Atlanta’s local universities and colleges offer programs, initiatives and opportunities designed with freshmen in mind. read more
By Ken Abramczyk
Metro Atlantans looking to boost their careers, strengthen their knowledge, and upgrade their skills can obtain certifications from colleges and universities throughout Georgia. Many certification programs are embedded as part of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, allowing students or professionals of all ages and at all stages looking to advance their careers to earn certifications to show that they have obtained a higher level of education or completed training for skills in demand.
Sheb True, associate vice provost for global engagement, professional education and strategic initiatives at Kennesaw State University, says that earning professional education certificates increases students’ marketability. He explains, “Earning these certificates provides an opportunity to differentiate yourself in an increasingly competitive global market by adding new knowledge and skills to your tool box, as well as demonstrating your commitment to professional and continuous development.”
Georgia colleges and universities offer a variety of programs both online and in-person. While some certification programs are embedded as part of a degree program, schools offer many certifications that are non-degree as well. Here, we look at several local institutions that offer a variety of options, which each boast their own applications requirements and deadlines, costs and program duration.
Life University offers four online certification programs geared towards chiropractors: applied clinical neuroscience, ergonomics, spinal hygienist and proficiency in pediatric and family chiropractic, all of which are obtained through a neurotonal pediatric adjusting seminar. The certificate in applied clinical neuroscience provides an in-depth review of the nervous system and helps deepen the students’ understanding of the brain and nervous system.
Program costs range from $1,895 to $3,500. Students commit to 50 hours of training for ergonomics, 80 hours toward the neurotonal pediatrics, 100 hours for the applied clinical neuroscience or six weeks for spinal hygienist.
GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY
Graduate students who want to embed a certification in a current Master’s program or add one to a Master’s degree to be earned at a later date can enroll in programs at the Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University.
Students can earn certification in innovation by taking four classes over two semesters. The artificial intelligence innovation certificate was designed for graduates and citizen data scientists, highlighting AI-related concepts and discovering innovative solutions to business problems. This certificate helps address the need for citizen data scientists, a field that is expected to grow five times faster than the number of current expert data scientists over the next few years, according to one survey. The disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship certificate allows students to design value propositions, develop viable business models and create pitches for investors. The Fintech (financial technology) innovation certificate, consisting of two courses over two semesters, examines Fintech and how it impacts the financial services field. With Atlanta-based companies handling 70 percent of the credit, debit and prepaid card sales in the U.S., Fintech innovation expects to help add to the skill sets for employees to fill the need in this growing field.
These certifications range from $4,508 per semester for Georgia residents for the artificial intelligence business innovation option to $8,912 for non-residents along with a $250 non-refundable application fee.
KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY
Kennesaw State University (KSU) offers several online certificates, ranging from cybersecurity to Six Sigma Green Belt (noting a professional who is well-versed in the Six Sigma process improvement methodology) at the undergraduate level and applied peacebuilding to teacher leadership at the graduate level.
With a nationwide need for increased cybersecurity at companies and organizations, students can address that need by earning certificates through one of two programs: cybersecurity or information security and assurance. Cybersecurity certification is geared toward students interested in the security of computer networks and systems and its application in technology, while information security and assurance allow students to add a credential to degrees in information security, criminal justice or business. Undergraduate students also can earn other certificates in geographic information services, high performance computing, logistics, production design and Six Sigma Green Belt.
Graduate programs include applied peacebuilding, digital and social media, online teaching, special education, computer science foundations, data analytics and intelligent technology, health information technology, software engineering, information security and assurance, quality assurance, enterprise IT management, independent and charter school leadership and more.
KSU’s certificate programs are customized to each particular field of study, so the costs and length of the programs vary. Some certificate programs follow KSU’s academic calendar, while others can start at any time during the year.
At Mercer University, students who want to become teachers or look to advance their teaching credentials can enroll in the graduate certificate programs through the College of Professional Advancement and initial teacher certification-only coursework through the College of Education. Students can obtain initial teacher certification through the Tift College of Education’s Bachelor of Science in Education with undergrad programs for working adults and residential programs. Teacher certification is also available at the graduate level.
Graduate non-degree programs include a graduate certificate program through the College of Professional Advancement and endorsement programs for certified teachers through the College of Education. Teachers can earn endorsements to specialize in various topics, including autism, gifted students, K-5 math, K-5 science, reading, STEM and others. Mercer also offers graduate certificate programs through its College of Nursing, School of Business, School of Engineering and School of Theology.
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
The University of Georgia (UGA) extends to students many graduate certificates, ranging from African American studies to women’s studies. Ron Walcott, dean of graduate school and vice provost of graduate education at UGA, says the graduate certificates are part of the university’s broader mission to elevate graduate education at UGA. “Our graduate certificates allow students to pursue focused training in areas of expertise that complement their degree programs,” he says. “Additionally, they offer flexible options for students and working professionals to quickly customize their skill sets and provide credentials that confer a competitive edge in the job market.”
One example of these programs is the graduate atmospheric sciences program, which offers certification to students for in-depth study and research in the atmospheric sciences. The program is an opportunity to document their educational achievement and experiences in the atmospheric sciences beyond their graduate major.
UGA touts another graduate certificate in interdisciplinary qualitative studies as among the oldest and most reputable in the world. This certificate emphasizes a qualitative approach, improving professional practice and scholarship through collaboration and critical self-reflection, honoring diversity through the active inclusion of members of university disciplines and cultures of today’s society.