Online Certificate Programs

An online certificate program is a great way to advance in a current career or start a new one. Here, we outline what to consider when enrolling in an online certificate program.

Updated September 9, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Online Certificates

Accredited online certificate programs allow students to learn about particular subjects without pursuing a degree. Many colleges and universities offer certificate programs online. Learners can earn certificates in fields such as education and technology. Schools also offer certificates in trades such as plumbing and welding.

Some certificate programs accept high school graduates, while others accept only college graduates. Keep in mind that certificates are not certifications for specific jobs. Certificates help prepare students for their desired careers.

This page highlights accredited online certificate programs. Read on for information on costs and program options.

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Accredited Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Certificates

What certificates can I get online?

Colleges and universities offer many certificate programs online. Common options include certificates in IT, healthcare, and law enforcement. Students should check with their prospective schools for specific offerings.

What certificate jobs pay the most?

Many trade jobs offer above-average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction workers earn a median annual salary of $62,860. Plumbers and pipefitters earn $56,330, while HVAC professionals earn $50,590. These figures exceed the median annual salary of $41,950 for all occupations.

What is the quickest certification to get?

Learners can complete some online certificates in 3-12 months. Students with some foundational coursework can earn certificates faster.

Why Get an Online Certificate?

Earning an online certificate provides flexibility. Students can complete coursework from anywhere. Learners who complete an online certificate can boost their earning potential. Workers with some college experience earn a median of $833 a week, according to the BLS. Those with only a high school diploma earn $746 a week.

Some online certificate programs include onsite requirements. Learners may need to gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting.

Accreditation for an Online Certificate Program

Students should only apply to accredited online certificate programs. Accreditation helps ensure that higher education institutions meet acceptable quality standards. Schools may feature regional or national accreditation. Individual departments or programs may feature programmatic accreditation.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) oversees the federally approved agencies that accredit programs. Students can view a list of accrediting agencies on ED's website.

How Much Does an Online Certificate Cost?

The cost of an online certificate varies by school and program. Certificate-seekers at in-state public schools spend an average of $1,000-$5,000 annually on tuition.

Students who pursue certificate programs online can save money by avoiding a commute. Most certificate programs run asynchronously, allowing enrollees to complete coursework around job and family responsibilities.

Additional Online Student Fees

In addition to tuition, students should budget for other expenses. They may need to upgrade their computer and internet. Online learners also may need to buy books, supplies, and software. Some programs require onsite components. Learners should budget for travel and lodging expenses.

Some online programs charge graduation fees. Students who want to pursue certification in their desired field should plan for application and exam fees. Prep materials for these certifications cost extra.

Online Certificate Program Options

Online certificate programs prepare students for careers in many fields. Most programs focus on one area of study, such as law enforcement or accounting. See below for online certificate program options. Keep in mind that not all schools offer these exact programs.

  • Project Management

    This program trains students for project management careers in various industries. Students learn about initiating, planning, and completing projects. Most programs last 12 months and prepare students for the Project Management Professional Exam. Graduates may work in the construction, editorial, or technology fields.
  • Featured Online Project Management Certificates

  • Accounting Certificate

    Students learn the fundamentals of accounting, financial reporting, and taxation. Most accounting certificate programs appeal to small-business owners or professionals with no prior accounting knowledge. Programs last 24 months and prepare enrollees to take the Certified Public Accountant Exam.
  • Plumbing Certificate

    This program prepares enrollees for plumbing jobs or apprenticeships. Learners can complete programs at their pace. Coursework covers plumbing codes, piping prints, and pipefitting. Certificate holders can pursue jobs or paid apprenticeships in residential or commercial plumbing.
  • Paralegal Certificate

    This program trains students for law careers or paralegal jobs. Students explore the basics of litigation, law, and documentation. Enrollees can complete some certificates in one semester. Certificate holders can apply for jobs in many legal fields, including civil rights, real estate, and family law.
  • Featured Online Paralegal Certificate

  • Web Design and Development Certificate

    This program prepares enrollees for careers designing and developing websites and apps. Students learn coding languages such as HTML and CSS. They also explore how to make websites collect and respond to data. Programs last 3-12 months.
  • Featured Online Computer and Technology Certificates

Accredited Online Certificate Resources

Accredited Online Certificate Programs

  1. Coastal Pines Technical College
    Location

    Waycross, GA

    Tuition

    $2933

    At CPTC, students can pursue online certificate programs in accounting, business technology, criminal justice, early childhood care and education, and marketing management. These 1-2-semester programs deliver content through Blackboard using an asynchronous format. Students gain access to career services and phone counseling. Other valuable resources include Virtual Job Shadow, an online service that provides users with career assessments and detailed information concerning different career tracks. Prospective students aged 16 and older who passed the GED or possess a high school diploma may apply to any of CPTC's certificate programs. Out-of-state learners pay double the in-state tuition rate. Georgia residents may qualify for the HOPE Scholarship, which provides automatic financial aid as long as recipients maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  2. Georgia Piedmont Technical College
    Location

    Clarkston, GA

    Tuition

    $6259

    GPTC's 28 online certificate programs appeal to aspiring business, computer programming, and media professionals. Students can choose from certificates in entrepreneurship, PC repair and network technician, and design and media production specialist. All courses use an asynchronous format. At least once per semester, certificate-seekers must complete a proctored exam, presentation, or lab assignment at an approved location. Students gain access to career services, such as resume critiques, networking tips, and links to top job boards. Other student services include Purple Briefcase -- a network that connects certificate-seekers with local employers. Applicants must submit high school transcripts. Incoming learners who do not submit ACT or SAT scores must take the ACCUPLACER exam. Georgia residents save 75% on tuition compared to out-of-state certificate-seekers. New students submit only one financial aid application through AwardSpring to apply for 24 institutional scholarship opportunities.

