Best Online Certificate Programs

You can learn in-demand skills faster and more affordably with the best online certificates. Check out popular certificate programs such as accounting, counseling, and teaching.
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Updated February 9, 2024

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Whether you're eager to boost your skills for a new career or level up in your current one, certificate programs are a quick and affordable way to do so. They offer training in many fields, including healthcare and counseling.

An online format means you can earn these credentials without sacrificing your job or other personal obligations. Plus, certificates cost less than a four-year degree, and the credits may transfer to an undergraduate or graduate program.

Explore some of the best accredited online certificate programs to see what's right for you.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Certifications

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Best Online Certificate Programs Rankings Summary

Jump to a school below using the links in the “School” column.

Rank School In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition Acceptance Rate
#1 Eastern Gateway Community College
Steubenville, OH
$4,115 $7,727 Not provided
#2 Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, NH
$15,000 $15,000 92%
#3 University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
$10,990 $33,739 87%
#4 Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN
$10,080 $13,356 Not provided
#5 University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL
$8,568 $20,400 89%
#6 Brunswick Community College
Bolivia, NC
$2,432 $8,576 Not provided
#7 North Central State College
Mansfield, OH
$5,088 $10,176 Not provided
#8 Lakeshore Technical College
Cleveland, WI
$3,868 $5,802 Not provided
#9 Cowley County Community College
Arkansas City, KS
$2,040 $3,480 Not provided
#10 Eastern Florida State College
Cocoa, FL
$2,048 $8,399 Not provided

Best Online Certificate Programs of 2024

#1 Best Online Certificate Programs

Eastern Gateway Community College

  • Steubenville, OH
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $137
Out-of-State | $138

Credits to Graduate: 38

The medical coding specialist certificate program at Eastern Gateway Community College prepares you for both the national certification examination for Certified Coding Associate (CCA) through AHIMA, and a career as a non-physician medical professional. 

This 38-credit program can be completed entirely online, and you will need to earn a grade of C or higher in all of your classes in order to graduate. Tuition rates are among the lowest in Ohio, and you can also apply for federal student loans.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,115
Out-of-state
$7,727
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
64%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
45,173
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Certificate Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $330 (undergraduate); $637 (graduate)
Out-of-State | $330 (undergraduate); $637 (graduate)

Credits to Graduate: Varies

Southern New Hampshire University offers both undergraduate and graduate versions of its online accounting certificate program. Which of the two programs is right for you will depend on where you are in your higher education. 

The graduate program is designed for those who have already completed their undergraduate degree and are looking to begin a master's program and/or sit the CPA exam. The undergraduate program, meanwhile, is for those without a higher education degree.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$15,000
Out-of-state
$15,000
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,900
Out-of-state
$18,900
Retention Rate
62%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
145,533
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Online Certificate Programs

University of Arizona

  • Tucson, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Year:
In-State | $3,000
Out-of-State | $3,000

Credits to Graduate: Varies (minimum of 9)

The University of Arizona's accounting online graduate certificate program is a two-track program to prepare you for one of two options. Upon completion of the program, you will either be ready to sit for your CPA exam or have completed the prerequisites required for the University of Arizona's master's degree in accounting. 

Depending on your track and previously earned record, you can choose from a flexible array of course offerings, all of which are offered fully online.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,990
Out-of-state
$33,739
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,106
Out-of-state
$32,290
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
48,274
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Certificate Programs

Purdue University Global

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $485
Out-of-State | $485

Credits to Graduate: 16

The graduate certificate in accounting at Purdue University Global is a 100%-online program designed to prepare you to sit your CPA exam after graduating with an undergraduate degree. Many students in this program also use it as a stepping stone to a master's degree in accounting or a related field. 

This 16-credit program can be completed in as little as six months. Tuition is charged at a fixed rate, regardless of your residency status.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,080
Out-of-state
$13,356
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,730
Out-of-state
$9,700
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
43,458
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Certificate Programs

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $458
Out-of-State | $458

Credits to Graduate: 15

If you're a current health educator looking to enhance your skills, the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a fully-online graduate certificate in health education which can be completed in a brief 15 credits. 

