As we have mentioned in quite a few segments recently, the HigherEdUtah2020 plan states that by the year 2018, 66% of jobs in Utah will require some sort of “post-secondary education.” If you’re left blank in the face by the term “post-secondary,” have no worries, you are definitely not the only one! Saying that you will need “post-secondary” education doesn’t simply mean putting your life on hold to go to or finish a multi-year degree. It also includes “The Certificate.” I thought that I would share with you an article from the Inside Higher Ed news blog entitled “The Certificate Solution” to shed a little more light on certification prgrams.
Before we dive into the article, here’s some basic information about certificate programs. Generally, a certificate means that a person has completed some type of training program through a trade or vocational school (Utah has 8 Applied Technology Colleges that provide these types of services throughout the state). Junior colleges and even some four-year colleges that offer adult or extended education classes may also provide similar certification opportunities. What certificate programs tend to share is that they usually don’t require a broad base of general education studies before specializing in a certain field (though there are some exceptions). Inside Higher Ed reports, certificates are an “often underutilized strategy” when it comes to continuing education after high school. The value of the certificate shouldn’t be underestimated, and in fact, in some cases, they have even been known to “deliver greater income returns than an associate['s] and even some bachelor’s degrees.” It is not my intention to downplay the value of an associate or bachelor’s degree, or any of the traditional tracks of higher education in this post. In fact, some individuals have utilized certificate programs as a means of financing their return to school and obtaining the traditional two and four-year degrees. The intention of this post is to educate so that you have information regarding all of the options and opportunities available for you to secure a successful future, not only for yourself, but for the state of Utah. Take a look at this article (below), get more familiar with certificate programs, what they mean, what they require, what they can do for you, and which are available to you. I’ve included some links to the Continuing Education/Certificate programs that are offered throughout the state (at the bottom of the page). Before eliminating college as an option, decide if a a certificate program might be a viable option for you. Whichever route you decide to travel with your education, just keep the wise words of Ben Franklin in mind: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Inside Higher Ed – “The Certificate Solution”: “A key goal of the Obama administration has been to create an environment in which every American receives at least one year of postsecondary education. One year is a notable time frame as that it doesn’t correlate with an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. A report being issued today suggests that the United States needs to follow that cue and focus on a form of education that comes in a range of durations — the certificate. The report, issued by Complete College America and prepared by FutureWorks, argues that it may be more viable for many Americans with limited time to earn a certificate than to earn a college degree. And the report notes that while those who take some courses toward a degree but do not finish are unlikely to gain much economically from their efforts, there is substantial evidence that certificates do advance people economically…click here to read the rest of the article”
Utah Continuing Education/Certificate Programs: