterinary assistants! Keep in mind that it’s a competitive program with the admission and retention requirements to match. Typical candidates include high school graduates and working adults who want a career in animal care.
The comprehensive coursework of the program covers the animal care, client relations, and office administration aspects of a veterinary assistant’s job. The courses include:
- Animal anatomy and physiology
- Animal restraint and safety
- Lab sample collection and routine exams, including radiography
- Assisting in surgery and other procedures
- Office administration, including client relations
Indeed, completion of the program will result in the acquisition of competitive skillsets.
You’re getting the best training toward becoming a competent veterinary assistant through a widely recognized certificate. KSU is also a well-respected university among employers.
Web Design and Development
Students must possess both creative and technology-savvy skills to succeed in a web design and development certificate program. The field demands a mix of the arts and science, particularly computer technology. While these programs have challenging curricula, students who put in the time and energy will emerge triumphantly.
Completion can be achieved within six to nine months, depending on the coursework and the number of credits enrolled. These programs are excellent stepping stones toward higher education and, thus, career advancement. Many associate degree programs allow for the transfer of earned credits from accredited certificate programs.
The coursework may include:
- Intro to HTML and CSS
- Design of Effective Websites and Digital Images
- Front-End Web Development
Graduates can find gainful employment in numerous industries, including computer technology firms, manufacturing businesses, and education.
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
1011 First Street West, Canby, MN 56220
The program involves earning 16 credits within one year of study. Students must take the courses in sequential order to complete the program within the recommended time. There are minimum retention requirements, such as GPA and other performance measurements.
Students can customize their training by choosing between two elective courses. The courses include:
- Electronic Spreadsheets and Graphics
- Multimedia for the Web
- Web Programming
- Art Appreciation
- Visual Basic Programming
- Fundamentals of Programming I
Students have the opportunity for a head start in their careers by accessing the College Central Network. This is a centralized resource database containing information on jobs across Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa.
Your essential knowledge and skills related to web design and development are your tickets to entry-level jobs. You have the tools to become a valued employee with a chance at career advancement.
Bismarck State College
1500 Edwards Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58506
Bismarck offers a one-year certificate program in web page development and design, the perfect choice for individuals with creative and tech-savvy skills. Students are trained in Web languages, SEO, Adobe Creative Suite software, and e-commerce development. The Web languages covered include:
- HTML 5
Students must enjoy online research, solving problems, working with minimum supervision, and pay attention to details. Candidates with a high school diploma must be well-versed in English, math, and computer subjects. Technology requirements include access to Adobe Creative Cloud software and other software for installation.
With so many web languages that you will learn, your appeal as a prospective employee increases! Few programs offer extensive training in as many web languages as BSC.
Certificate programs in office administration are the stepping stones toward greater things in your career! Graduates have the skillsets to qualify for entry-level positions in offices, such as medical secretary, administrative assistant, and legal secretary. With relevant job experience, it’s possible to enjoy career advancement as an office administrator.
Students may also aim for an associate degree in office administration down the road. Professional certifications will further advance careers, and these can be gained through the International Virtual Assistants Association and the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Students may also choose a specialization, such as legal or medical office administration.
The coursework includes topics on:
- Records management
- Customer relations and service
- Office relationships and dynamics
- Data processing
- Computer information systems
Most of these programs require only a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. Students must possess satisfactory English reading and writing skills, too. One year is the typical completion rate, but there are also accelerated options.
CUNY Queensborough Community College
222-05, 56th Avenue Bayside, NY 11364
This is a 30-credit certificate program that offers flexibility in choosing the courses that will meet each student’s specific interests and aspirations. Students can choose from four concentrations – Legal, Healthcare, Accounting, and Corporate. The mandatory courses must be completed, but students can choose from the electives depending on their chosen concentration.
The student cohort comes from a wide range of backgrounds, too. These include fresh high school graduates, re-entering the job market, and current workers who want to upgrade their office administration skills. Such diversity also makes the program seem like a microcosm of an office environment.
The mandatory coursework includes:
- English Composition
- Writing for the New Media
- Introduction to Computers and Applications
- Administrative Office Procedures
- Advanced Microsoft Office
Students then choose courses based on their concentration. If you choose the Corporate track, your coursework will also include Word Processing, Business Internships, and Corresponding in the Digital World.