  3. Champlain College
    Location

    Burlington, VT

    Tuition

    $38577

    Champlain offers several online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. The school offers an undergraduate accounting certificate and more than a dozen graduate certificates in areas like business, cybersecurity, and healthcare. Full-time students can typically complete these programs within one year. Students gain access to career resources, including internship opportunities and career transition programs. Nearly 95% of Champlain graduates find a job or enter another academic program within six months of earning a degree or certificate. Champlain prefers applicants with a minimum 2.5 GPA. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, and active-duty servicemembers save approximately 50% on tuition. Learners can apply for federal grants and loans by submitting FAFSA results. Vermont residents may qualify for additional financial aid opportunities.

  4. Georgia Northwestern Technical College
    Location

    Rome, GA

    Tuition

    $2587

    GNTC offers dozens of online certificate programs in areas like entrepreneurship, marketing specialist, and tax preparation specialist. The college also boasts seven programs that teach in-demand Microsoft Office skills. Most programs require 9-16 credits, allowing full-time students to earn a certificate within one year. Learners gain access to career services, such as resume pointers, typical interview questions, and professionalism best practices. Additionally, students can take a career interest test to determine how to turn online certificate courses into a fulfilling career. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and complete a placement test. In-state students save 50% on tuition compared to out-of-state certificate-seekers. Learners can apply for a foundation scholarship through the GNTC financial aid portal.

  5. Southern Regional Technical College
    Location

    Thomasville, GA

    Tuition

    $11244

    SRTC's certificate programs feature 17 tracks in areas of criminal justice specialist, Microsoft network administrator, and technical management specialist. Programs take 2-5 semesters to complete, and SRTC admits news students each semester. All students benefit from a program advisor who helps them select courses and stay on track for graduation. Through SRTC's career services, learners can receive resume critiques, sign up for mock interviews, and develop marketing skills. Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores. In-state students enjoy a significant tuition discount. Students earning a certificate in an in-demand field may qualify for a HOPE Career Grant.

  6. Bismarck State College
    Location

    Bismarck, ND

    Tuition

    $7306

    BSC offers online certificate programs in electronics technology and water and wastewater technology. Electronics technology students complete 28 credits that cover topics in manufacturing and information technology. The water and wastewater technology program requires a job shadowing experience and includes coursework in applied math and laboratory procedures. Full-time certificate-seekers in both programs can graduate in one year. Nearly 100% of students who earn a certificate at BSC find a job within one year of graduation. Students can start preparing for life after graduation through Job Seekers Network and Kuder Journey, a software suite that offers interest assessments and job search strategies. Prospective students can apply for the spring, summer, or fall semester. In-state students and active-duty servicemembers pay approximately 50% less in tuition than out-of-state students. The BSC Foundation awards more than $600,000 in scholarships to eligible students each year.

  7. Pamlico Community College
    Location

    Grantsboro, NC

    Tuition

    $774

    PCC offers some of the best online certificate programs in the country in areas of criminal justice technology, early childhood education, and human services technology. Students can log in to WebAdvisor -- a software platform that connects learners with a PCC advisor -- to receive academic and career guidance. Additionally, the school offers specialized resources for students with disabilities, such as career skills training programs. New students without ACT or SAT scores must take a placement test before signing up for courses. PCC charges out-of-state learners more than three times the in-state tuition rate. Certificate-seekers need only submit the Scholarship General Application to apply for all institutional financial aid opportunities.

  8. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $9390

    Regis boasts over 24 undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in areas like executive information technology, healthcare informatics, and project management. Many certificates feature an optional accelerated track, allowing students to graduate in less than one year. More than 85% of Regis alumni find a job within 12 months of earning a degree or certificate. The Center for Career and Professional Development offers Handshake software, one-on-one career counseling, and interviewing tips. Regis uses a different application for prospective undergraduate and graduate students. Tuition varies by program, but Regis does not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state tuition. Undergraduate certificate-seekers may qualify for one of five institutional scholarships.

  9. Charter Oak State College
    Location

    New Britain, CT

    Tuition

    $3087

    Charter Oak offers some of the best online certificate programs in the country. Students can pursue certificates in areas like project management, public safety, and victim advocacy. All programs feature 5-8-week accelerated courses. Certificate-seekers must earn a minimum "C" grade in each course to remain in good academic standing. Students gain access to career services, such as resume and cover letter guides, job boards, and networking sites. CS also promotes learners' academic and career success by providing free virtual tutoring through Tutor.com. Admission materials include high school transcripts or GED scores. Connecticut residents save approximately 25% on tuition compared to out-of-state students. In-state learners may qualify for one of three institutional scholarship programs.

  10. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
    Location

    Shell Lake, WI

    Tuition

    $26273

    WITC's seven online certificate programs include unique topics like broadband customer service specialist and nonprofit essentials. Part-time students can typically earn a certificate within one year. The college classifies some online certificates as Career Pathways Programs. In these programs, students complete hands-on experiences to gain in-demand skills. Students gain access to career services, such as job openings, resume critiques, and interview help. Over 90% of WITC students find a job or enter another academic program after graduation. Application requirements include a high school diploma or GED scores. Incoming learners without standardized test scores must also take the ACCUPLACER exam. WITC extends in-state tuition to Minnesota and Michigan residents. Learners interested in institutional financial aid should submit a scholarship application by the April 6 deadline.

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