Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hookin Up Da Dollars

10 Certificate Programs Than Can Add $$$$ to Your Paycheck

How do you train for the next level up on the company ladder, get skills that will match a new promotion, boost your earnings or even change careers without a hefty time commitment? A short-term certificate program that focuses on specific skills within a profession or trade might just be the answer. Often offered online or part time for working professionals, they can take less than two years to complete and often springboard into of-the-moment careers that offer top earnings and job security. Here are some of the hottest certificate programs at campuses nationwide:

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1. Financial Planning: With a nationwide focus on retirement savings, investing options, and other financial issues, Certified Financial Planners (CFP) are a hot commodity, and schools such as the University of Texas, Austin are meeting the demand with certificate programs. The University or Texas’ program, like that of other schools, is short term, comprised of just seven courses.

2. Database Administrator: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrators in May of 2006 were earning anywhere from $62,000 to over $100,000 annually. The University of Denver is among the many institutions at which you can earn a certificate to break into the field in less than a year, says Mike Whitford, enrollment manager. All six courses (24 credits) are offered online in this graduate level program.

Eighty percent of our students are working professionals. They are interested in becoming database analysts, architects, and engineers, While the program is new, one recent graduate scored a job as a database management advisor making $95,000 annually,

3. Oracle: The largest vendor of database systems and the second largest independent software company in the world, Oracle is one of the most sought after certifications at the post secondary level. At Penn State Great Valley campus, you can earn a certificate in an Oracle workforce development program using textbooks and taking just three courses.

4. Information Security Management: In a post 9/11 world, more and more professionals are needed to manage and safeguard complex technical security for companies and government agencies. Syracuse University is among the many schools with coursework to help meet this societal demand. Syracuse's five-course (15 credit) certificate has been popular since 2003.

5. Negotiation or Leadership and Management: Certificates [in these areas] can make an executive more marketable, or a CEO gain the knowledge they may not have to lead the company.

The University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business in conjunction with University Alliance offers these two executive certificates each consisting of three, eight-week courses. Taught by Notre Dame professors in streaming video lectures, voiceover IP and interactive chat rooms, e-mail and whiteboards, for many executives it's a chance to learn specific skills that will further their careers.

6. Entrepreneurship: When students at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania asked for courses in entrepreneurship two years ago, a new certificate was created to fulfill their needs. Under the executive education umbrella and Wharton Programs for Working Professionals, many students who take this six-course certificate are working in other industries or are in middle management and want to launch a business, a new department, or help others do so.

Course credits can be applied toward an MBA if students choose to further their studies. Additionally, students can put their courses to work in the Wharton Small Business Development office, which assists Philadelphia small business owners who need help growing their businesses.

7. Legal Nurse Consulting: Legal nurse consultants are the liaison between lawyers and the health care community, often giving testimony in the courtroom during cases related to medical litigation. These professionals even have their own American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants. (AALNP).

With many certificates taking less than one year to earn, such as the University of Delaware's program, becoming certified often brings an excellent return on investment. There, registered nurses with three years of experience can earn a certificate in this emerging field in just 36 Saturdays. Graduates often end up going into business for themselves, and with experience can earn up to $150 per hour.

8. Forensic Nursing: The 10-course program, which can be completed in a year, requires an LVN (licensed vocational nurse), LPN, RN or paramedic background.

Kaplan University, which also offers the one-year program, cites salary ranges from the International Association of Forensic Nurses at $55 to $300 per hour.

9. Commercial Real Estate:
According to Salary.com, commercial real estate managers earn an average of $120,000 to $162,000 annually. Boston also offers a certificate in real estate finance and property management. Which takes less than a year, to complete the course- some real estate agencies offer in- house training courses and on the job training. (for me because this is my chosen field, took only 2-3 months)

10. Computer Forensics: The industry is clamoring for techs right now because there are many people in the next 10 years who will be retiring from the field, There will be a greater need for programmers, database managers, and networking and security specialists in the next decade, but one of the hot commodity predictions is in computer forensics. A new 32-credit certificate at BCCC in computer forensics includes a former FBI agent as an instructor. The program presents an examination of computer science, criminal justice, and computer forensics–recovering deleted files–and jobs can be found working in regional computer forensics labs or in homeland security. Because it's a fairly new and fast-growing field, the job outlook is favorable, as is the possibility of a hefty salary.