Thursday, December 9, 2010

Certificates a Good Option for Technology Education

Complete College America, a nonprofit organization that works to increase college completion rates nationwide, released a report this week showing that a certificate program could be as good an option as an associate’s degree for some higher education students. A high-quality certificate program can significantly increase the likelihood of students’ success both in academics and in career, and in some fields—including technology—high-quality certificate programs yield the same income for graduates as an associate’s degree in the same field.

More than half of higher education certificates come from community colleges, and nearly 40% come from for-profit institutions. In both settings, according to Complete College America, certificate programs that are “built for completion”—meaning, programs that are organized to work more effectively for students with time and economic pressures—have the highest success rates.

A certificate is different than a certification; however, many certificate programs, especially in technology, include training for at least one industry certification.

Durham Business & Computer College (DBCC) in Toronto, Canada, is a private career college that offers full- and part-time certificate programs for high-demand business skills and computer technologies. Students complete their chosen program in 36 weeks, or approximately 8 months, and graduate the college with skills employers are looking for, as well as with a certificate or diploma as evidence of their skills. In fact, the college says its students have an 89% success rate finding employment in their vocation directly after graduating.

Many of the certificate and diploma programs at DBCC also give students the opportunity to receive certifications from industry organizations in addition to a certificate from the college. For example, DBCC offers a network engineering certificate, and students use LabSim to train for certifications such as A+, Network+, CCNA, and MCITP as part of their certificate education. By completing a higher education certificate program from DBCC and receiving certifications employers are looking for, DBCC students are increasing their likelihood for success in the IT industry.

Emily Howard, TestOut

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