Navigating the Non-Degree Landscape: Options to Advance Professionally & Academically

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Certificates, continuing education units, certifications, short-term courses, professional licensures – just a few of the educational and professional offerings that occupy the non-degree space in today's educational landscape.

But what do they all mean, and what’s the value to you  the working professional - as you explore educational options?  How can they help you get ahead and become unstoppable in your career and the year ahead?!

Non-degree options are any programs, courses, bootcamps, certificates that do not result in a degree. They may be short-term non-credit programs, or a credit-bearing certificate program. Non-degree programs can help you increase knowledge or improve work-related skills quickly and efficiently, or even enter a completely new field or career. Ideally, a non-degree program may help you advance in your career and make you a better candidate and employee, earn a promotion or increase pay. A 2021 Strada study noted that, ‘Individuals with nondegree credentials are more likely than those without to report their degrees were worth the cost, make them attractive job candidates, and helped them achieve their goals.”

You may want to explore non-degree programs purely for personal enrichment, because you’re a lifelong learner, or to gain a new skill or explore a hobby. Nothing is stopping you from starting a program as soon as you’re ready - programs often have multiple start dates throughout the year and can be an ideal way to take the first step into a new academic or career area without committing to an entire degree program.

Increasingly employers are moving beyond traditional degrees in higher education to include certificates, certifications and other trainings in their tuition reimbursement programs. “The work to upskill is all about retention, career mobility and building future leaders,” (Forbes 2022). At EdAssist, we’re fortunate to have partners in its education network committed to offering you a variety of high quality, flexible non-degree offerings through their workforce benefits.

Just a few of the non-degree offerings at partner institutions* include:

The Alamo Colleges District - a leader in micro-credentials and upskill offerings - offers non-credit, online, on-demand certificates in high demand fields. Certificates are offered in areas including Cybersecurity, Data Science and Analysis, Project Management, and Software Development and Product Design. Programs are designed to be affordable, quick, and prepare you with job-ready skills.

eCornell, Cornell University’s external education unit provides over 200 non-credit executive development and online certificate programs. Certificate start dates are year-round and many can be completed in just 3-4 courses. Subjects are wide-ranging, and include areas like Real Estate Development, Marketing, Wines of Spain and Portugal, Accounting, Digital Photography and more.

Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies offers short-term (2-7 weeks) professional workshops in high demand areas including Python Basics for Data Analysis and Sustainability. Workshops are all currently open for enrollment. The Spring 2023 are all offered in a live-online format, where class is held in live Zoom sessions (EST).

Thomas Edison State University offers for-credit, undergraduate certificates, in over 20 subject areas, including Electronics, Finance, Gas Distribution, and Labor Studies. Most certificates are 18 credits and provide students with a solid foundation in a chosen area of study, or major, and are designed to transfer into a degree program at Thomas Edison State University.

Through its School of Extended Education, University of Massachusetts Global offers exam preparation for certifications in areas including Six Sigma Green Belt, Six Sigma Yellow Belt and CompTIA A+.  CEUs or credits may be earned upon completion, depending on the course.

At EdAssist, we believe you are unstoppable in your career and your education. EdAssist is here to support you as you explore any non-degree options.  If you have any specific questions related to your organization’s education program, please see details provided on your education benefit homepage or reach out to our coaching team and / or contact us via LiveChat. 

*Some providers in the Education Network may not be eligible under your employer’s program guidelines. Please consult your employer policy to confirm which providers and programs will be eligible for tuition benefits.



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