Online certificate programs are available for nearly every career field that exists today. They can also be used to learn new skills that can help you in your career or your life. Today’s job market is competitive, and a certification can help you stand out from the crowd. Best of all, these programs take much less time than traditional degree programs.
Many people feel that their life has been put on hold in 2020. There’s a lot of uncertainty. Society, working conditions, and education are going through a period of adaptation. This can feel chaotic, but it’s a perfect time to invest in your future. Knowledge is invaluable, and it can help you rise above the challenges that are sure to come.
You can learn the material on your time, while maintaining a full-time job and other responsibilities. You can complete the program relatively quickly and then put what you have learned into practice. You can continue expanding your knowledge by moving on to another program upon completion.
We’ll look at the top 20 programs split into the following categories:
- Career training/advancement with no secondary education requirements
- Career training/advancement for those with previous experience or education
- Courses for soft skills
Career Training or Advancement With No Secondary Education Requirements
Most of these programs will require you to have a high school diploma or GED. However, they don’t require you to have knowledge of the subject you are studying beforehand. These are introductory programs that can be taken alone, or followed up with other programs to further your educational and career goals.
Healthcare Online Certificate Programs
The healthcare field will continue to grow exponentially. People are living longer than ever before, and advances in medicine help keep people healthy well into their golden years. Healthcare can be a very rewarding career choice, and you can get started in many positions with an online certificate program.
Home Health Aide Training
Home health care is one of the fastest-growing careers in 2020. It’s expected to grow by 34% in the next decade. The average salary is $25,000 per year. Becoming a home health aide requires a compassionate attitude and a love for caring for others. The rewards of the job can extend far beyond the salary by allowing you to make a difference in the lives of others.
Kennesaw State University offers a great course for learning to be a home health aide. The program gives you 12 months to complete the program, but you can complete it in as little as 4 months.
You’ll learn about:
- becoming a home health aide
- preventing the spread of infectious disease
- caring for clients who require special care
If you are looking for a budget option, NCO Online Academy offers a home health aide course for only $89. There are 75 hours of online learning, and you have one year to complete the course. If you feel you already know the material, you can take the certification test after registering. This is only recommended if you have previous education or experience.
The medical coding field is expected to grow by 21%. Entry requires no previous healthcare experience, and the program can be completed completely online. Many companies allow medical coders to work from home, which is an important consideration in today’s changing economy. As of 2013, medical coders without certification made an average of $40,000 a year, while those with a coding certification or associate’s degree earned $45,000 per year.
Purdue University offers an online medical coding certificate program. The program is approved by the AHIMA Professional Certificate Approval Program, which means it meets the standards set for entry-level coding. At the end of the program, you can take a test to be certified as a medical coder.
Renewable Energy Certificate Programs
Renewable energy is vital for the continued success of our environment, our country, and our world. As awareness grows, the renewable energy industry will continue to thrive.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers
The demand for solar photovoltaic installers is expected to grow by an amazing 51% in the next 10 years. The average salary is nearly $45,000 a year. This makes it an excellent career for anyone who is mechanically inclined.
Solar Energy International offers certificate programs in:
- Residential and commercial PV systems
- Battery based PV systems
- Solar sales
Students can take courses individually, or pursue a certificate. The certificate programs consist of nine courses that are taken in a progression to build on previous material.
Wind Turbine Service Technicians
This is the fastest-growing career according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, with a 61% expected growth. The average salary is around $53,000 per year.
Pinnacle Training Institute, also known as PTI, focuses on giving you the real-world skills you’ll need to succeed in the industry. The program length is 40 weeks with expected academic progress. The online program allows for flexibility, allowing you to choose full or part-time enrollment. If you would like to continue your education, the certificate training also counts towards obtaining your associate’s degree.
To receive the certifications necessary for this career, students are required to attend a boot camp at their Kansas City, Missouri before completing the program.
Technology fields will continue to boom. This provides a lot of opportunities if you are entering the workforce or considering a new career. Getting your start with an online certificate program allows you to get the education you need so you can succeed in your chosen field.
