Best Online Certificate in Technology Programs

Read up on technology certificates and the careers that graduates can pursue. Learn which schools offer this training and where they rank among the best online certificates in technology.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published on June 20, 2022

Edited by Amelia Buckley
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Certificates in technology perform many functions for current and aspiring professionals. The training provides students with access to entry-level careers, specialized technology training, and professional advancement opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% growth in computer and information technology occupations between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average projected growth rate for all occupations. Furthermore, the 2021 median annual salary of $97,430 for these professionals is more than double the median annual salary for all occupations.

Here, we examine the type of training provided by an online certificate program in technology and what paths it opens within this promising sector. We also highlight our ranked list of programs offered by the top online schools in the country and the process and requirements for entering them.

What Is an Online Certificate in Technology Program?

An online certificate in technology provides condensed training in a general or specialized technology discipline at the undergraduate or graduate levels. Certificate programs typically focus on career-based skills and training, preparing students for fast and direct entry into a specific profession.

While the terms are used interchangeably in some cases, certificates, certifications, and licenses can differ substantially, primarily based on who provides the credentials. For example, certificates come from colleges and universities, featuring overlapping courses with bachelor's and master's programs. Conversely, certifications come from professional organizations, and licenses come from state governments.

What Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Technology Program?

The structure of an online certificate in technology program varies by school. They usually feature between 12-18 credits and take students 3-6 months to complete. Learners can find certificates in many topics, including general computer science programs and specialized programs in web development, networking, and programming.

Certificates in technology may also help professionals from other industries, such as healthcare and business, add technological skills. Certificate programs usually emphasize vocational training, equipping learners with the fundamental knowledge and the practical skills necessary for the field. Students also complete college and university credits in certificate programs that they may apply to degrees at a later date.

While many certificates feature coursework only, they usually have a heavy emphasis on practical training. Technology certificate courses feature extensive hands-on training and applications. Students may also encounter internship-based certificate programs or certificates with practicums embedded in them.

A certificate in technology is typically too condensed and focused to have concentrations built in. Students can, however, use certificates as their own concentration. For example, after completing a general technology degree, learners can pursue a certificate in a specialized discipline that complements their previous training.

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Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Certificate in Technology Program?

Systems Security

In this course, students learn how to secure various computer systems using the latest cybersecurity technologies and strategies. Learners also explore methods for vulnerability detection and risk assessment.

Enterprise Computer Systems

Students in this course may learn how to manage or even design complex enterprise computer systems. They may explore the networking, security, and administration components of these systems.

Front-End Web Development

This course examines the languages and technologies used in front-end web development, including HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Students may also look at topics like architecture, application development, and development workflow.

UX Design

In this course, students learn how design professionals build intuitive systems and applications that users want to engage with. They look at strategies and practices for designing, testing, and building interactive media on various mediums, such as websites and mobile applications.

Python Programming

Students in this course study the Python programming language, learning how to create readable and functional code for various purposes. They learn to create the basic structures, integrate data structures, and apply graphic elements to their designs.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Certificate in Technology Program?

The application process varies by school and certificate program. For entry into an online certificate in technology at the undergraduate level, prospective students typically need a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Schools may require candidates to have a competitive GPA or submit college entrance exam scores as well.

At the graduate level, the admission requirements usually include a bachelor's degree, often in a specific discipline. Like undergraduate programs, graduate programs may only admit applicants with strong GPAs and test scores. Prerequisite courses may also be required in certain disciplines.

Certificate programs may have other application requirements that mirror degree programs. These may include letters of recommendation and college application essays.

What Can I Do With an Online Certificate in Technology Degree?

Career Outlook

In an online certificate in technology, learners receive training in many areas of the technology sector. Professionals can develop new skills or expand their expertise in in-demand segments of the field, including data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and design.

The BLS projects 13% growth in computer and information technology occupations between 2020 and 2030, five percentage points higher than the average projected growth rate for all occupations. That works out to more than 660,000 new jobs in the field over the decade, many of which certificate-holders are qualified for.

The wages in this field depend on numerous factors. As per the BLS, the median annual salary for computer and information technology professionals was $97,430 in May 2021, more than $50,000 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations. Learners should note that many of these high-paying positions may require a bachelor's or master's degree.

Discover where an online certificate in technology can lead. Learn more about technology careers.

