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Nearly every industry uses technology, and aspiring technology professionals can enter the workforce through various pathways. Many choose the route of a technology-related degree, but learners can also pursue a technology certificate. Certificates may help graduates launch entry-level careers, specialize in a subfield, or further develop and advance their careers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the information technology industry boasts a median annual wage more than double the figure for all occupations. Additionally, the BLS projects 11% job growth for this field between 2019 and 2029.
Read on for more information about technology certificates and careers, along with our ranking of the best programs in the field. Also, check out our technology certificate program guide.
What Are the Best Online Certificate in Technology Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Rowan-Cabarrus Community College||Salisbury, NC|
|2||Seminole State College of Florida||Sanford, FL|
|3||University of Virginia-Main Campus||Charlottesville, VA|
|4||St Petersburg College||Clearwater, FL|
|5||Lenoir Community College||Kinston, NC|
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2021 Best Online Accredited Certificate in Technology Programs
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Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
|Salisbury, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Located in Salisbury, North Carolina, RCCC offers various online technology-based certificate programs. The curriculum covers topics, such as fire protection technology, criminal justice technology, and IT.
While students choose from a relatively deep catalog of technology certificates, information technology tracks are noticeably prominent. Interested learners choose from at least nine IT specializations, including Cisco networking, database administration, and network security administration.
Students can complete these flexible and affordable certificates in technology online, on campus, and through blended learning. RCCC uses the Blackboard platform for online coursework, and online students must meet prerequisite requirements to ensure their success in a distance learning format.
Seminole State College of Florida
|Sanford, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Seminole State offers an IT client specialist technical certificate that students can complete through in-person, hybrid, or entirely online formats. In addition to preparing for associate and bachelor's programs, learners gain the technical expertise needed to pursue careers in various client environments.
Over two semesters, certificate-seekers tackle required classes, such as network and computer maintenance and repair, network concepts and operating systems, and principles of computer programming. Seminole State also offers certificates in tech-related areas like IP communications, network server administration, and network infrastructure.
Prospective students need a high school or GED diploma. Before enrolling, applicants must submit official transcripts and provide official documentation of residency to receive in-state tuition rates.
University of Virginia-Main Campus
|Charlottesville, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 94%||
UVA offers an entirely online certificate in technology. UVA designed this program for a variety of learners, including liberal arts graduates, working professionals, and career changers interested in entering the IT field.
The program typically takes students 18 months to complete. Required courses include strategic business value of information technology, basics of web design, and database management and business analytics. Certificate-seekers complete five core courses and one elective. Popular electives include programming with Java, agile project management, and securing the cyber world.
Prospective students need a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must submit academic transcripts and complete an application to establish Virginia residency to receive in-state tuition rates.
St Petersburg College
|Clearwater, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, SPC offers various online IT certificate programs. Designed to arm learners with advanced technical skills, these programs offer training in Adobe, Cisco, and Microsoft. Many SPC's certificate programs also provide a pathway towards earning associate and bachelor's degrees.
Fully online IT certificates include Cisco CCNA fundamentals, instructional design, and certified cloud security. Additionally, the school offers professional certifications in information systems security, cloud security, and IT fundamentals. Completely self-guided, online professional certification programs take six months to complete.
For students looking to offset the cost of their online certificate in technology, SPC maintains relationships with Tampa Bay TechHire and CareerSource Pinellas. These organizations work with eligible students to cover the costs of classes and certification examinations.
Lenoir Community College
|Kinston, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Based in Kingston, North Carolina, LCC offers an online information technology diploma. This online certificate in technology combines six credits of general education coursework with 37 credits focusing on computer engineering. Students can complete this 43-credit track in just three semesters.
Technical core courses cover topics, such as introduction to computers, information systems business concepts, and network and security foundation. In addition to broader survey courses, certificate-seekers gain technical training in areas like spreadsheets, Linux, and hardware and software support.
LCC uses Moodle as its online learning platform. Students complete synchronous and asynchronous coursework and engage with their classmates through live lectures and discussion forums.
Daytona State College
|Daytona Beach, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Daytona State provides a flexible and affordable online accounting technology management certificate. The curriculum provides learners with the theoretical and practical tools they need when entering the accounting field. While this is a terminal certificate program, credits may also apply toward an associate degree.
Learners complete foundational courses like principles of financial accounting, principles of finance, and personal income tax. Students can graduate in two semesters. Students also tackle classes, such as computerized spreadsheet, office accounting, and business information processing.
Prospective students must complete an online application and submit official high school transcripts or a GED diploma before enrolling.
Pitt Community College
|Winterville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
Located in Winterville, North Carolina, PCC offers an entirely online web administration and design diploma. Designed to prepare students with the technical training needed for careers in various digital professions, this program emphasizes essential computer skills.
Major areas of study include web content development tools, web design, and marketing and analytics. Additionally, students gain technical proficiency in cascading style sheets, mobile app development, and graphics and multimedia. In addition to an online web administration and design diploma, PCC offers technical IT certifications in C++ programming, Java programming, and web design.
Prospective students must hold a high school or GED diploma. To assist students in choosing the best delivery method for them, PCC encourages incoming students to complete an online readiness assessment.
College of the Albemarle
|Elizabeth City, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
Preparing graduates for careers in the tech sector, COA offers an online workplace IT professional certificate program that focuses on teaching the technical skills needed to design and manage complex information systems. Students complete coursework in fundamental IT areas, including database services, system administration, and software development.