The program combines classes in educational methods with public health coursework and is aligned with National Commission of Health Education Credentialing standards. You should already hold a bachelor's degree when you apply.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,568
Out-of-state
$20,400
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,100
Out-of-state
$19,188
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
22,289
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Certificate Programs

Brunswick Community College

  • Bolivia, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $76
Out-of-State | $268

Credits to Graduate: 16

The accounting and finance certificate program at Brunswick Community College can be completed either online or in person at its North Carolina campus. The program will prepare you for an entry-level accounting and finance position. Or it can be used as a stepping stone to your associate's or bachelor's degree, or to a diploma program also offered by BCC. 

This 16-credit program can be completed relatively quickly and affordably whether you choose the online or in-person option.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
72%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,649
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Certificate Programs

North Central State College

  • Mansfield, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $176.60
Out-of-State | $176.60

Credits to Graduate: Varies

The certified bookkeeper certificate program at North Central State College will prepare you for a career as a Certified Bookkeeper (CB), including preparing you to pass the Certified Bookkeeper Exam administered by the American Institution of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). 

You'll learn several different relevant disciplines of accounting and the technological basics necessary for a bookkeeping career, such as Excel. The program is offered in a hybrid of online and in-person classes.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,088
Out-of-state
$10,176
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
90%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,582
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Best Online Certificate Programs

Lakeshore Technical College

  • Cleveland, WI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $146.20
Out-of-State | $219.30

Credits to Graduate: 31

Lakeshore Technical College in Wisconsin offers a 31-credit medical coder program, which can be completed fully online over two academic semesters. The certificate program at Lakeshore prepares you for a career in the healthcare field. Graduates go on to pursue a number of careers, including medical records specialist, health information technologist, or medical registrar. 

Tuition is affordable regardless of your state of residency, although it's especially low for in-state students. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$3,868
Out-of-state
$5,802
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
65%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,322
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Online Certificate Programs

Cowley County Community College

  • Arkansas City, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $155
Out-of-State | $205

Credits to Graduate: 35

The medical coding: healthcare certificate at Cowley County Community College is a 35-credit program that will prepare you to begin working as an entry-level medical coder. Before applying, make sure you've taken the necessary prerequisite courses in math and science. 

Upon completion, you will be prepared to sit the relevant exams to earn your American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credentials.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$3,480
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
62%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,407
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Best Online Certificate Programs

Eastern Florida State College

  • Cocoa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $105.56
Out-of-State | $527.80

Credits to Graduate: 27

At Eastern Florida State College, you can earn an accounting technology management College Credit Certificate online in as few as two semesters. This certificate program — which is also available in person at the Brevard County campus or in a hybrid format — is designed to prepare you for an entry-level position in accounting, auditing, working with a political campaign or organization, and more.

In-state tuition is among the lowest in Florida, and further financial aid, including scholarship opportunities, may be available.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$2,048
Out-of-state
$8,399
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,677
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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Why Get an Online Certificate?


  • Online certificates teach you specialized skills in 3-12 months -- much faster than a bachelor's degree.
  • Accredited online certificates make it easier to explore new careers in an ever-changing employment landscape.
  • Online learning provides more flexibility than traditional classrooms, allowing you to juggle multiple responsibilities such as work and family.
  • As education costs continue to rise, short-term online programs cost less money while providing invaluable long-term skills.
  • Online certificates also save money on transportation, relocation, and other expenses you incur in traditional classrooms.

How Much Does an Online Certificate Cost?

The cost of online accredited certificate programs will differ depending on factors such as the institution, program, and duration of study. Many institutions charge a per-credit tuition rate for certificate programs and degrees. Certificates cost a lot less than a bachelor's degree because they take fewer credits to complete.

How much can you save? The average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges was $9,596 for the 2021-2022 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The cost skyrocketed to $27,457 for out-of-state tuition and fees. Multiply that by four years and the price of earning a bachelor's degree can be costly.

Students paid an average of $3,564 for in-state tuition at two-year community and technical colleges. These institutions offer not only affordability but also tend to deliver a large selection of undergraduate certificate programs.