Career Paths

Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists provide technical support for computer users. They perform tests and maintenance and may specialize in certain areas, such as networks, security, or hardware and software components. Computer support specialists may access entry-level positions with a certificate in technology.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $57,910

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write and test the code for computer software and applications, using multiple languages or specializing in just one. They look for problematic code and areas they can improve and make more efficient. Programmers typically need a bachelor's degree at minimum, but certificates in technology can help them expand their skill sets.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $93,000

Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technician

Broadcast, sound, and video technicians operate and repair audio and visual equipment such as speakers, projectors, recording devices, and monitors. They may work on equipment used for presentations, concerts, lectures, and screenings. Certificate-holders have the appropriate skills to pursue careers in this field.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $49,050

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Administrators manage the network and systems for organizations, including installation, support, and troubleshooting. They oversee network security and perform any upgrades when needed. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree for entry into the field, but a certificate in technology can expand their training in this area.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $80,600

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Continuing Education

In addition to lucrative careers, a certificate in technology can lead to a large number of continuing education opportunities. Certificate programs prepare students for further training and can even provide transfer credit to put toward degrees and other certificates.

For example, graduates may decide to expand on their undergraduate certificate training with a bachelor's in computer science or a bachelor's in computer programming. They may pursue an undergraduate or graduate certificate in technology to help prepare them for graduate-level training, such as a master's in computer science.

How Do I Choose an Online Certificate in Technology Program?

Cost

When looking at the cost of certificates, prospective students should compare online and on-campus costs to see how they differ. For working professionals, the true program cost can highlight how the different types of training impact their income while they study. Online students can also compare private and public schools and in-state and out-of-state tuition costs.

Program Format

When searching for the right program format for their study needs, prospective students should weigh the pros and cons of asynchronous and synchronous programs to find the right course structure. They might also compare full-time and part-time studies or look at accelerated programs to find the appropriate study schedule.

Location

All students, regardless if they attend college online or on campus, should think about their ideal location. On-campus learners have obvious location requirements, but online learners may want to find a school nearby as well. Location can affect tuition prices and residency requirements, plus online learners may want to access campus facilities and extracurriculars.

Accreditation

Online college accreditation assures students that schools provide federal financial aid, adequate employment opportunities, and accepted credits and credentials. Programmatic accreditation varies and is not always required, but for technology certificates, it may come from organizations like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Student Support

Prospective students should also consider the extras a school and program provides, including student services. These may include academic support and tutoring, career services and mentorship programs, and mental health resources. In-program extras like college internships can also make a difference in the experience. Online students should check for specific online student services.

Best Accredited Online Certificate in Technology Programs

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Best Online Certificate in Technology Programs

  1. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $18178

    Founded in 1868, the University of California, Berkeley, is a historic institution and a founding member of the Association of American Universities. The university's certificate in semiconductor technology fundamentals is part of the UC Berkeley Extension online technology certificate program. Being part of the UC Berkeley academic and professional community is one benefit of enrollment.

    Successful completion of the six-semester certificate program requires an overall minimum 2.5 GPA, totaling 90 hours within a 3-5 year period. Berkeley engineering faculty and leadership from the semiconductor industry serve on the advisory board that oversees curriculum. UC Berkeley offers free topic-oriented information sessions online.

    Students must complete four required courses for certification in semiconductor technology fundamentals: introduction to microelectronics, introduction to microelectronic circuits, introduction to semiconductor devices, and semiconductor devices for IC design. Students must also complete one of the following three electives: computer simulation of electronic circuits, fundamental analog ICs, or semiconductor IC amplifiers. These continuous enrollment courses follow an asynchronous format. Students can take 30-180 days to complete the coursework.

    Enrollment is open and year-round with no prerequisites required. To enroll, students must create a student profile online and add courses to the cart. Familiarity with mathematics and scientific terminology and an understanding of circuit theories are strongly recommended. The program costs an estimated $2,250, which does not include the $100 registration fee. The University of California, Berkeley, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).


