What's a Certification?
Think of a Certification as being similar to a diploma; to get it you’d need to successfully complete a reliable and approved training program that you were enrolled in. The Certification proves that you’ve mastered the specific skills or knowledge within a career/occupation, technology or industry. But you can’t just show up and except to get that certification; you’ll likely need to pass a certification test to prove you’ve got what it takes.
Why would I want a Certification?
- Quick training (several months to less than 2 years).
- Start working and making money ASAP. Note: Certifications from Apprenticeships will likely take longer.
- Some careers require a certification; without it you can’t work in that career.
- Some employers require a certification in order to apply for a job, or advance in the company.
- You may need a certification to become licensed in the career your choose.
Where can I get education and training for a Certification?
No matter where you choose to get your education and training for that certification, shop around and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Know that Certification Training is a business; your education is something you’re “buying” and it can be pricey.
In all honesty, if your local community college offers a program you’re interested in it could be much less expensive than similar training you would receive at a private career training school; so definitely start with community colleges first when you’re researching and pricing schools.
Also, while you’re shopping around for a school make sure you get answers to all, or most, of the following questions:
- What are ALL of the costs associated with the training and certification?
- What’s the school’s success with job placement and networking for students?
- How long the school had been in business?
- How long has the job training program you’re interested been offered?
- Is the school accredited and when did it get it’s accreditation? (accreditation is very important)
- What industry-related equipment is available for real-world learning?
- How new is the technology and equipment they use for training?
- How long the program takes to complete?
- Are there both daytime and evening options?
- What hours will I be expected to be at the school every day?
- Does the school offer internships or externships? (Remember we discussed internships… They’re typically unpaid, short-term, supervised job placements where you gain real-world experience that can be included on your resume.)
- Is the school eligible for Federal Student Aid? If not you may NOT be eligible for federal and state grants (free money) which is lousy, and you may need to get private loans (rather than federal loans) which isn’t a good idea.
- If you’re a veteran, ask if the school is eligible for GI benefits.
- Are there financial aid advisors who can help you to navigate the financial aid process? You can also learn a great deal about Financial Aid through our course “Financial Aid. What you need to know.“
- What is the job placement rate in the job field you’re choosing?
- Does the school have a Career Development office that can help you prepare your resume and find job leads?
- How many other students are in the program?
Get the Answers You Need!
Training is an investment of your time and your money… don’t just jump all in somewhere because someone you know went there, or because the Admissions Rep at the school talks a good game. Do what’s right for you!
Next up… hit the “Mark Complete” button below to head to the next Topic, Associate’s Degrees.