Skip to Main Content Skip to bottom Skip to Chat, Email, Text

Browse by category

Browse by Category

Life as a Phoenix

Learn from our students and alumni who pursued their educational goals at University of Phoenix while balancing school, work and life.

Different types of certificate programs

By University of Phoenix

At a glance

  • Certificates can teach students specific skills and knowledge on an accelerated timeline.
  • To decide if a certificate is right for you, consider the time it requires, the cost and the professional development opportunities it can impact.
  • University of Phoenix offers 45 online certificate options in a variety of disciplines. Many can help prepare students to sit for industry certifications.

Earning a certificate can be an effective and efficient way to learn new skills quickly. The right certificate can help students of all skill levels gain knowledge in a certain field. Many certificate programs are designed to be completed in less time than a degree, which is helpful for those seeking to add to their resumé without spending years on a program.

Certificates can also be an asset when it comes to potential career prospects. Employers often look for candidates who have specific skills and sometimes those can be provided by certificates. Obtaining a credential that demonstrates your skills and knowledge can occasionally help toward attracting recruiting and hiring managers.

More than 100 degrees and certificate options — 80% of which are in high-growth fields. Learn more. 


Unlike a college degree, a certificate program teaches specific skills on an accelerated timeline. Certificates are generally less expensive than a full degree program and allow students to begin work in the professional world after a shorter learning period. By contrast, a degree program typically takes years to complete and provides more comprehensive coursework.

The criteria for earning a certificate can vary depending on your field and chosen certificate program. However, most programs require that students participate in regular coursework, pass tests and complete a final project or assessment. Some programs also have a hands-on lab component where students practice newfound skills in a real-world environment.

Certificate programs are available in a wide variety of industries. These include professional fields like accounting and management, technical fields like welding and engineering, and even continuing education in fields like real estate and nursing.

Online certificates

Colleges, universities and other institutions offer online certificates to students who want to learn remotely. These programs offer the same value as an in-person certificate while allowing students more flexibility and convenience in their schedules.

More than 75% of today’s learners said they would consider some form of digital education, making online certificates a great option for students looking to quickly enter the workforce or upskill. With a sufficient internet connection, the right communication tools and personal dedication, students can obtain an industry-respected certificate through an online provider.

Students can research different programs to find a certificate that fits their budget, career goals and timeline. Once you’ve found a program that checks all the boxes, you can typically apply online. Students may need to submit transcripts, test scores, recommendations, financial details or other items during the application process.

Depending on your preferred online certificate program, you may need to take an entrance exam as well. Some institutions use entrance exams to decide whether to accept a student. Other institutions use an entrance test only to determine your level of skill in a particular field. University of Phoenix does not require such exams.

Once accepted into a certificate program, students begin to receive a wide variety of educational benefits. You’ll receive cost-effective, convenient education from licensed instructors — all without the need to relocate or commute to campus.

In-person certificates

An in-person certificate program provides accelerated education in a traditional, on-campus setting. Students who pursue an in-person certificate will typically travel to a campus and learn directly from an instructor, often in a classroom with other learners.

Despite the commute, in-person programs offer a variety of benefits. Students can learn directly from an instructor in the same room. Unlike some online certificate programs where students watch on-demand recordings, students in an in-person program can ask questions, request clarification and interact with instructors and peers in real time.

Some in-person programs offer opportunities for hands-on learning. Students can use campus resources, including computers, software programs, libraries or other facilities to develop new skills in new ways.

Prerequisites for an in-person certificate vary, depending on your field and program. Many programs require that students meet educational requirements like completing a high school diploma, a GED diploma or a bachelor’s degree. Many certificate programs also prefer students with work experience who have passed an entrance exam. Some programs also interview potential students and perform background checks before allowing them to enroll.

University certificate programs

Colleges or universities often sponsor certificate programs directly, offering students an alternative form of education when learning skills for the professional world. These programs are often shorter and more focused than a traditional college degree and are intended to help students develop skills.

University certificate programs are built for students looking to potentially change their career path or achieve even more skills in their current path. These students participate in university-sponsored certificate programs to strengthen or refresh their skills, fill a skill gap and gain credentials in their industry.

University certificate program availability can depend on the university and the popularity of the program. Some universities offer certificate programs on a regular basis, while others wait for programs to fill before beginning. Other university certificate programs are offered at specific times of the year.

Many students prefer university certificates because they can apply scholarship funds or financial aid to their tuition. You may be able to make your preferred university certificate program more affordable through private financial aid, which is available through university packages. Students can sometimes use scholarships, grants or work-study programs to lower program enrollment costs as well.

read similar articles

What is tuition assistance? (And does your employer offer it?)

Benefits of pursuing a certificate

Gaining a certificate is a positive step that helps students in their careers and when applying for jobs. Certificate programs not only help students improve skills, but they also aid in developing new knowledge, potentially enhancing credibility and meeting others in the industry.

Choosing a certificate program that’s a fit for you

As mentioned, it is important to consider multiple factors when contemplating a certificate program. Depending on your career goals, preferred industry and other factors, one program might be better for you than another.

Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a certificate program:

  • Cost
  • Time commitment
  • Type of certificate (online, in-person or private)
  • Program reputation
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Career services
  • Certificate program instructors

These and other factors can help students determine whether a certificate program is worth pursuing. It’s also important to consider whether a program is flexible enough to accommodate your daily schedule. If you want to participate in a certificate program while maintaining a job, you’ll need to find a program that’s available when you are.

Certificate programs at University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix offers 45 online certificate programs in several fields, including business, cybersecurity, health informatics, marketing and education. Discover which certificates may be right for you and your career goals!

Here are just several examples of useful certificates University of Phoenix offers:

Advanced Cybersecurity Certificate — Develop technical knowledge to step into the fast-growing field of IT security, including how to keep computer systems safe from data breaches and cyberattacks.

Advanced Software Developer Certificate — Develop programming, software engineering and IT architecture skills in as little as seven months. Learn to design and implement software solutions in relation to a project’s scope and stakeholder needs. Study multiple programming languages and software architecture principles.

Marketing Certificate — In as little as seven months, you can learn specialized skills such as designing product development strategies that deliver value to consumers and managing supply chains. Social media marketing is also addressed.

Financial Planning Certificate — Gain skills to help others navigate the world of investment and financial planning, including building personal finance plans, analyzing investments and managing portfolios.

Business Analytics Certificate — Learn about mining, analyzing and visualizing data as well as how to use data ethically and securely and applying data to core business functions. You can complete this program in as little as 11 months.

Medical Records Certificate — Learn the entry-level, technical aspects of medical insurance, billing, coding and claims processing in approximately 10 months online. This certificate prepares students to sit for the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam, a national certification offered through the National Healthcareer Association.


want to read more like this?

University of Phoenix logo


     About University of Phoenix

Rise like
a Phoenix

As pioneers in online higher education since 1989, University of Phoenix is an accredited online university for working adults. We are proud to offer quality educational pathways through flexible, career-focused online degrees, certificates and professional development courses that fit into your life and options to save you time and money. Our students are supported every step of the way, including career services for life.

Let us help you take the most direct path to your future career goals. We’re ready when you are.

Online degrees

More than 100 online programs aligned to 300+ occupations.

Online courses and certificates

Explore professional development and earn credentials.

Ways to save

Learn ways you can save as you pursue your goals.

Let us help you jumpstart your goals. Connect with us.