    Program Overview
    Program Name: Certificate in Semiconductor Technology Fundamentals
    Tuition: $2,250
    Credit Requirements: 6 semester units
    Program Length: 6-12 months

    Delivery
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Contact
    Phone: (510) 642-4151
    Email: extension-techeng@berkeley.edu
    Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

  2. The University of West Florida
    Location

    Pensacola, FL

    Tuition

    $11550

    Located in Pensacola, Florida, the University of West Florida (UWF) was established in 1967. The university values inclusiveness, integrity, innovation, creativity, and collaboration. The certificate in technology systems support is part of the UWF global online degree and certificate offerings division. With this certificate, students can work as network, telecommunications, and instructional systems support specialists.

    Courses such as information technology infrastructure analysis and recommendation, web presence deployment strategies, and technology systems operations: management strategies, comprise the 18-credit-hour program. Students can complete the asynchronous coursework in 2-4 semesters. To succeed, students need basic computer skills and familiarity with word programs and online presentation technology.

    Upon coursework completion, students understand how to pair telecommunication and network systems with application and organization requirements. They possess the skills to design systems which meet application specifications and develop websites focused on management practices and methods. Graduates are successful in implementing telecommunications and network systems and aligning instruction and training with technology tool objectives.

    Tuition is $211.98/credit in-state, $641.37/credit out-of-state, and $316.98/credit for Alabama residents. Out-of-state students may be eligible for a tuition waiver amounting to a 75-90% reduction in tuition costs. The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


    Program Overview
    Program Name: Certificate in Technology Systems Support
    Tuition: $219/credit in-state; $648/credit out-of-state
    Credit Requirements: 18 credits
    Program Length: 2-4 semesters

    Delivery
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Contact
    Phone: (850) 474-2925
    Email: jhovell@uwf.edu
    Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

  3. University of Kansas
    Location

    Lawrence, KS

    Tuition

    $18365

    Located in Lawrence, Kansas, and founded in 1865, the University of Kansas (KU) began offering distance learning in 1891 through its School of University Extension. Only two other major universities offered distance learning at that time. The online learning division has been renamed Professional and Continuing Education. Online students receive the same instruction from University of Kansas faculty that they would receive on campus. Professional and Continuing Education puts the university's mission into action by making its high standard of educational resources available to working students.

    KU offers its certificate in engineering technology as part of its Continuing and Professional Education online program. Two subheadings exist in engineering technology. The first is industrial control and automation, which offers six online certificate concentrations. The second is reliability and maintenance management, which features an online certificate in maintenance management via synchronous instruction. Process instrumentation and control features synchronous instruction while other concentrations are asynchronous. Computerized maintenance management system implementation and optimization and managing maintenance for buildings and facilities are taught asynchronously.

    The KU Center for Online and Distance Learning provides resources for faculty and technical support for students. Tuition is $397/credit with a $30 application fee. The fee for each online certificate course is $995. Students can use an online code to save $200 when simultaneously registering for three courses. The University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


    Program Overview
    Program Name: Certificate in Engineering Technology
    Available Concentrations: Batch process control management; cybersecurity for industrial automation and control systems; managing industrial controls; process control and advanced control strategies; process engineering for control practitioners; process instrumentation and control; computerized maintenance management system implementation and optimization; maintenance management; managing maintenance for building and facilities
    Tuition: $995/course
    Credit Requirements: 3-10 classes
    Program Length: 6-24 months

    Delivery
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

    Contact
    Phone: (913) 897-8530
    Email: kupce@ku.edu
    Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

  4. Bismarck State College
    Location

    Bismarck, ND

    Tuition

    $9320

    Founded in 1939 as Bismarck Junior College, Bismarck State College (BSC) prides itself as an innovative institution and model for workplace training for the global community. BSC offers the program certificate in electric power technology with specializations in line construction, metering, substation, and system design through the college's National Energy Center of Excellence. The electric power technology program focuses on training in electric grid fundamentals. BSC began offering online courses in 2001 with the electrical power technology program.

    This certificate requires students to complete 57 credits during four semesters. Courses are offered in blocks of 3-5 weeks and include industrial safety and health, applied electronics, and advanced electrical systems. Successful students dedicate 15-20 hours per week engaged in coursework. BSC offers 58 start dates for online classes.

    For admission, students need a 16 in ACT math, 34 in Compass pre-algebra, and a 41 in elementary algebra from Accuplacer. Tuition is $160/in-state (military) credit, $179.20/credit in Minnesota, $240/credit in the U.S., Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, and $280/credit for international students. There is a $45 per-credit fee for online course offerings. Textbook costs are an estimated $500 per semester. Bismarck State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commision (HLC).


