What are Community College Certificate Programs and why are they beneficial?


Over the last several years, community college certificate programs have grown in popularity, and more and more people are choosing to take them. You’ve probably heard of a friend who is excited about beginning their journey of taking a college certificate program. But why? There are numerous good reasons, but many people are still confused about what a certificate is and unaware of its many benefits. So, what are the benefits of earning a certificate from a community college like the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT)?

What is a certificate?
A community college certificate confirms your knowledge of specific skills, often in a good-paying technical career field. Essentially, a certificate acts as evidence that a student completed education and/or training in a specific field during their college courses. Depending on what type of program you were to take, it would serve as evidence that you completed education, training, and/or obtained skills in a specific area of study or practice. Having these transferable skills is highly desired by employers, especially those in specialized work fields. UAHT provides certificates in multiple areas of study, such as technical and trade, business, health professions, cybersecurity, information technology, and more. The areas of study quickly prepare students for today’s in-demand jobs.

The difference between a certificate and a degree.
Community college certificate programs are relatively short-term, lasting anywhere from a few months to a year. They are also much lower in cost compared to four-year degrees and have higher completion rates relative to degree programs.

Certificates offer specialized education and training that allow students to develop transferable skill sets specific to the work field or type of job they desire to be in. They also enable students to dive right into their desired area of focus and graduate in a shorter time frame with the skills they need to get good jobs fast.

A degree, on the other hand, is a long-term program, typically lasting 2 to 4 years if students attend school full-time. Along with providing knowledge and study in the student’s major area of focus, degrees also require students to take general education studies (basics) and sometimes pre-requisite classes depending on the student’s field choice.

Both certificate and degree programs are extremely valuable to students. Some type of post-secondary education is not only desirable to employers, but in many cases, it is mandatory. In today’s time, not having some type of post-secondary education or training can severely put you behind the competition. According to Georgetown University Public Policy Report, at least 65% of all jobs require education or training beyond high school. So, if you know your career field of choice and want to enter the workforce quickly, or if you want to explore various fields, then a certificate program at UAHT may be the right choice for you.

Benefits of enrolling in a certificate program.
Many benefits come along with taking a certificate program. Here are some of them:

Short-term, graduate in a year or less so you can go to work fast
Cost-efficient, save thousands of dollars
Provides specialized training directly for your major area of focus/interest
Gives you a competitive advantage over others (every credential matters today)
Develops skill sets for desired career fields
Versatile – Can serve as your sole education, complement your current degree(s), and/or serve as a stepping-stone toward other long-term goals
Helps to get your foot into the door of a new career field
Allows you to explore a new career field before investing many years into it
Helps you to maintain relevance within your industry

It’s no wonder that certificate programs are growing in popularity, especially in today’s busy, on-demand world. The flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and short-term completion times of certificate programs are highly desirable to many people.

What to look for when selecting a certificate program.
There’s no question as to whether or not a certificate is beneficial. So, how do you know what to look for?

First, you want to make sure you choose a quality community college like the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. UAHT has provided world-class certificate training for over 55 years. Our graduates learn the skills they need to get good jobs.

Other important factors to consider when selecting a certificate program include accreditation, affordability, and field of study. UAHT is fully accredited, offers one of the most affordable tuition rates in the country, and has 40 certificate options to choose from. In addition, high school students can earn many certificates at UAHT 100% free through the Secondary Career and Technical Education Center, and traditional students can earn over 25 certificates completely free with the Arkansas Future Grant. The time has never been better to earn a certificate from UAHT.

Get the facts.
All in all, it’s never a bad idea to just pick up the phone and get information! It is easy and comfortable to get real facts by speaking to a UAHT advisor. You can talk to a UAHT representative in our advising department risk-free and have a personalized conversation with them to discuss your goals, ask questions, and assess career paths that may work well for you – all with no obligations to enroll or take a program. Even if you’re not 100% sure you want to take that next step, it doesn’t hurt to get the information so you can make an informed decision. Please fill out a Contact Form at https://www.uaht.edu/info/ and let us reach out to you to answer all of your questions.

Find out what all the hype about Certificate Programs really is about! Even better, find out how you can take many of the programs at UAHT completely free! Call us today at 870-722-8124 or email pac@uaht.edu.

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