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Changing Times Make Professional Certificates and Certification Appealing to Adult Learners

Changing Times Make Professional Certificates and Certification Appealing to Adult Learners

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Last Updated April 8, 2024

A rapidly changing economy driven by advances in technology have led employers to appreciate workers who have ‘upskilled’ by earning an advanced certificate or certification within their field. Their commitment to updating and refining their skills can help organizations meet the demand for new skills in the workforce.

That finding comes from the report “Certified Value: When Do Adults Without Degrees Benefit from Earning Certificates and Certifications” from the Strada Education Network, Gallup and the Lumina Foundation.

While earning a degree offers its fair share of benefits, the report underscores the value of professionals who seek certificates, whether they have already earned a college degree or not. As the Certified Value report states: “A postsecondary degree is not the only pathway to prosperity.”

Key Findings

The report found that those who earned a certificate or certification saw increased job market value in their education. This especially held true for those without a college degree – 60% of the nearly 50,000 working adult respondents saw their educational experience as valuable, compared to 44% of those without a certificate or certification.

That view stayed the same across age, gender, ethnicity, personal income level and race.

That perception “is well-founded,” according to the report, which said that among adults without a college degree, the full-time employment rate is 7% higher for those with a certificate or certification. This increase applies to both men and women, according to the report.

Certificate holders also had higher earning potential, according to the report. In some cases, it resulted in an annual salary $25,000 higher than those without a certificate.

Why Earn A Professional Certificate or Certification?

Workforce statistics back up the need for professional development during your career as we are in an increasingly mobile society when it comes to changing jobs.

This means even the most accomplished professional will go through numerous job hunts. The National Longitudinal Study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that Baby Boomers born between 1957-1964 averaged 12.3 jobs from age 18 to 52.

Carol D’Amico, Executive Vice President of Mission Advancement and Philanthropy at Strada Education Network, said in a press statement that a changing workforce will make such programs even more popular in the future.

D’Amico said that “not only do short-term credentials and certificates” have an immediate impact on adults looking to improve their skills, but they also “have the potential to foster the sort of wage increases needed to sustain a family and power true social and economic mobility.”

Earning certificates and certifications can make your resume standout from the competition. It also can provide you the latest skills and knowledge needed for your specific industry. Villanova University offers a slate of certificate programs geared toward those who are interested in advancing their education and career potential.

Villanova’s programs are offered online to provide flexibility in how and when you focus on coursework. The University offers courses that are taught by instructors who are experts in their field and bring a wealth of practical, real-world experience to what they teach.

“Students get the benefit of learning from the teachers and also from different classmates in each course,” said Karam Labban, an Agile adjunct faculty member in Villanova’s College of Professional Studies. “The discussions that occur during live lectures and on discussion boards can add very valuable insights that come from actual work experience.”

Online Certificate Programs Offered Through Villanova

Villanova offers 11 online non-credit professional certificate programs in a variety of disciplines. Several certificate programs may help prepare students for industry-recognized certification exams.

Applied Project Management – Learn to apply the best practices in the management of time and cost, scope, human resources and communications and apply them to real-world challenges.

The Certificate in Applied Project Management program aligns with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Seventh Edition, and can provide you with the knowledge to help prepare for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification exam offered by the Project Management Institute.

Lean Six Sigma – This program combines the techniques of Six Sigma and Lean into one comprehensive certificate program. Learn how to use tools and techniques of Lean Six Sigma to make your organization or process more efficient and effective.

In addition, Villanova is the certifying body for the following Six Sigma certifications:

Agile – Agile methodology’s collaborative and adaptive approach has spread into almost every industry. You can learn the tools and techniques of Agile and earn Villanova’s Professional Certification in Agile & Scrum (PCAS) credential by successfully completing the three-course certificate program.

“The program’s three courses not only provide students a solid foundation in Scrum, it also goes over many Agile topics related to teams, leadership, best practices, scaled Agile and Agile transformation,” said Labban, an Agile Scrum Master.  

Contract Management – Learn about commercial and government contract management best practices and how incorporating Agile methodology can help increase contract efficiency and adaptability. The certificate program can also help you prepare to sit for certification exams with the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).

“These classes prepare you for taking the National Contract Management Association certification,” said Christie Harris, MA, a contracting professional and Contract Management adjunct professor. Earning certification shows “you’ve gone above and beyond to get certified in your field.”

Business Analysis – Learn valuable analytical skills for use in improving organizational operations. Program curriculum supports the latest Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide)® and is designed to help participants who want to better handle the complexities of business leadership and prepare for the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)® and Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA)® certification exams through the International Institute of Business Analysis.

Business Intelligence – The Certificate in Business Intelligence program focuses on teaching participants how make informed decisions based on data. Those who complete the certificate program and optional certification exam will earn Villanova’s Certified Professional in Business Intelligence (CPBI) credential.

Business Process Management – Learn how to create a strategy that prioritizes core business processes and has the biggest impact on organizational processes. Those who successfully complete the three-course program and optional certification exam will earn Villanova’s Certified Professional in Business Process Management (CPBPM) designation.

“I often tell my students that passing a professional certification exam tells their current and future employers that they made the necessary sacrifices, and devoted the time, resources and energy to master a body of knowledge sufficiently to pass a rigorous certification exam. This effort demonstrates focused energy, personal sacrifice and time commitment beyond our day jobs,” said Ed Hayes, CBBI, CLSSBB, MBA, adjunct professor for Villanova’s Business Intelligence, Business Process Management and Lean Six Sigma courses.

Business Process Improvement – The Business Process Improvement Essentials program allows students to select three courses from five available offerings in disciplines such as Six Sigma, business process management, project management, and more. This customizable program is designed to help student broaden their skills and gain practical insights in a variety of process improvement-related areas to bring value to their organization. 

Cybersecurity – Learn the latest tools and techniques used in the cybersecurity industry, one of the most important areas of IT. The program is specifically designed to support leadership of information security teams. 

“My students are typically working professionals looking for a career change or looking to get a cyber certificate required by their job,” said Jayme Lara, CISSP, MS IS, an information security professional and adjunct faculty member in Villanova’s Certificate in Cybersecurity program. “Having a different perspective rather than coming from an IT background is really gaining momentum in the industry, as those security professionals approach problems and identify how to solve them differently.”

Organizational Leadership – Learn key strategies to employ in your organization, including fiscal responsibility, employee communication and leadership principles. The program teaches strategic organizational leadership, how to maximize team effectiveness and provides you with best practices to help you become a productive, organized and effective team leader.

“Effective communication can clarify things people need to understand and connect people in ways that support productive teamwork,” said Minerva Cruz, EdD, a 25-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department and adjunct faculty member who teaches Strategic Organizational Leadership, among other courses, in Villanova’s College of Professional Studies.

Human Resource Management – Learn the best practices of HR management to support employees and organizational goals. The Human Resource Management course can help participants prepare for the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP®) or SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP®) exam. The course includes content based on the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCKTM) and is designed to help participants get ready for SHRM certification exams.

The Mastering Organizational Effectiveness course teaches you how to efficiently manage people and processes while balancing the strategic goals of your company. You’ll also be taught core competencies to help you develop the knowledge and skills to work effectively in an HR role.

PMP and CAPM are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.