In some career fields, holding a certification in a particular area can help you move into higher positions, earn more money or even qualify for jobs that may previously have been out of reach.
Earning a certification generally requires completing coursework, in both theory and practical skills, and possibly passing an exam. The trouble is, in some cases, completing the extra classes or training can be difficult, thanks to outside responsibilities, location, and lack of opportunities nearby.
The good news is, though, as easy as it is to earn an MBA online, earning other types of certifications online can be just as simple. You can use your spare time, and move forward with your career.
Benefits of Online Certification
Perhaps the greatest benefit to seeking your certification online is the flexibility that it offers. Busy professionals who are trying to manage work and family responsibilities simply do not have time to take multiple courses, when you factor in travel time, classroom time, and outside homework and study time. Simply put, you can improve your career prospects and earning power without quitting your current job.
Instead, online courses allow students to log in and download lectures and class materials whenever they can – even in the middle of the night. They can participate in discussions when it’s convenient for them, and instead of waiting for instructor office hours to get answers to questions, they can e-mail or message the instructor and usually get a response right away.
Another benefit to online certification programs is the breadth of perspectives that they offer. Online classes attract students from all over the country – and all over the world – and during your course discussions, you may find that your classmates have experience and insights that you may not have otherwise considered.
When you enroll in a certification program through an established university or professional association, your instructors are oftentimes the highest qualified in the field of study. In university programs, many professors teach online courses and, in professional studies areas, instructors are often professionals themselves with years of experience and expertise. What this means for you is that you have the ability to communicate with teachers through online programs, a benefit you may not have had otherwise, thus improving your industry knowledge and expanding your professional network.
Drawbacks to Online Certification
While getting certified through an online program is certainly convenient, it does have some drawbacks. Perhaps the most obvious is that, in some circles, online certifications are not considered as rigorous as traditional, in-person programs. For some, the convenience of taking classes online is actually a drawback, instead arguing that anything worthwhile is difficult. Others may question the legitimacy of certificates earned online, as it’s possible that someone could not complete the work themselves, and instead allow others to do it for them.
Another issue with online certifications is that not all programs are created equal. Any school offering nationally recognized certificate programs must build around the established qualifications and standards, but unfortunately one program may not be as advanced as another.
For example, some online companies offer certifications that are little more than tutorials. When you complete the course, you get a printable certificate showing that you completed the course. While these courses may be valuable as a record of your knowledge, in many cases they aren’t recognized by employers or credentialing organizations as a true measure of your knowledge and abilities.
You can overcome some of the issues associated with online education, though, you will benefit by doing your homework before you register. Choose a program through an accredited college or university, and compare the coursework requirements against your career goals.
Online teaching education has been referred to as “the wave of the future” as more and more people are taking advantage of their computers and using them to build their skills after work or while the kids nap. If you believe that earning an online teaching certification will help you in your career, you owe it to yourself to look into these programs. The time you spend now to get certified – whether you work in accounting, computers, education, or any other industry – can continue to pay you back in better opportunities and more pay for years to come.
This article was written by Justin Davis who is pursuing an MBA degree online. He expects to have his degree by next year.