8 Online Certificate Program Options

Online certificate programs prepare you 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.

1. Project Management Certificate

A certificate in project management teaches you the skills and processes to effectively lead and direct projects. The curriculum often follows the framework established by professional institutions such as Project Management Institute. Schools may offer graduate certificates for workers who already have a bachelor's degree and want to learn advanced business and management skills.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), project management specialists earned a median annual wage of $95,370 in 2022.

2. Accounting Certificate

If you pursue an online accounting certificate, you can learn skills such as financial accounting, payroll processing, and computer accounting applications. Schools may offer an accounting clerk certificate or specialized options such as accounting technician, payroll specialist, or QuickBooks.

According to the BLS, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earned a median annual wage of $45,860 in 2022.

3. Paralegal Certificate

Your career in the legal field could begin with an online paralegal certificate. You'll learn legal processes, research investigations, document preparation, and other skills. If you're already working in the field, you could pursue accredited online certificates to continue your education and advance your career. BLS data show paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual wage of $59,200 in 2022.

Featured Online Paralegal Certificate Programs

4. Web Design and Development Certificate

Certificates in web design and development teach you how to build and maintain websites. You'll learn essentials such as coding with HTML, JavaScript, content management, and front-end design. And you might be able to transfer credits to an associate or bachelor's program in digital arts and information technology.

With this certificate, you could work as a web developer and digital designer, graphic designer, and web and digital interface designer. According to the BLS, web developers and digital designers earned a median annual salary of $80,730 in 2022.

5. Counseling Certificate

Licensed counselors can pursue online certificate programs in counseling for continuing education or specialized training. These certificate programs often require at least a bachelor's degree.

The BLS projects an 18% employment growth rate for substance use, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors and a 15% growth for marriage and family therapists between 2022-2032. Counselors earned median annual wages between $49,000-$56,000 in 2022.

Featured Online Certificate in Counseling Programs

6. Teaching Certificate

An online teaching certificate can help you earn state licensure to teach in K-12 and other classrooms. Established teachers can use accredited online certificates for professional development. For example, you can learn how to teach English as a second language or pursue secondary education certification in English or math. High school teachers earned a median annual wage of over $62,000 in 2022, according to the BLS.

7. Medical Assistant Certificate

Medical assistants perform clinical and administrative tasks in healthcare settings. Certificate programs can prepare you for certifications such as Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. The curriculum covers concepts and skills like medical terminology, medical record-keeping, and taking patients' vital signs. The BLS projects a 14% growth rate for medical assistants. In 2022, these professionals earned a median annual wage of $38,270.

Featured Online Certificate in Medical Assisting Programs

8. Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

Medical billing and coding certificates prepare you to work in the administrative side of healthcare. Career options include claims specialist, medical records technician, and medical billing and coding specialist. The BLS projects an 8% employment growth rate for medical records specialists, who earned a median annual wage of $47,180 in 2022.

Featured Online Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Accreditation for Online Certificate Programs

Accreditation ensures that schools and programs maintain high academic standards established by an accrediting agency. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize regional and national accrediting agencies. The accreditation process conducted by seven main institutional accreditors and other agencies includes self-study, peer review, and site visits.

Degrees and certificates may also have programmatic accreditation in fields such as law, healthcare, social work, and marriage and family therapy. This ensures you receive specialized training that meets high standards recognized by employers and state licensing boards. Review a list of accredited postsecondary institutions and visit your online accredited certificate programs' website for accreditation details.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Certificate Programs

What certificates can I get online?

Common accredited online certificate options include certificates in IT, healthcare, and law enforcement. You should check with your prospective schools for specific offerings.

What certificate jobs pay the most?

According to salary data from the BLS, you can find many high-paying jobs with a certificate. Popular careers that also pay well include paralegals, web developers, and nurses — all of whom earn salaries higher than the national average of $61,900.

How long does it take to earn a certificate?

Though each program varies, most certificate programs take 3-12 months to complete. The timeframe may also vary depending on whether you enroll full time or part time.


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Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accredited Schools Online. Page last reviewed February 5th, 2024.

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