Certificate-seekers complete courses, such as operating systems concepts, network and security foundations, and project management. The 27 credits earned during this certificate program can apply toward an associate degree in IT project management. Most students graduate in two semesters.
Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and provide COA with official transcripts before enrolling.
Randolph Community College
|Asheboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
RCC offers three IT certificates: support specialist, virtualization specializations specialist, and network and cybersecurity specialist. Requiring 15-18 credits, most certificates take 2-3 semesters to complete. Courses that overlap between specializations include introduction to networks, network and security foundations, and hardware and software support.
RCC uses Moodle for online course content. Students primarily complete self-directed, asynchronous coursework. Some hybrid courses are available, and online students can still interact with their peers through discussion boards. Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma.
Central Piedmont Community College
|Charlotte, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, CPCC offers eight online information technology certificates, including programs in web development fundamentals, IT business analytics, and cybersecurity. Each certificate requires 12-18 credits of coursework.
Most students graduate within one year. Core information technology classes include operating systems and device foundations, network and security foundations, and information systems business concepts. CPCC's IT curriculum leans heavily toward project-based learning that challenges learners to solve professional problems.
CPCC also offers various opportunities for students to enhance their experience through tech-based clubs and organizations, volunteer experiences, and networking opportunities.
What Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Technology Program?
In more advanced information technology certificates, coursework may focus on specialized subdisciplines, such as programming, cybersecurity, data analytics, and software development.
Technology certificates can look significantly different from each other depending on various factors. Certificates typically require 9-45 credits, meaning students usually graduate in 2-18 months.
In more advanced information technology certificates, coursework may focus on specialized subdisciplines, such as programming, cybersecurity, data analytics, and software development. Entry-level certificates may offer courses for students with no higher education experience or for professionals looking to add new skills.
While technology certificates do not lead to degrees, they can contribute to them. Many programs award undergraduate or graduate credits that students can use as transfer credits for a degree. Some certificate programs may help degree-seekers meet the admission requirements for a technology-related degree.
As always, students should ensure the technology certificate they choose provides the appropriate blend of theoretical and practical training needed. Prospective students should look at internship and lab opportunities, as practical training can prove essential in the technology field. Similarly, when choosing an online technology certificate, distance learners should examine on-campus requirements and make sure they can meet them.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Certificate in Technology Program?
The courses students take in an online technology certificate depend on the type of program they select. Certificates may focus on introductory training, specializations, or graduate-level courses. Though courses vary, the following list highlights some of the more common certificate courses.
- Computer Networks
Students in a computer networks course learn how to set up and maintain various networks for organizations. Covered topics may include network design, installation, upgrades, and security. Learners may also look at ways of assessing network performance and identifying possible improvements.
Programming courses may cover beginner and advanced topics, teaching students to follow design plans, diagnose problems, and troubleshoot issues. Advanced courses may delve into design strategies and more specialized programming languages.
- Database Systems
Database systems courses may teach students how to design, implement, operate, and secure database systems. Learners may explore programming languages used for these systems, along with methods and programs to analyze and make use of the information.
- Broadcast Technology
In broadcast technology courses, students engage with various technologies used by professionals in the industry. They may learn the different stages in the production chain, major products and services, traditional media forms, and emerging technologies. Courses may cover various types of broadcast or focus on radio, television, or motion pictures.
- Manufacturing Processes
Manufacturing processes courses familiarize students with major technologies and systems in the industry. Learners examine how these processes and technologies work and how they impact production.
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What Can I Do With an Online Certificate in Technology?
A technology certificate can lead to entry or advancement in the technology field. The BLS projects 11% job growth for computer occupations between 2019 and 2029, nearly three times faster than the average rate for all occupations.
Much of the demand in technology stems from the intersection with business occupations. Graduates with a technology certificate can also apply their training and skills to business or pursue careers in any field that leverages technological skills.
Discover how an online technology certificate can impact your life. Learn more about technology careers.
- Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists may perform various roles for organizations, including providing technical support for staff and consumers. They often work with a specific type of computer software or application.
- Web Developer
Web developers create websites for organizations based on design, organizational, and consumer needs. They may help organizations upgrade their website's technical specifications or monitor user activity.
- Broadcast and Video Technician
Broadcast and video technicians handle equipment for various broadcasts and performances. They operate audio and lighting boards, oversee video quality, and troubleshoot issues.
- Computer Programmer
Computer programmers write program code. They test code, make adjustments, troubleshoot issues, and make improvements based on designer and user needs.
- Computer Systems Managers
Computer systems managers handle an organization's computer needs, supervising information technology staff, upgrading and securing technology, and planning and organizing technology-related operations.
Technology Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate in Technology Programs
- What is technology?
Technology is the equipment and processes that people use to improve lives and solve problems. Technology is the result of scientific knowledge and advancements, and it can be used in almost any profession and industry. While technology makes jobs and processes easier, proper usage usually requires advanced training.
- What industries can I work in with a technology certificate?
Technology certificates can lead to careers in most industries. Though information technology is among the largest and more common landing spots, graduates can also work in manufacturing, media and communication, and business and finance.
- Is a technology certificate worth it?
Technology certificates can lead to entry-level jobs and help experienced professionals advance their careers. These programs can help learners pick up new skills or develop a specialization, leading to increased salaries and responsibility.
- How long does it take to get a technology certificate?
It depends on the program. Some programs require only a few courses and can be completed in a few months, while others require several advanced courses and take more than one year to complete.
- How much money can I make with a technology certificate?