    Program Overview
    Program Name: Certificate in Electric Power Technology
    Available Concentrations: Line construction; substation; system design; metering
    Tuition: $160/credit in-state; $240/credit out-of-state
    Credit Requirements: 57 credits
    Program Length: 4 semesters

    Delivery
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements
    Standardized Tests: ACT, COMPASS, or ACCUPLACER

    Contact
    Phone: (701) 224-5651
    Email: bsc.energy@bismarckstate.edu
    Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

  5. Lipscomb University
    Location

    Nashville, TN

    Tuition

    $25050

    Lipscomb University is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and was founded in 1891 by David Lipscomb and James A. Harding. Lipscomb Online promotes active learning and Christian values through faith, community, knowledge, innovation, and service ideals. This research institution's technology integration specialist certificate program strives to meet evolving technology challenges. Students can take advantage of valuable resources such as the Lipscomb Libraries, which are accessible online. Learners can access the university's LiveText site for document review, assignment submissions, and student orientation information.

    The 12-credit certificate program deepens students' knowledge and enhances their leadership skills through courses such as instructional design, technology applications, and technology for special groups.

    The Competency Assessment Center is the university's tool for promoting competency-based education, awarding as many as 30 credits for life experience and skills. For admission, applicants must submit official transcripts, an essay articulating purpose and goals at Lipscomb, and two recommendation letters. Students can expect to spend $953/credit on tuition plus a $50 non-refundable application fee. With regard to financial aid, Lipscomb offers a 26% in-service scholarship for educators. Lipscomb University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).


    Program Overview
    Program Name: Technology Integration Specialist Certificate
    Tuition: $953/credit
    Credit Requirements: 12 credits
    Program Length: 1 year

    Delivery
    Format: Online
    Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

    Contact
    Phone: (615) 966-1811
    Email: Stefen.Jordan@lipscomb.edu
    Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate in Technology Programs

Is a certificate in technology worth it? true

Yes. Students and graduates can benefit greatly from a certificate in technology. These credentials can be one of the quickest and most direct routes to various careers in the computer and information technology sector. Experienced professionals can also use certificates to boost their expertise, advance within their fields, or change careers altogether.

An online certificate in technology offers accessibility and flexibility that few programs can match. Working professionals can complete them without sacrificing their jobs, and the short completion times make them much easier to commit to than a full degree.

What can you do with a certificate in technology? true

A certificate in technology can take graduates down many different paths. The training can grant professionals access to entry-level careers in the field, even competing with complete degrees in technology. Experienced professionals may use the training to update or expand their skills, even using certificates to pursue better positions.

Graduates can also use a certificate in technology to prepare for further education. Not only can the training in these programs get students up to speed before pursuing a technology degree, but the credits can often be used as transfer credits to reduce the time and cost of the intended program.

Is a technology certificate program hard? true

The difficulty of a certificate in technology depends entirely on the program and the student. Some disciplines, such as data science or software engineering, can be challenging in the early stages of the program. Once students develop a foundation and learn the fundamentals, they should be able to advance more easily.

The difficulty of the program also depends on the level of the training. Graduate training covers more advanced materials, but students are more familiar with the discipline, whereas undergraduate students may be encountering topics for the first time. No matter what type of program they choose, students who commit to their studies and give their full effort should be successful.

How long does it take to get a certificate in technology?

The length of time required to complete a certificate in technology depends on the student and the program. In general, these programs take between 3-6 months to finish. Students may, however, choose to complete their studies part time, which could extend the program length to more than a year.

Schools may also offer self-paced or accelerated study options, which could lead to much shorter completion times. Aspiring students should check with their prospective schools to see what options they have and what type of studies their schedules can accommodate.

What's the highest paying job you can get with a certificate in technology?

The highest-paying job for graduates with a certificate in technology is in computer and information systems management. According to the BLS, professionals in this field made median annual wages of $159,010 in May 2021, more than $110,000 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.

While certificate-holders also need at least a bachelor's degree to access that profession, they may be able to acquire other high-paying positions with a certificate only. For example, they can become computer support specialists. These professionals earned median annual wages of $57,910 in May 2021, as per the BLS.

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