What Is an Online Certificate Program?

An online certificate program is a course of education, usually designed to be completed in a year or less, that offers knowledge or skills in a very specific subject area and is delivered via the Internet. People usually enroll in online certificate programs to begin new careers or to advance existing careers.

Aspects of an Online Certificate Program

An online certificate program may be offered by a college or university, a professional organization or a private company. Consisting of courses or modules, a certificate program usually allows you to complete one module at a time, working at your own pace. A maximum time limit for completing each module is typically enforced.

The main objective of online certificate programs is to help students develop a specific skill or skills. Certificate programs often prepare a student for entry into a particular career. Some programs may help students acquire a specific skill needed to further their career or enter a new career.

Important Facts About Becoming Certified

Possible Careers fitness trainers and instructors; private detectives and investigators; interpreters and translators; medical records and health information technicians
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED
Certificate Levels Non-degree and degree certificates available
Common Courses only courses relevant to certification

Subject Areas

Certificate programs are offered in a wide range of subject areas in fields that range from business to healthcare to legal studies. A variety of online certificate programs are represented below:

  • Applied statistics
  • Gerontology
  • Non-profit management
  • E-learning and online teaching
  • Sustainable design
  • Dairy science
  • Law enforcement

Top Schools with Relevant Programs

Many top colleges now offer online distance education. The following are just a sample of top schools with online certificate programs:

  • Johns Hopkins University: Offers certificate programs in subjects such as gerontology, health education, maternal and child health, vaccine science and policy, public health preparedness and health communication. Programs are offered for degree and non-degree holders.
  • University of Massachusetts - Amherst: Offers certificate programs in subjects that include casino management, criminal justice, journalism, turf management and writing.
  • Stanford University: Offers professional education certificates in areas like advanced computer security, quantitative finance and advanced project management

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

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