Cyber Security Specialist
Cybersecurity specialist positions are expected to grow by 30% in the next decade. Today’s society revolves around technology, and keeping data and infrastructure safe is a huge undertaking. Cybersecurity specialists can work for a large firm or offer their services on a freelance basis.
A college degree isn’t required for entry-level positions, but you will need security certifications to be competitive. If you don’t have prior knowledge or experience, an online course can give you the knowledge you need.
CompTIA Certmaster allows you to learn the material you’ll see on the online certification test. It includes 16 lessons and over 40 hours of instruction. You’ll also take a final exam which helps prepare you for the certification test.
You will learn:
- Proper infrastructure design
- Network concepts
If you want more in-depth training, you can choose the CompTIA A+ online course. You’ll receive lectures from real-world instructors so you can ask questions in real-time. There are two modules, both of which are intense 10-day training courses. Once you’ve finished, you will be ready to earn your CompTIA A+ certification.
- 10-day instructor-led training per module
- CertMaster Practice
- CertMaster Learn
Harvard offers VPAL Cybersecurity: Managing Risk in the Information Age. The course is 8 weeks long, and you will need to study for 8-11 hours per week. In the course, you will learn:
- How to identify cybersecurity threats
- Incident response and accountability
- How to design and implement a cybersecurity strategy
Software development positions are expected to grow by 21% in the next decade, making it a good technology-based career field. If you dream of owning your own business or helping to create programs, software development might be the job for you.
Capella University offers an Online Software Development Certificate program. You’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible. You are also required to be 24 years or older, unless you are a military veteran or have 24 or more college credit hours. The program consists of 7 courses.
You will learn to:
- Collect and analyze user requirements
- Design user interfaces
- Code and test programs
Certificate Programs to Further Your Career
If you already have a career that you love, these online certificate courses can help you secure advancement opportunities. They can also give you the knowledge you need to perform your job more effectively.
Statistician positions are expected to grow 35% in the next decade, particularly in the areas of healthcare, technology, and business. 90% of today’s businesses use statisticians. To become a statistician requires at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or statistics. However, many people in fields where knowledge of statistics is required want to learn about statistics to further their career without becoming a statistician.
Statistics.com offers several certificates in statistics disciplines. These programs offer 28 hours of instruction transferable to other colleges should you want to complete a degree program.
Certificate programs include:
- Programming for data science
- Social sciences certificate
- Analytics for data science
- Biostatics certificate
Cornell offers a business statistics certificate. This is perfect for business professionals who need an understanding of statistics to excel in their field. The course lasts for 4 months with 3-5 hours of coursework per week. You’ll have 7 courses that last for two weeks each.
fastest careers: healthcare, energy, data and mathematics, technology (information security and software developers)
Management certifications include project management, human resources, and leadership and management. These online certifications can help you further your career in many fields. Many companies have a distinct management hierarchy, and strong management skills can help you move into a leadership position.
Project management training can be beneficial for anyone who is a part of projects or works as part of a team. It can be useful for small business owners as well, because you will gain skills that can help you design and manage projects for customers. Architects, marketing professionals, and consultants are a few positions that can benefit from this online certification.
Project Management Institute offers several project management online certifications. The most popular is the Project Management Professional.
To qualify for this program, you will need:
- A bachelor’s degree
- 36 months’ experience leading projects
- 35 hours of project management training or a CAPM certification
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can qualify with:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- 60 months’ experience leading projects
- 35 hours of project management training or a CAPM certification
If you would like to begin a career in project management or add it to your skillset, you can begin with the Project Management Basics Course. This fulfills the educational requirements needed to take the CAPM exam to receive your CAPM certification.
Human Resource Management
Human resource management is a skill many employers look for. It’s valuable for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in human resources, but it’s also vital for anyone in a management or hiring position. 97% of certificate graduates say that they would recommend the course. 48% say that it helped them get a job, and 59% say that it helped them earn more money.