With four concentrations to choose from, you’re getting on the track that you’re most passionate about instead of settling for a generic track. You will also love it that QCC’s CUNY relationship translates to certificate prestige.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
900 Hwy 34 E, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
Minnesota State offers an 18-credit Administrative Office Assistant program with three concentrations – Finance, Human Resources, and Legal. Regardless of concentration, students assure that their training will equip them with competitive skillsets that employers look for. Many of their skills are also specialized in the sense that specific training is a must.
These concentrations can be completed at separate times or treated as add-ons to the Administrative Support diploma program. Every program also has specific learning objectives and courses. The Finance track, for example, emphasizes finance-related skills necessary for work as front desk agents and customer relations associates.
Your future in office administration is on the right track with the MSCTC program, thanks to its quality instruction, credentialed instructors, and institutional prestige.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of people who pursue certificates?
Individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds – and all age groups, to boot – can pursue and earn certificates. But most certificate programs are aimed at individuals who:
- Have at least a high school diploma or GED who want to pursue post-secondary education but with little time or money for a bachelor’s degree;
- Have the desire to train for a specific occupation and enter the workforce with a competitive edge within a short period; or
- Have the intention of pursuing higher education, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree, at a future date but may want to test the waters first.
Some certificate programs allow credits earned to be transferred to an associate or bachelor’s degree in the third group. Many certificate programs are also prerequisites or preparation for certification, licensure, and other career-related qualifications.
What are the benefits of enrolling in certificate programs?
First, you must choose a certificate program that will be aligned with your personal and professional goals. If you want to be in the healthcare sector while also enjoying on-the-field conditions, for example, your best bet may be an EMT program. Once you make the decision, the benefits come easily.
These benefits include but aren’t limited to:
- Shorter completion time since most certificate programs last for less than a year. You can enter the workforce and enjoy a well-paying job sooner rather than later.
- More focused learning will be learning only a specific set of skills required for your target occupation; general education courses aren’t included in the certificate curriculum. You graduate with readily marketable skills.
- More flexibility in class schedules means you can balance your responsibilities with your academic load. You can even work while studying without the added stress since you can learn on your own time (i.e., asynchronous delivery).
- More affordable cost since certificate programs typically have fewer credits and last for only a few months. You won’t get into student debt trouble, but you will get plenty of work opportunities. Now, that’s a win-win!
What are the differences between certificates and certifications or licenses?
For one thing, certificates typically don’t result in professional certifications and licenses. However, there are instances when completing a certificate program is a prerequisite or preparation for a certification exam. At their core, certificates only show that the individual has completed an occupation-specific course of study.
For another thing, certificates are awarded by community colleges, technical and vocational schools, and four-year colleges. Certifications, which involve the documentation of training and work experience combined with assessments, are awarded by industry organizations and state agencies.
For these reasons, you must ask about the typical requirements for the occupation you’re planning on pursuing, including training and experience. You can then decide which certificate programs will fit your aspirations, such as a certificate program recognized by an industry organization with a certification program.
What are the cost and time requirements of certificate programs?
The tuition and duration of certificate programs vary between schools. In general, public colleges have more affordable tuition and fees in comparison with private and for-profit schools. Many schools offer financial aid to students enrolled in certificate programs. However, since these are more affordable than associate and bachelor’s degree programs, the amount of financial aid may be lower.
As for the duration, certificate programs last between one and two years, but two-year programs are the exception instead of the norm. Certificate programs last for 12 weeks or three months only, and many of these are included in this list.
What must be considered when choosing a certificate program?
You must first consider whether a certificate is necessary for whatever occupation you’re planning on pursuing. Work can sometimes be learned on the job and, thus, there is no certificate training involved. Many employers, nonetheless, prefer prospective employees with formal training, even on a certificate level.
When you have identified suitable certificate programs, your next steps can be summarized as follows:
- Look at the school’s accreditation status as well as the approval from state or industry organizations.
- Consider the school’s overall academic reputation, including its gainful employment disclosure, graduation rate and outcome, and alumni testimonials.
- Check out the LMS, if possible, and consider the curriculum, including its courses and sequence, to determine if these are in your favor.
You may want to talk to current students and alumni of the certificate programs on your shortlist. Keep in mind that their personal experiences can be yours, too, and the better these experiences are, the more likely yours will be!