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Increase Your Earning Power 
Five Ways a Certificate Program Can Help Get You Ahead

Jeff Garvey recently found himself among a growing number of individuals who are already in the workforce but want to boost their career prospects, put themselves in a better position for a raise, or add another skill to their professional toolbox.

“I saw firsthand how my industry was consolidating and downsizing, and decided it would be better for me to be part of the process rather than fall victim to it,” says Garvey, a Wilmington-based marketing professional who turned to his local university for cost-effective career assistance.

Jeff Garvey

Shante Garner

At the University of Delaware (UD), Garvey enrolled in one of the non-degree professional development certificate programs that provides practical, concentrated study in a particular professional area. During a typical semester, more than 100 students earn certificates in the health care, legal, and business fields through UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies.

“These certificate programs present key opportunities to expand an individual’s areas of expertise, learn new developments, and network with other professionals,” says Dr. James Broomall, associate vice provost at UD, adding that certificate programs also have the advantage of being less expensive than degree programs and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time—between four months to a year.

If you’re wondering what a certificate program can do for you, here are five likely outcomes:

  1. Increase earnings. Bureau of Labor Statistics research shows that earnings consistently increase with the level of education.
  2. Strengthen skills. Instructors are generally expert practitioners. UD’s certificate instructors have served as consultants for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. They can help you improve and expand on what you already know.
  3. Build your resume. You become more marketable by showing potential employers you are willing to embrace new challenges while showcasing your personal and professional development outside of the workplace.
  4. Stand out from the crowd. Your new skills can help you to solve problems and develop the confidence to take on leadership roles.
  5. Put you on a new career path. Noncredit professional development programs might be just what you need to start down a rewarding, new professional path.

A recent study by Georgetown University found that the postsecondary certificate has become a cost-effective tool for increasing educational attainment and gainful employment. For proof, look no further than Shante Garner, an IT professional who completed UD’s Business Analyst Certificate and was subsequently promoted to become a project manager. Going into the program, she was concerned that she might have a tough time being a student while also working full-time, but classes were held at convenient times and assignments were very manageable. “The structure of the class was such that it kept me engaged, and the material was clearly laid out,” Garner says. “The class was interactive, and the number of students was perfect to ensure my ‘voice’ was heard.”

Completing this program, according to Garner, “expanded my business analysis knowledge base while demonstrating to senior leadership my commitment level to the business analyst profession, and it gave me the confidence to pursue additional opportunities within my company.”

Certificates offered by the University of Delaware in the fall 2014 include:
Analytics–Optimizing Big Data, Business Analyst, Clinical Trials Management, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Paralegal, Advanced Paralegal, Project Management, and Social Media Marketing Strategy. Students meet at the UD Downtown Center in Wilmington, and classes are scheduled to suit people who are already working. 

For more information about UD professional development programs, call 302-831-7600, visit www.pcs.udel.edu/certificate or write to continuing-ed@udel.edu.

For those considering a return to college, whether for a degree or certificate program, the University of Delaware ACCESS Center provides free academic advisement. Advisors can help identify career and educational goals; develop educational plans; implement decisions; and build learning skills. ACCESS can be reached at the UD phone number or access-advise@udel.edu.

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