Monday, June 28, 2010

Choosing Your Certification Training Course

If you’re planning to get certified through a course at a college or career school, you have more options than you may realize. Many colleges offer certification training as part of their IT curriculum. Online colleges, as well as online courses offered by colleges, are often a great way to fit certification training into an already busy schedule. The online training can often be completed on your own time and at your own pace.

Jamie Littlefield writes about distance education and online learning for About.com, and she recommends asking several key questions when deciding what online college is the best fit for your situation and needs. The following questions are particularly relevant to online certification courses. Consider these before choosing your college for certification training:
  • What hardware will be required? If the college’s certification training includes software, online video trainings, or online labs, your home computer will need to be up to date to meet the hardware requirements of the training course. Find out ahead of time what the requirements are.
  • Will you need to purchase any additional software? Many colleges include course materials in the tuition fee. If your certification training uses software, find out if the software is included in the fee or if you will need to purchase it in addition to the other course materials.
  • How will you communicate with the school? All online or is there a number you can call for help? Email is convenient in most cases, but there may be times when you need a question answered quickly by someone who knows. Make sure this will be possible.
  • Can you speed ahead or take more time and work at your own pace? Some courses give you a certain amount of time and let you work at your own pace to complete all assignments, while others are planned according to a course schedule. There’s not a right or wrong way, but choose a course model that fits your personality and study habits.
  • What curriculum is used? Will you need to purchase textbooks? Do some extra homework and find out exactly what certification training materials the college relies on. Are the materials from a reputable vendor? Read reviews and learn as much about the training materials as you can. After all, you want the course to train you well enough both to pass your certifying exam and to prepare you to succeed in the job you find after certifying.

For those who’ve already gone through this process, what else did you do to evaluate and select the right online course for your certification training?

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