An online graduate educational technology certificate is ideal for teachers and support staff who want to engage students through technology as well as those who train or educate others in corporate, government, and nonprofit settings. This certificate, which may be part of a master’s program or function as a stand-alone professional credential, provides students with a foundation in the use of digital technology to support learning. Regardless of your career path, this graduate certificate can give you a competitive advantage in your job search or help advance your career.
How to Choose the Right Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Program
Graduate certificates in educational technology typically consist of 3-6 graduate-level classes. The number of required classes and when they are offered largely determine how long it will take you to complete a program. While it may be possible to finish in one semester of full-time study, most certificate programs are designed to be taken part time, over the course of a year or two.
Because educational technology graduate certificates emphasize the use of technology for learning, they are often available online . Many of these programs are designed for working professionals, and flexibility is a significant component of how classes are structured. Even online graduate educational technology certificates sometimes hold face-to-face meetings, however, so be sure you can travel to campus to meet any such requirements. Some programs also require a final capstone project where participants demonstrate mastery of the skills they acquired, although most do not include other field experience or internship requirements. For programs designed for teachers, credits earned can often be applied toward a master’s degree in education.
Employment and Salary Outlook for Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Graduates
Educational technology skills are increasingly in demand in educational settings. According to the BLS, high school teachers and training and development specialists earn an average salary of about $60,000 per year, and some training and development managers command six-figure salaries. With an above-average growth rate of 11%, job prospects are excellent, especially for those who can develop online and mobile programs.
Online learning is a rapidly growing field, and even teachers in traditional classrooms are faced with reaching students who come to class with laptops and smartphones. Young people today are digital natives, and teachers and trainers are increasingly required to integrate digital media into their lessons to reach them.
|Entry-Level (0-5 Years)||$48,000|
|Mid-Career (5-10 Years)||$54,000|
|Experienced (10-20 Years)||$58,000|
|Late Career (20+ Years)||$64,000|
Experts in educational technology can work in schools and businesses. Any teacher can benefit from integrating digital media into the classroom and in presentations to parents, community members, and other educators. Technology skills can also lead to higher pay and leadership opportunities.
Aside from schools, almost every company and organization trains employees or educates visitors or customers. Skilled corporate trainers, instructional designers, and managers can use educational technology to develop effective training materials and advance their careers in today’s increasingly digital world.
- High School Teacher
Many online graduate educational technology certificate programs are designed for teachers who wish to integrate digital media into their classroom instruction and communication with parents and colleagues.
- Technology Integration Specialist
Technology specialists work in schools to support teachers and students in their use of digital media. They suggest new ways to integrate technology in the classroom.
- Training and Development Specialist
Training specialists create and deliver programs that meet the needs of companies and their employees and customers. Increasingly, these programs use digital media and other forms of educational technology, and a graduate certificate can position trainers to integrate the latest techniques into their programs.
- Director of Educational Technology
These directors manage the use and integration of educational technology into training and instruction for schools, businesses, and other organizations. They oversee the work of technology specialists who support teachers, prepare trainings, and assess the needs of their organizations. A graduate certificate or degree is generally a requirement for this position.
- Instructional Designer
These professionals develop instructional materials that use technology like online courses. They work in schools, businesses, and government agencies. They sometimes work with subject matter experts to transform traditional classes into online courses. Most instructional designers have completed some graduate studies.
Accreditation for Educational Technology Programs
Accreditation demonstrates that a school or program meets a high standard of quality. When reviewing graduate schools, be sure to select one that is nationally or regionally accredited. You can more easily transfer credits from regionally accredited schools, something to consider should you ever wish to apply your graduate certificate toward a master’s degree.
Programs can also sometimes be accredited, and you may find graduate certificate programs within schools of education that are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the only organization to accredit educator preparation programs. Not all online graduate educational technology certificate programs will have programmatic accreditation, primarily if they are not designed for training teachers, but those are certified by CAEP may be more rigorous. Regardless, you should only consider programs offered by accredited schools.
