What Are Online Certificate Courses?

Online certificate courses provide training on certain job skills over the Internet. These courses are typically career-specific and can apply to fields such as health care and business administration. This article describes online certificate courses in more detail.

Overview of Online Certificate Courses

Students typically take online certificate courses to prepare for careers in specific fields. Since they are meant to train students for particular jobs, online certificate courses usually cover relatively narrow topics and don't include general education topics.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Program Fields Certificates are available in a wide variety of fields and typically correspond to a specific career
Prerequisites Access to a computer, and some certificate programs may require a high school diploma, GED, or degree depending on the field
Certificate Levels Career-focused certificate programs are typically offered at the undergraduate level
Continuing Education Many schools allow students to transfer the credits they earn in a certificate program to a degree program so they can get a head start on earning the degree

Length of Online Certificate Programs

With online certificate courses, the subject and the syllabus influence the length of each online certificate class. Certificate programs are designed to enable a student to learn the skills necessary to begin a job in the field as soon as the program is completed. An example of a certificate program is the clinical dental assistant certificate course offered by Texas State University (www.txstate.edu). After completing this program, students are ready to begin a career in dental assisting.

The length of a certificate program can vary. However, they are usually completed in a short time period - typically less than two years. The Texas State University dental assistant program, for example, is structured as a six-month program that can be completed at the student's own pace.

Online Certificate Program Areas

As mentioned, online certificate programs are focused on one specific subject and all courses within the program are focused around the main subject area in order to prepare students for work in the field. Most online certificate courses fall under a few main categories. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Business and management
  • Healthcare
  • Networking, design and technology
  • Medical coding
  • Criminal justice
  • Paralegal studies
  • Early child care

Online certificate courses are usually offered for specific careers, such as crime scene technician, legal secretary, medical assistant, phlebotomist and private security. Certificate programs are often available for careers that do not require a college degree but that do need some type of specialized training.

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.

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