The Benefits of Post-Secondary Certification Programs

 

Post-secondary education can frustrate some students, as they aren’t intrigued with the idea of four more years of study. However, many careers are requiring the completion of certification programs, making further study a necessity for entry into these particular disciplines. In many cases, these certification programs are relevant to high demand industries, making it well worthwhile for high school students and adults to contemplate these avenues of training and instruction.

Many certification programs are provided through community colleges or junior colleges. The benefit in such settings is that schedules may be flexible while federal student aid may also be applicable. For those with restricted budgets, this is a great opportunity to study for a career that will provide excellent employment opportunities. Further, community college credit costs are significantly lower than those associated with many technical schools and with universities, making it possible to keep expenses at a minimum.

Entry requirements generally include a high school diploma or equivalency exam. Students often need to complete a series of general studies classes in the first part of their post-secondary participation in a certification program, with later emphasis on specific skill classes related to the field of choice. The variety of options range greatly, including disciplines such as business, language, health care or construction.

Health care certifications are valuable in that the health care industry continues to expand dramatically. Pharmacy technicians are an example of professionals not requiring full degrees but able to obtain appropriate educational credentials through a certificate program. Nursing assistants are also able to participate in certification programs in order to obtain the needed training. In health care fields, professional exams may be necessary before employment is possible, and the goal of certification programs is to prepare individuals to successfully complete these exams.

The completion of a community college certification program is important in that the credits can also be transferred or applied if a further degree is sought. A certified nursing assistant, for example, may decide that a nursing degree would be worth pursuing. Having foundational courses out of the way allows a return to studies to begin at a more advanced stage.

Many construction unions coordinate their apprenticeship programs with community college certification programs in order to benefit the students through use of federal financial aid and through establishment of college records and credentials that can later transfer into pursuit of more advanced programs and degrees related to the fields of interest. A certification program opens doors that allow for short term employment opportunities and long-term continuing education possibilities.