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April 7, 2020

The Power of Micro-Credentials

In today’s fast-paced job market, gaining the skills you need to be competitive can seem daunting to many people. Employers are looking for highly skilled candidates with specific areas of knowledge, but you may not have the time to commit to earning a master’s degree right now. Combined with the fact that industries are rapidly evolving, and practical, on-the-job skills are highly desirable for employers, an alternative to traditional degrees is becoming much more appealing. This is where micro-credentials come in.

A recent BBC article defines micro-credentials as “bite-sized chunks of education” that have “emerged in response to the skills gap caused by new technologies.” Micro-credentials offer the benefit of industry-specific, cutting-edge learning that gives the student a one-up on competitors in their chosen field of study. Gaining a micro-credential allows you to reduce the time commitment, cost, and duration of a traditional graduate degree, and provides professional skills directly connected to job competencies in a condensed period of time.

Micro-credentials, including graduate certificates, can be “stacked” into a graduate degree, as Chris Nicholson, Assistant Dean of Enrollment, Marketing, and Partnerships at University College explains.

“We have many students who pursue a four-course certificate, take another two courses to complete a six-course certificate, and then take six additional courses to earn their master’s degree. So, they earn three different academic credentials by taking just 12 courses,” Nicholson says. “Those credentials are a powerful statement on their resume.”

Marcus Farmer, a University College alumni, describes his experience with a University College graduate certificate program in the podcast series ElevatED.

“I’ve done everything from contract work and consulting to positions that I’ve been able to obtain simply because I had the marketing communication certificate credential” said Farmer. “Part of that has to do with my demonstrated expertise, and I owe that to the training that I got at University College. It’s led me to keep learning and keep going because I have a foundation on which I can build.”

Check out the full interview and hear a former student’s perspective on the value of a micro-credential and why he chose this route here.

If you are ready to explore the possibility of earning an academic credential that gives you the opportunity to quickly develop a new skillset, then a graduate certificate may be right for you. University College offers more than 50 different certificates that all specialize in a range of industries and areas. You can also explore non-credit certificates through the Center for Professional Development.

By pursuing a certificate, you are choosing an education that is straightforward, practical, and most importantly, quick to complete! Our certificate programs can be completed in as few as six months, and provide you with the skills needed to fill that gap that so many employers are facing.

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