Online Certificate Programs Help Close U.S. Skills Gap


The landscape of the U.S. workforce has significantly shifted, placing greater emphasis on the need for skilled, educated workers.

According to the Georgetown University report Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education, by 2018 the United States will have 46.8 million job openings. Thirty million of these jobs will require some postsecondary education, and there will be a shortfall of 3 million individuals with the appropriate level of education to fill them.

In nearly every state, employers are reporting a shortage of applicants with the needed education and skill to perform the jobs they have available.

Online certificate programs have proven to be one of the most convenient ways to fast-track professional skills development without sacrificing work or family obligations. Let’s explore how these programs are helping close the gap.

Quickly Earn Needed Skills

career-skillsCertificate programs are one of the quickest ways to gain the knowledge and expertise employers are seeking. This viable outcome-focused education option helps students gain meaningful career-oriented skills in-line with their chosen profession. Saving time and money while combining work and learning.

Skilled trades, sales representatives, accounting specialists, medical administration, healthcare workers and Information Technology teams are among the hardest positions for employers to fill.

Increase Earning Ability

The connection between education and income runs deep. According to Inside Higher Ed, on average, earning a certificate provides a 20% wage premium over a high school diploma alone; Certificate holders earn more than workers with just some college but no degree.

A certificate from an accredited college not only increases job market value, but also demonstrates ability to time manage, digital literacy and working knowledge of the functions of the Internet, typing and software programs.

Avoid Student Loan Debt

avoid student loan debtOn average, students take four and a half years to earn a Bachelor’s degree and just over three years to earn an Associates degree. In contrast, certificate programs can be completed in less than 8 months. Less time in school translates into lower tuition costs.

Tuition at a traditional college has increased 500 percent in the last few decades. Forcing students to take on record levels of debt. College Board reports that earning an associate degree in two years at a public institution costs anywhere from $6,500 to $17,800 on average and earning a Bachelor’s degree costs an average of over $35,600.

For qualified military service members and spouses, educational benefits offered make it possible to earn an industry relevant certificate with no out-of-pocket costs and no long-term student loan debt at all.

Some of the most popular certificate programs include Medical Administration, Information Technology, Business Administration and Homeland Security. These industries are undergoing tremendous growth, opening opportunities for employment worldwide.

Work While You Learn

Opportunity word cloudWorking adults juggling family, work and school have little time to spare. They know that the longer it takes to graduate, the more it costs them and their family. For them enrolling in a traditional 4 year brick and mortar degree program would mean missing out on wages that could have been earned instead of logging time by sitting in the classroom.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports only half of all adult students seeking a bachelor’s degree will complete their program. Largely due to conflicts with other responsibilities, like work or family. Certificate programs are a quick and convenient solution to develop career specific skills while combining work and school.

Possessing the skills needed for a position is a hot commodity on the job market. Employers are looking for driven individuals who can close the skills gap and increase the quality of the American workforce. Certificate programs help students quickly earn needed skills, increase earning ability, avoid student loan debt and still work while they learn. Creating a more educated workforce and better society.


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