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What is an online certificate, and why should I earn one?

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Let’s face it: You have big goals for your future. But you also have a busy life. It can be hard to see how you’ll get the education you need to reach your career goals when your time is limited. Luckily, that’s where online certificates come in. 

What is an Online Certificate?

Online certificates offer college-level courses in a specific field or topic — but take less time and cost less than a full degree program. They’re a great way to explore a new area or gain key skills that can take your career to the next level. And best of all, they’re flexible enough to fit into your busy schedule.

Types of Online Certificates

There are two main types of online college certificates: undergraduate and graduate. 

Online Undergraduate Certificates

If you’re an undergraduate student, an online certificate can supplement your Bachelor’s degree with training around a specific topic that might make you more attractive to employers. For example, if you’re working toward an English degree, earning your online certificate in Technical Writing can give you a credential that’s valuable in today’s marketplace.

Online Graduate Certificates

If you already have your undergraduate degree, completing a graduate-level online certificate can be a productive way to sample a subject area without committing to a full degree program. Or it can further your professional development, by giving you new skills and knowledge to advance your current career. In short, it can be a great way to boost your resume with skills that are relevant now.

Can Online Certificate Credits be Applied to a Degree?

Another great thing about online certificates is that you may be able to apply these course credits toward a degree. For example, if you get an online certificate in Project Management, many of those credits might apply toward an Engineering Management degree.

Certificates vs. ‘Certification’

One thing to keep in mind: certificates are not necessarily the same thing as ‘certification,’ which is required in many careers like nursing, teaching, etc. However, the classes may sometimes be applied as continuing education hours.

Online Certificates at ODUOnline

At ODUOnline, we offer a broad range of online certificates to choose from, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Undergraduate Certificates

  • Want to start your own business or work for a start-up? Our Entrepreneurship online certificate is open to all undergraduate juniors and seniors — and can even be taken by itself by non-degree-seeking students.
  • Want to join a fast-growing, high-demand field? Check out our Industrial Training online certificate and learn how to be a trainer for a wide range of industries and workplaces. With this certificate, you can go on to hold a position like Training Specialist, HR Specialist, or Training Manager.

Graduate Certificates

Featured Certificates

  • Cybersecurity Online Certificate: This online cybersecurity certificate program teaches web professionals working in computer science and related fields the additional skills needed to manage, analyze, and secure cyber data. You can complete this graduate certificate in as little as one year by taking two courses in spring semester and two courses in fall semester. If you decide to continue your studies, these courses may also apply toward ODU's Master of Science in Computer Science degree program. Advanced knowledge in cybersecurity can help you gain employment in this growing and high-paying field.
  • Entrepreneurship Online Certificate: In this undergraduate program, you'll learn the basics of entrepreneurship. We recommend this certificate if you want to: start your own business; work in a start-up environment; or bring entrepreneurial skills and mindset to corporate and non-profit sectors. This certificate is open to all ODU undergraduate juniors and seniors — or, apply as a non-degree seeking student to take this certificate by itself.
  • Global Health Online Certificate: With this program, you'll gain the knowledge and skills to make an impact in health worldwide. You'll learn from ODU faculty who have worked professionally with the CDC, NIH, and WHO. Students and professionals in public administration, business, engineering, and health care find this certificate useful in their fields.

Online Certificates Provide a World of Opportunities

Get the idea? There are a lot of opportunities to gain the skills you need in an efficient, flexible, and affordable way. Whether you’re looking to strengthen your resume, supplement your degree program, meet educational requirements, or pursue professional development, online certificates are a valuable option to explore.

Learn more about all of our online learning programs at ODUOnline.

Have questions? Contact us.