Unlike regular associate or bachelor degree programs, certificate programs generally focus on just one specialization, but credits earned in a certificate program can often be used toward an associate's degree -- check with the specific school for more information. Graduate certificate programs are useful for students who already have a degree and need additional training. Many certificates are available online.
Business and IT Certificates
Certificates in business or technology cover topics such as ecommerce management, network communications, accouting, and human resources.
For example, DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management offers graduate certificates in business areas like Accounting, Electronic Commerce Management, Entrepreneurship, and Project Management, and in technology disciplines such as Information Security and Wireless Communications, among others.
For the entry-level career seeker, Northwestern College in Illinois offers certificate programs in accounting and business. TechSkills, meanwhile, has locations across the country, and offers certificate programs in project management and other IT technologies like Linux, .Net, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Criminal Justice and Paralegal Certificates
In criminal justice and paralegal certificate programs, you'll learn the standards, principles, and research skills needed for entry-level careers in criminal justice and law offices.
Brown-Mackie College offers a certificate program for paralegal training that covers legal writing, research, and other areas of the law. Their certificate program in criminal justice prepares students for entry-level careers in corrections or investigations.
Medical assistants, nursing assistants, and other healthcare workers will be in strong demand through 2018. You can help be part of this emerging workforce with a certificate in a healthcare field
Colorado Technical University, Virginia College, and Sanford-Brown Institute - White Plains, are just a few of the schools offering certificates in entry-level healthcare fields like medical assisting, ultrasound technology, or medical billing. DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management offers online graduate certificate in health services management.
Art and Design Certificates
Certificate programs in art and design include career-oriented courses in everything from multimedia design to residential planning. In these programs, you'll learn new technologies, and build a portfolio you can be proud of.
The Art Institutes Online offers certificate programs in digital design, residential planning, and web design. These online programs cover the fundamentals of design, and prepare you for entry-level positions in ad agencies, communications departments, interior design studios, and web development companies.
At the Vancouver College of Art and Design, you can get your diploma in graphic design, interior design, or animation, using the latest tools and software, such as Adobe Creative Suite and AUTOCad.