Educational Technology Graduate Certificate Program Admissions
Many educational technology graduate certificate programs are offered online and require a GRE score, transcripts, and an undergraduate degree. Graduate programs in education typically require a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 or higher, especially for more competitive programs. If you plan to apply your certificate credits to a master’s degree, or if you apply to a more competitive certificate program, you may need to meet these requirements.
Look for certificates designed for those with your professional and educational background that will help you advance in your career. Consider whether you may someday want your certificate to be applied toward a master’s degree as you narrow your choices. Select a few programs to apply to that best suit your preferences.
- Application: Graduate schools typically maintain their own online applications to collect your personal information. These applications may take you several sessions to complete as you enter and carefully review all required information.
- Transcripts: Most graduate certificate programs require you to submit transcripts. If you need transcripts, contact all the schools you previously attended and request that they send official transcripts. They usually charge a small fee.
- Application Fee: Graduate certificate applications typically range from $40-$100. Some schools offer fee waivers to applicants with demonstrated financial need.
- Degree: Graduate certificate programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree.
- Minimum GPA: Many graduate certificate programs do not post a GPA requirement for applicants, although some may require a minimum GPA of 2.75.
What Else Can I Expect from a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Program?
Core Courses in an Educational Technology Graduate Certificate Program
Online graduate educational technology certificate programs differ somewhat in the courses they offer and require. Courses may vary by school, program, and purpose (e.g., careers in K-12 schools, college, industry). Required courses give participants a background in the theory and practice of integrating technology with teaching and learning, basic instructional design principles, and the latest technological tools used to create online learning materials. See sample courses listed below.
- Technology for Teaching and Learning
This course introduces the integration of technology in schools. Students explore how technology can enhance instruction and assessment in the classroom, including how to select appropriate software and digital media. This course may also address equity issues and the use of technology to meet diverse student needs.
- Instructional Design
This course introduces the instructional design model of assessing needs, designing training programs, and program evaluation. Students explore the impact of technology on instructional materials and design programs to fit the needs of learners.
- Web-based Instruction
Students explore theory, best practices, and challenges in Web-based education as they create effective online instructional materials. This course prepares students to use web and graphic design principles, internet resources, and web-authoring software to develop online courses that include opportunities for group collaboration.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology?
Most online graduate educational technology certificates consist of 15-18 credits. While it is possible to complete a graduate certificate program in one semester of full-time study, most are designed to be taken part time, over the course of a year or more. The length of time to complete a program depends on the number of courses it requires and when those courses are offered. If you are able to take more than one class at a time, you can finish in a year or less.
How Much Is a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology?
The most significant factors determining the cost of your online educational technology graduate certificate are the number of required courses and the graduate tuition rate at the school you select. Tuition rates vary, from about $300 per credit at a public university to $1,200 per credit at a private school. In addition to tuition, you will need to factor in travel costs (if you need to attend classes or meetings on campus), school fees, and books or other materials.
Financial aid is not usually available for graduate certificate programs. However, most educational technology graduate certificate programs are available part time and online so you can continue to work. Be sure to check with your employer to see if tuition assistance is available.
Professional Organizations in Educational Technology
Professional organizations provide those working in the field of educational technology with networking opportunities, professional development, professional standards, and other resources. Some associations provide updates on the latest research and strategies. Graduate students can use professional organizations to help them connect with more experienced professionals and look for employment opportunities.
Since 1923, AECT has served educational technology professionals working in schools, hospitals, libraries, and museums. It publishes two journals, holds an annual conference, and runs a graduate student assembly.
ISTE promotes standards aimed at helping educators redesign schools for the digital age. It connects educators with the latest strategies through an annual conference, books, journals, and professional development opportunities.
SEDTA supports state education agency leaders as they create and implement policies on the use of technology in schools. Its priorities include equity of access and navigating the digital shift. It offers conferences, webinars, and other public events.