The Best Online Certificate Programs

TBS Staff Writers
Updated February 26, 2024
Discover accredited online certificate programs and learn what credentials can advance your career with the skills learned from an accredited online degree.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

College certificates can lead to dream careers, specializations, and advancement opportunities. TheBestSchools’ online certificate guide can help you make the most of these credentials.

When considering an online certificate program, you need to analyze how the training can advance your career and if that outweighs the cost and sacrifices required to earn your credential. TheBestSchools has created detailed resources to walk you through the process of deciding whether to pursue a certificate, along with which disciplines to consider.

Our guides explore the differences between undergraduate and graduate certificates. We consider which credentials work best when entering the workforce or specializing within an industry. Finally, our guides include rankings to help prospective students choose the right program.

TheBestSchools offers insight on the best certificates within various fields, including healthcare, business, and education. Our resources explore the differences between certificates and degrees, along with their real-world applications. We also provide updates and the latest news and information on online colleges.

Deciding to Pursue an Online Certificate

The following links provide general information on the various college degree levels, along with their training and requirements. We also offer advice and factors to consider when choosing a college. Finally, discover a list of the most popular online colleges, along with a resource guide on how to use our rankings.

For prospective certificate students, the information here should serve as a helpful reference as you continue your certificate search. In the sections below, we explore specific types of certificates and provide in-depth information.

Business Management and Administration Certificates

Business students enjoy access to many certificate options. To help prospective learners sort through the many different programs, we provide general information on online business certificates. We also provide details and rankings on some of the business specializations available, including the best certificates in accounting, human resources, and project management.

While not an exhaustive list, these links examine some of the more popular business certificates. We discuss the educational requirements within these fields and highlight some of the possible career opportunities available to graduates. Readers can also learn more about the schools and programs that stand out within each field.

Computer Science and Information Technology Certificates

The computer science and information technology industry offers certificates for various levels and specializations. The industry’s high skill requirements and diverse subdisciplines allow schools to offer specialized training through certificates.

Readers can find details on online computer programming certificates and online IT certificates. We also explore available career pathways, provide rankings of the best programs in these fields, and offer some guidance on how prospective students can choose their programs based on their specific interests and goals.

Computer-Aided Design Certificates

In fields like computer-aided design (CAD), certificates may represent one of the most direct routes to the profession. Prospective students need to know what these certificates offer and how they differ from degrees. The following link provides information on this topic, along with a ranking of the best online CAD drafting certificates.

In addition to highlighting the top schools and programs in this field, our guide explores the certificate curriculum in more detail. We also highlight postgraduate opportunities and provide some suggestions for prospective students to consider.

Healthcare, Nutrition, and Medical Assistant Certificates

Some healthcare certificates provide the necessary skills and training to acquire entry-level positions, such as online certificates for medical assistants, medical office administration, and medical coding. For these fields, our guides showcase typical training and available career pathways.

Other credentials allow medical professionals to specialize or expand their skill sets, such as online sonography and ultrasound certificates, online health nutrition certificates, and online healthcare certificates. Our guides outline entry requirements and rank the best options available.

Certificates for Career Paths in the Trades

Not every student suits the traditional university and college pathway. Trade schools offer practical, career-based training that can lead to some of the most in-demand professions. Our resource pages can help you determine if trade school is right for you and show you the benefits and drawbacks of trade school vs. college.

TheBestSchools aims to inform prospective students about trade school and professional pathways for trade school graduates. We host information and rankings on the best culinary and automotive mechanic schools in the country, along with details about construction and skilled trade careers.

Pursuing an Online Certificate

While certificates at online colleges provide the same credentials as on-campus programs, training can differ significantly. Online education delivers several advantages, such as more accessible programs and less travel, but students should also keep some specific considerations in mind during their search.

Our resources include an online education checklist and a list of essential tools for online students. We also break down the differences between for-profit vs. community colleges and asynchronous vs. synchronous delivery. Aspiring online learners can use these tips and guides to make the most informed decisions on their future.

Paying for Your Certificate

Paying for any postsecondary training can be very challenging, but students have access to several forms of aid. We have created resources to help prospective learners understand their options and find the most appropriate assistance.

In the following links, you can learn about different pathways to pay for online college. We also have guides covering college finances, student loans, and college scholarships. Reach out to your school’s financial services department for more information.

Recent Publications for Prospective Certificate Students

Changes can come swiftly in the education world, and staying updated on the latest news can keep you ahead of the developments. Here, you will find links to our most recent posts on TheBestSchools’ blog, which includes helpful guides and resources for all types of learners.

Bookmark this page and check in to find the newest information, expert interviews, and advice columns for current and prospective certificate students.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pursuing an Online Certificate

What Certificates Can I Get Online?

Online students can access most certificates online, including business, healthcare, and IT certificates. Many schools now offer online courses and programs.

Can I Do Certificate Courses Online?

Yes. Many certificate courses run online. Most certificates that do not require practical training often have an online equivalent.

What Certificates Can I Get Online for Free?

While plenty of schools offer free online courses, most certificates require payment. Please note that certificate programs differ from certifications. Schools offer certificates, while third-party organizations deliver certifications.

Header Image Credit: brankokosteski | Getty Images

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