Educational technology plays an increasingly important role in formal educational settings like schools and universities. It is also used frequently by businesses and government agencies to facilitate employee training. However, many of these organizations do not understand best practices when it comes to introducing new technologies. Completion of an online graduate certificate in educational technology empowers teachers, educational administrators, and organizational trainers to deploy their high-tech skills for the benefit of others. Aside from jobs in education, the certificate can lead to lucrative careers in the private sector. For example, training and development managers can make around $106,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are the best educational technology certificate programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
2 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC
3 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
4 University of Georgia Athens, GA
5 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
6 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
7 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
8 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ
9 George Washington University Washington, DC
10 University of St Francis Joliet, IL

What Will I Learn in an Online Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Program?

Every online graduate certificate in educational technology is different, which is why you should carefully evaluate the curricula and requirements of each program. While certificates may differ in emphasis, all educational technology programs share common characteristics. For example, core courses will likely look at various instructional methods for conveying complex information and ideas, while also proposing ways to measure student outcomes. Below you will find a sample curriculum that showcases some common educational technology courses.

  • Instructional Design: This course covers best practices for planning, developing, and evaluating instructional materials. It teaches students how to assess learner needs and individual differences, plan educational outcomes, and sequence class instructions. Instructional design provides professional development tools to elementary, high school, and postsecondary teachers, allowing them to gain specialized knowledge about curriculum planning strategies.
  • Models and Innovations of Educational Technology: Understanding best practices in educational technology requires knowing how technology has been used in the past. This course explores the history of successful educational technology applications and the ways in which these applications have been improved. Students will also learn about emerging technologies and mobile devices, and the steps involved with creating educational technology applications for the future.
  • Online Teaching Methods: Teaching techniques that work in live classrooms do not always work, or are not always available, in online teaching settings. This course teaches the specific methods used by online teachers to convey information in virtual classrooms. It also gives hands-on instruction in using the most common online course management tools, such as Blackboard/WebCT.
  • Web Tools for Learning: This course explores the ways that the internet can be used to facilitate learning. It emphasizes web 2.0 technology and the use of online video to present educational materials. It also outlines the skills needed to evaluate and select web resources based on effective research strategies. Since corporate training is increasingly conducted online, this would be a useful class for training and development managers.

2020 Best Accredited Online Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Surveys report that 82% of UCF's student body of nearly 70,000 takes at least one online or hybrid course. The school's well-regarded online offerings include an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

The 15-credit online graduate certificate in instructional design and technology generally takes a year to complete, and suits K-12 teachers looking to further their credentials. Credits from the certificate program articulate with UCF's master's degree for the same major. Course topics include instructional system design, multimedia for education and training, and integration of technology into the learning environment. The program meets national credentialing standards set by the International Society for Technology in Education.

UCF holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

2

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

With its rigorous online programs, NCSU maintains a reputation as one of the most prestigious state universities nationwide. The school offers an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

The 15-credit online graduate certificate in teaching, training, and educational technology takes a year to complete. The program articulates with the master of education in training and development. Learners choose an area of specialization aligned with their needs such as instructional design, talent development, or e-learning/educational technology. Major course topics include teaching in the online environment, the adult learner, and organizing training and development programs.

Applicants must hold a 3.0 minimum GPA for consideration. NC State holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

3

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

With a mission focused on expanding the frontiers of knowledge, Johns Hopkins boasts practical yet academically challenging distance education programs. The school of education offers an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

Catering to teachers looking to bolster their technology skills, the 15-credit part-time certificate in leadership in technology integration takes 1-3 years to complete. Course topics include advanced applications in digital learning, data-driven decision making, and technology leadership for school improvement. Credits from the graduate certificate apply toward the educational technology concentration and individualized study program for the master of science in education.

The school offers a webinar for prospective learners on the program website. Johns Hopkins holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

4

University of Georgia

Athens, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Established in 1785, UGA numbers among the oldest and most respected public universities in the nation. The school's dedication to affordable education encompasses many online programs, including an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

The 15-credit certificate in instructional technology applies largely to non-degree-seeking students. Major course topics include an introduction to computer-based education, multicultural perspectives in technology, and technology-enhanced learning environments. Completion of the program along with a culminating capstone project qualifies graduates to receive the Georgia Professional Standards Commission's professional certification in instructional technology.

Non-degree-seeking learners may apply to the program without submitting test scores or letters of recommendation. UGA holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

5

University of Illinois at Springfield

Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

Founded in 1969, UIS serves approximately 5,400 students, many of them through its online programs. The school's affordable online offerings include an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

The 24-credit certificate takes two years to complete, and articulates with the online master of arts in education. Course topics for the major encompass online teaching and learning, foundations for technology in the curriculum, and instructional design for technology. The certificate qualifies graduates to apply for the Illinois PK-12 educational technology specialist endorsement.

The school expects applicants to hold accrued educational experience, but does not require a teaching certificate. Learners must maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA to graduate. UIS holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

6

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Appalachian began as a teachers' college in 1899 in Boone, North Carolina. The school now features a range of fully online educational degrees, including an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

Part-time students may complete the 18-credit certificate in instructional technology leadership in one year. Course topics for the major include planning for instructional plan initiatives, research for instructional technology leadership, and critical perspectives in new media and literacies. Credits taken towards the certificate also count towards Appalachian's doctoral degree in educational leadership. The certificate prepares graduates for professional licensure in many states.

