Certificate programs are an excellent way to get an education in a narrow field without spending more than two years learning a profession. Many programs can be completed in less than a year, which is why they have a higher rate of completion than degree programs.
It is important to remember that the speed at which you complete a program depends on the career you choose, and whether you enroll full-time or part-time.
Traditionally, a certificate program is meant to give you a specialized education and a specific skill set. More traditional programs include technical, trade and vocational schools.
In the present day, there is much more variety in certificate programs. You may now attend such a program for business, medical training, security, information technology, legal studies and more. Learn more about career training programs below.
Accelerated Nursing Programs
Accelerated nursing programs may help you become a nurse if you want to receive a bachelor’s or masters in nursing in a shorter period of time.
These programs are also known as Direct Entry programs, and are extremely intensive, as you must learn all the material of a full-length program. As a result, class days may be longer, and you may not have breaks or time off during the year.
There are two main types of accelerated nursing programs available: The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Note that an MSN takes longer than one year to complete.
In addition, you may complete an accelerated nursing program online or in person. An online program will give you more flexibility in your schedule, though you may still need to complete clinical experience and lab work in person.
A registered nurse who holds a BSN may only be allowed to take on certain roles in a hospital, though he or she will still have a great deal of responsibility. These roles may include:
- Infection control.
- Quality control.
- Case management.
- Healthcare informatics.
- Assistant nurse manager.
- Charge nurse.
- Nurse educator.
- Clinical Development Specialist, or Training and Development Specialist.
In general, accelerated BSN programs will require you to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher to graduate. You must also complete a bachelor’s degree program to qualify for a BSN.
An MSN nursing program may allow you to practice certain specialties. These include the following:
- Nurse-Midwife (NMW)
- Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse (PMH)
- Nurse-Midwife (NMW)
- Public Health Nurse (PHN)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Nurse Educator
MSN programs typically consist of one year in an accelerated BSN program, followed by two years of graduate school. Consequently, these programs take approximately three years to complete, and will allow you to take up bigger leadership roles.
If you choose to enroll in a BSN program instead of an MSN course, it is important to remember that you will still have the option to continue to graduate school.
Truck Driving School
Truck driving school may provide you with the education and skills you need to pass a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam. While you may be able to learn the education requirements of the exam on your own, one-on-one lessons are extremely helpful for the skills portion of the test.
Fortunately, truck driving schools do not require you to complete more than a year of training. Programs for Class A licenses are typically seven weeks long. Programs for Class B licenses may be completed in less than one week, because you will only learn how to drive straight trucks, dump trucks and trucks that carry smaller loads.
If you want to drive a vehicle that requires an endorsement on your license, such as a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement, your training program will take more time.
The amount of time required to complete different CDL classes will also depend on certain factors. These include:
- Whether you enroll part-time or full-time.
- The number of driving hours you must complete outside of class with a licensed truck driver.
- The number of classroom hours you must complete.
- Whether the non-skills portion of the class is completed online or in-person.
Note that Class A, B and C licenses may have slightly different definitions from one state to the next. The requirements for endorsements may also differ. For this reason, it is important to enroll in a course that caters to your state’s requirements and regulations.
Regardless of the license class you choose, all truck driver training courses will cover certain skills and subjects for the general knowledge test. For instance, you may be asked how to use a clutch, start the engine or inspect the cab, the proper techniques for backing up, penalties for breaking certain CDL laws and more.
Will your CDL training be reimbursed by your employer?
You may qualify for company paid CDL training if you already work as a truck driver. This usually happens when an employer wants you to switch your license class or add endorsements. Be sure to check with your employer on which classes, if any, are covered under your contract.
How is a certificate program different from a traditional degree program?
The main difference between an in-person or online certification program and a degree program is the amount of time it takes to graduate. Bachelor’s degrees typically require four years of full-time enrollment, while master’s programs may require two years or more.
In addition, the best in-person and online certificate programs are meant to build on your already-existing skills or help you transition into a new career. A BA, on the other hand, gives you a more general foundation of skills and knowledge.
You may choose to pursue a certificate program, instead of a master’s program, because of the shorter timeframe and the cost. Indeed, many certificate programs are less expensive than master’s programs.
If you are unable to find an online certificate program for free, or a program that is less expensive than a master’s degree, however, it may not be worth it. As an example, some accelerated MSN programs and BSN programs are just as expensive as traditional nursing courses.
It may be difficult or impossible to make a living while completing an accelerated program, due to the intensive and challenging time commitment. Ultimately, only you will be able to determine whether a certificate program is right for you.