careers

Looking For a Way to Learn New Skills? Consider a Certificate 

Tiffany Stronghart & Brandon Arbuckle May 9, 2024
hands typing on laptop keyboard with images of certificates and electronic badges

If you’re looking for a cost-effective and flexible way to show employers that you’ve learned a certain skill set and are capable of taking on projects that require training in fields like sustainability, financial technology, health care informatics, IT management, digital marketing and more, you might want to consider continuing your education by taking courses that lead to a certificate. 

Whether you’re interested in upskilling, earning a certificate to give you more credibility on the job, or earning a stackable certificate with the goal of receiving a master’s degree, the Universities of Wisconsin offer a variety of certificate programs in topic areas including business, science, technology, and healthcare–all completed entirely online. 

The benefits of these certificate programs include:

  1. A flexible schedule. You can continue working full-time while completing coursework. UW Extended Campus and UW Flexible Option certificates offer a 100 percent remote learning format perfect for busy, working adults.
  2. The ability to showcase your certificates on your resume, Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn profile (some come with electronic badges specifically for this purpose) to boost your marketability. Many employers view these credentials as a commitment to lifelong learning, which can be necessary in today’s work environment, and you’re signaling to employers that you are on top of the latest trends and willing to improve your skills. For example, the Health Sciences bachelor’s degree program through UW Flexible Option features the Health Care Informatics certificate which can be earned with the degree by choosing your electives. Students can also earn the Interprofessional Leadership in Healthcare Microcredential, which includes an electronic badge through UW-Milwaukee. Both can be earned without completing the degree program.
  3. The latest skills and industry knowledge. Many certificates are developed with industry partners, which means that the skills and knowledge in these programs are based on best practices, and align with current and future trends in the workplace. For example, the Digital Marketing Management Graduate Certificate and the Digital Marketing Analytics Graduate Certificate were developed with the Digital Marketing Institute and American Marketing Association. Students in these programs may also have an opportunity to earn professional certifications from these organizations if they choose. In addition, their enrollment includes a membership, access to content and the cost to sit for the certification exam.
  4. Cost savings. If a master’s degree program isn’t financially feasible, a certificate can be a cost-effective option. If your employer’s tuition reimbursement program has a limited professional development budget, you may be able to receive their approval for financial assistance to complete a certificate as opposed to a full degree program right off the bat. 

Certificates can also help you connect your current skill set to one you hope to acquire, even if they are in two different fields. Tayler Roal, a Sustainability and Well-Being certificate graduate, completed the program while working on his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from UW-Stout. Roal, who is a disabled veteran, wanted to maximize his educational opportunities while receiving funding for tuition through the GI Bill program. 

As someone interested in both art and the environment, Tayler was able to apply what he learned in the graduate certificate program for his MFA thesis, which is focused on art and sustainability. He’s opened up a gallery at the local VA hospital in Neenah, Wisconsin, featuring paintings on artist’s conks and has also gotten involved in his local community’s sustainability committee. Tayler aspires to be an art director, where he hopes to create art in sustainable mediums.

Kara Winzenreid, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences: Diagnostic Imaging, also completed the Health Care Informatics Certificate with her degree. And it’s paid off—she’s already leveraged her coursework into a new role as a Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACs) administrator—a job she started even before finishing the program. 

Kara, who worked in diagnostic imaging for 15 years (two years in x-ray, 13 in ultrasound), wanted a bachelor’s degree so she could transition into a PACs administrator role.

“I knew I wanted to do some sort of healthcare informatics position. I wasn’t looking for a management position; I was looking for something in IT. So being able to hold up this certificate and be like, ‘Hey, not only do I have a bachelor’s degree and 15 years’ experience, I even have this certificate saying that I’ve completed training in this specific field.’ Add to the fact that it was only two additional classes for me to get that certificate, [and] it was a no-brainer.”

Working professionals today often need more than just a bachelor’s degree to succeed in their field or earn promotions. Whether it’s an opportunity to upskill, or transition into a new field, the need for educational opportunities without the commitment of a graduate degree–in the form of microcredentials or a certificate–is growing. 

In response to market demand, the Universities of Wisconsin launched 11 new certificate programs this past year in science, business, technology, and healthcare. Each program consists of courses that can be completed 100 percent online and at the student’s convenience. Universities of Wisconsin certificate programs are designed for busy, working adults who need flexible schedules to accommodate their educational needs.

Get Degree Guide

Learn more about our 100% online degree and certificate programs.

Are you interested in learning more about our certificates? Check out our list of available programs or contact an enrollment adviser today at 1-608-800-6762 or learn@uwex.wisconsin.edu.

Programs: Biodiversity Conservation and Management, Data Science, Digital Marketing, Financial Technology, Health and Wellness Management, IT Management, Senior Living and Services Leadership, Sustainability and Well-being, Sustainable Management