Online learners access courses blending asynchronous and synchronous formats through the AsULearn portal. Appalachian holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

7

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

UND serves a student body of approximately 14,000 and offers more than 250 degrees and certificates, many of them available fully online. The school currently features an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

Catering to working professionals who already hold or do not need a master's, the 12-credit certificate in instructional design and technology typically takes one year to complete. The program offers three concentrations based on learners' unique needs: K-12 technology integration, corporate training and performance, and e-learning. Course topics encompass instructional systems analysis and design, human performance technology, and web-based instruction.

Online students access course materials emphasizing synchronous, real-time discussion through the Blackboard learning portal. UND holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

8

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

One of the oldest and largest postsecondary institutions in its home state, Rutgers embraces distance education with its practical online degrees and certificates. The school's online graduate certificate in educational technology merits consideration from working professionals on a budget.

Tailored toward K-12 teachers, postsecondary instructors, and school administrators augmenting their skillset with digital learning tools, the nine-credit certificate takes one year to complete. The program follows a cohort model integrating collaborative activities with real-world projects.

The curriculum consists of three courses, usually taken in sequence. Topics cover teaching with digital tools, web-based multimedia design for educators, and developing digital e-learning environments.

Rutgers holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

9

George Washington University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

Established in 1821 in the nation's capital city, GW offers 70 online degrees and certificates that target the needs of working and nontraditional learners, including an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

Applicable to a variety of roles, the 18-credit certificate in educational technology leadership takes 1.5 years to complete. Common careers for certificate holders include instructional technology supervisor, school technology specialist, or teacher augmenting their course with technology. The curriculum covers topics including managing computer applications, leadership and education, and trends and issues in educational technology. All courses in the program apply toward GW's master's in educational technology leadership.

Online students access asynchronous coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. GW holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

10

University of St Francis

Joliet, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

A private school with its main campus based in Joliet, Illinois, USF boasts a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. This personalized learning experience enhances the school's online programs, including an online graduate certificate in educational technology.

The 12-credit certificate in instructional design for online learning suits working professionals aiming to enhance their credentials. The four required courses cover topics such as facilitating e-learning, management of e-learning, and development of multimedia materials. Graduates may apply all credit from the graduate certificate toward a master's at USF.

Online students access coursework through the Canvas portal asynchronously. The school requires learners to complete all coursework with a 3.0 minimum GPA within three years to graduate. USF holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

What Can I Do With a Certificate in Educational Technology?

Online graduate certificate in educational technology programs are useful for several career tracks. Elementary and high school educators can learn to integrate new technologies into classrooms, and may want to understand how cutting-edge technology can improve learning outcomes. Certificate programs also produce competent online instructors, which is useful since the demand for online postsecondary instruction is growing. Below are some some common career paths for those pursuing online graduate certificates in education technology.

High School Teacher

High school teachers instruct students in academic and life skills that will benefit them in adulthood. They prepare and teach lessons, assign and grade homework, and administer assessments that measure student learning needs and outcomes.

Median Annual Salary: $58,030

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators oversee the development and assessment of educational materials. They work with teachers, principals, and other educational leaders to implement lessons that meet student learning objectives.

Median Annual Salary: $62,460

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Postsecondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers instruct students who have graduated from high school in a range of academic and technical subjects. They also advise students, fulfil administrative duties, and conduct academic research.

Median Annual Salary: $75,430

Projected Growth Rate: 13%

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary teachers instruct students who have graduated from high school in a range of academic and technical subjects. They also advise students, fulfil administrative duties, and conduct academic research.

Median Annual Salary: $75,430

Projected Growth Rate: 13%

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary education administrators are responsible for providing various forms of student support services at colleges and universities. They may also support the research activities of faculty and other staff members.

Median Annual Salary: $90,760

Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers design and implement courses that teach necessary skills to employees and new recruits. They usually work outside of academia in corporate, nonprofit, or governmental settings.

Median Annual Salary: $105,830

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Accreditation for Graduate Certificate Programs

Accreditation is the main way of guaranteeing the quality of your online graduate certificate in educational technology. It is a process in which an external accrediting agency reviews an educational institution's admissions and curriculum policies, and determines whether they meet predetermined criteria for rigor and excellence. Accreditation matters because it allows students to transfer credits to new programs, secure financial aid, and gain recognition from potential employers. While the U.S. Department of Education does not engage in accreditation directly, it maintains a list of reputable accrediting agencies. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation also maintains a database of accredited schools and programs.

There are two main kinds of accreditation. Traditionally, nonprofit, degree-granting institutions receive regional accreditation, whereas for-profit, career-preparatory institutions receive national accreditation. Although regional accreditation is more prestigious, national accreditation might be more appropriate for certain kinds of institutions, such as those engaged primarily in online education. In the field of education, look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). While certificate programs are not always accredited like degree programs, online certificate programs offered by institutions with education departments endorsed by CAEP or NCATE are likely to be of the highest quality.

Financing Your Online Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Program

Despite the popularity of online graduate certificate in educational technology programs, they can be difficult to finance. Federal student loan programs are usually only available for degree programs, and many certificate programs do not qualify. However, anyone interested in this course of study should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study awards. Since the skills learned in this program are in high demand, some employers may offer tuition reimbursement. Private student loans are also be a good option for some students, although they may charge higher interest rates.


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