Michigan State University offers three courses you must take to get a certificate in human resource management. These are:
- Human resource talent strategy
- Building high-performance organizations
- Developing organizational culture
These courses are 4 weeks each. You can continue your education after you have earned these certifications by pursuing the Master’s Certificate. The Master’s certificate builds on the professional certificate and includes:
- Management essentials
- Leadership essentials
- Essential analytical skills
Leadership and Management
Whorton Online offers a leadership and management certificate. Each course in the program is 4 weeks long, and it requires a time commitment of -4 hours per week. Tuition is $3,600. You can also pay for the courses individually, at $995. Alumni state that they enjoy that the courses are accessible on a pc or mobile device. They also say that the teachers are knowledgeable and the course is good career preparation.
Courses included in the Leadership and Management Certificate are:
- Leadership in the 21st Century
- Managing and motivating talent
- Managing the global firm
- Strategic management: competitive and corporate strategy
Marketing and Sales
Marketing and sales techniques are constantly changing and evolving. If you want to advance your career or be more successful in your current role, these online certification courses can help.
Marketing analyst positions are expected to grow 18% in the next decade. Most marketing careers are expected to grow between 6-9%, which makes marketing analyst the fastest growing marketing position hands down. If you are already working in the marketing field, you may want to consider becoming a marketing analyst to further your career.
MIT offers a Marketing Analyst Program. You’ll spend 6-8 hours each week studying for 6 weeks. You will receive a certificate upon completion. The course offers flexible online learning from one of the most well-recognized business schools in the world.
You will learn:
- How to develop a digital marketing strategy
- The latest developments in data analytics, digital advertising, and predictive modeling
- How to increase the reach of a digital marketing campaign and improve ROI
The closing rate for sales in the U.S.. is just 27%, with 48% never attempting to close a sale. Sales training often occurs on the job. However, an online certification can help improve your closing numbers and make you more attractive to employers.
The Kellogg School of Management offers a program titled Mastering Sales: A Toolkit for Success. The 10-week course costs $1,950. You will study for 4-6 hours per week. The flexible online certification course is perfect for busy professionals who want to improve their skillset.
You will learn:
- Evidence-based techniques
- More than 30 tools that you will put into practice
- How to improve your skills based on a personalized assessment
- How to recruit, manage, and train high performing sales teams
Soft skills are considered useful no matter what career field you choose. They are an excellent way to work on personal development and advance your career. Most soft skills courses are inexpensive and don’t require a large time commitment. According to LinkedIn, 92% of employers in the technology field say that soft skills are more important than technical skills. They also noted that 89% of employers said that poorly performing employees lacked soft skills.
Comprehensive Soft Skills Courses
The Udemy course 5 Essential Soft Skills teaches 5 important soft skills. Udemy states that the course is beneficial for anyone who works with people, which applies to nearly everyone. The certification costs $34.99. There are no educational or experience requirements for the course. It consists of 2 hours of video instruction and 2 written articles.
You will learn:
- How to communicate with confidence
- How to manage time effectively
- Learn and practice critical thinking skills
- Importance of being flexible and adaptable
- How to work as part of a team
Colorado State University has paired with Goodwill Industries to offer soft skills courses. You can take the 7 online courses individually or you can register for all of them. Upon completion of all the courses, you will receive a Mastery Badge. You can display the badge on online portfolios and resumes. Potential employees can click on the badge to see what you have learned.
The course teaches several important skills and concepts, including:
- Communicate clearly with superiors, customers, and clients
- Conflict resolution
- Positive stress management techniques
- An understanding of ethics and how to develop a personal code of ethics
Happiness as a Soft Skill
It may seem frivolous, but happier employees are more productive and more likely to get promoted, according to Berkley. Berkley offers The Science of Happiness at Work Professional Certificate. The program consists of 3 courses. You’ll spend 1-2 hours a week studying for 3 months. The course is $597.
Individual courses include:
- The foundations of happiness at work
- Mindfulness and resilience to stress at work
- Empathy and emotional intelligence at work
Choosing the Right School
Choosing the right school to continue your education is important regardless of whether you choose to do so in person or online. The schools and programs in this article were chosen based on several factors. These include accessibility of the program, reviews from alumni, and the outlook for the career field. Online certificate programs allow you to gain new knowledge and skills without a large time or financial commitment.