The Career Value Of Certification

SBANetWeb Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce published a study in June, 2012, entitled, “Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees.” According to the study the answer is a resounding, “YES!” Certificates are relatively inexpensive and quick to complete, certainly as compared to degrees. Certification can offer a fast way into the labor market for the unemployed, underemployed and those seeking advancement. The study finds that men with vocational certificates earn 27 percent more than those with high school diplomas.

The study found that certificates make up 22 percent of all college awards, up from 6 percent in 1980 and also that one-third of certificate holders also have associate, bachelor’s or graduate degrees. Among male certificate holders, 39 percent make more than the median man with an associate’s degree and 24 percent more than men with a bachelor’s degree. The percentages for women are 34 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Of course, many online education providers offer certificate programs, including but not limited to Lynda, Udemy, Illumeo and Coursera, to name a few. is the Grandmommy (like grand-daddy) of skills learning. It’s provenance stretches back to before the internet as we know it and at this writing offers 5714 online courses. It’s main subjects include Software Development, Design, Business, Web Development and Photography. Recently purchased by LinkedIn, Lynda offers an easy way to show off your new skills.

Udemy’s website claims 45,000 courses and 15 million students! With such a huge catalog, it seems to have identified just about everything anyone could ever want to learn, such as “How To Start An Ice Cream Truck Business” to “How To Make Lamp Shades” in a cost-per-course pricing format.

Coursera is a MOOC provider, (Massive Open Online Courses). As such, Coursera offers courses from Johns Hopkins, Duke, Stanford and other prestigious universities.

“Certification,” depending on the site could mean a certificate that states one completed a single course to certification that a group of courses around a single subject were successfully completed.

Illumeo certification programs are exclusively focused on business topics for individuals and companies. Illumeo’s website claims that its certificate programs are designed to enhance the students’ credentials and add valuable expertise to their companies. Lynda, Udemy and Coursera offer courses and certificates on a wide variety of non-business-related topics as well. Whereas Illumeo’s focus is strictly business- related, so we’ll focus on that.

One Illumeo program is “Certified Specialist in Sarbanes-Oxley Sections 302 and 404 Compliance.” This certification consists of 14 separate one- to two-hour courses. These two sections of the legislation (302 and 404) cost companies the most in expense and time. Non-compliance can cost organizations SEC fines, sanctions and even criminal indictments. As well as covering the theoretical aspects of the sections it outlines the actual steps needed for compliance with them.

The “Certified Expert in Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)” 22 course program covers compliance of the entire Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, important because companies spend millions of dollars in compliance. The course covers the powers of the SEC and the PCAOB which are the SOX governing bodies, as well as all facets of SOX reporting and support operations. The certification aims to establish the student as an expert not only in the complex intricacies of Sarbanes-Oxley sections 302 and 304 but also in the standards of and compliance of the entire legislation.

Illumeo’s Certified Expert In Excel For Professional Applications” certification consists of 9 separate courses and starts with a summary explaining how to produce reusable workbooks. Building on that foundation it explains, with examples, the uses of many types of Excel formulas and functions. It ends up by showing how to access data from offsite sources. It features over 70 lecture videos and more than 200 exercises for students to practice as they learn.

The program entitled “Certified Specialist in Internal Controls” teaches professionals how to design, manage and monitor internal controls in 13 separate courses. Internal controls are important for control of all the company’s financial, operational and compliance processes. No matter what the professional’s position in these fields, skills in internal controls will make the organization operate more smoothly and with less risk of failure.

In the “Certified Expert in Internal Controls and Internal Audit” series of 24 courses the professional learns to determine the difference between everyday activities and those involving internal control and audit. Implementing internal controls properly makes any organization run more smoothly and efficiently.

The “Certified Specialist in Internal Audit” certification program analyzes the Institute of Internal Auditor Standards in depth via 13 separate courses. It explains the aspects important for auditors to understand in order to comply with the standards and how to maintain management expectations. The program enables graduates to receive the “Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)” certificate.

In closing, whether you’re looking for courses from name brand Universities, huge variety, enhanced business skills or a boost to your resume, there’s never been a better time to investigate online certificate programs.