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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Are Certificates Worth It?

Are Certificates Worth It in 2023?

Online learning is becoming a popular option for working professionals and students looking for more affordable education.

With so much flexibility and a lower price tag, it’s no surprise that online learning is such an attractive option – but are certificates worth it?

What Is An Online Certificate?

Online certificates are accreditation and recognition acquired by taking courses and learning via online educational institutions.

Online courses are often not the same as degrees.

Instead, they’re usually much shorter and more focused on a specific subject, and most online courses will focus solely on developing skills in a specific area.

Online courses are generally more condensed than college or university courses, so you can expect to pay much lower fees.

Lady Studying To Find Out Are Certificates Worth It

Online learning is popular with working professionals looking to expand their knowledge and students seeking a more affordable education.

Organizations also benefit from putting their employees through online learning, as they can reskill and upskill employees in a short time frame, which is beneficial to both the organization and the employee.

Online courses are usually done completely remotely, and students have a great deal of flexibility to choose how and when they learn.

This is what makes online learning so popular amongst working professionals and businesses.

Are Online Certificates Right For You?

If you’re thinking of taking an online course and gaining an online certificate, you’ll have a number of questions you need to ask yourself – especially if you’re considering online education over a traditional institution.

To help you decide whether your online certificate is worth the learning journey, try asking yourself the following questions:

Women Studying Online Foe Degree Certification

What’s Your End Goal For Professional Certifications?

Before you embark on your online learning journey, ask yourself this – what’s your end goal?

What do you want to learn and why, and why do you think online education aligns with this goal?

You’ll benefit the most from your online education if you can identify how you want to progress your career.

Online certificates may not hold as much value as a traditional certificate or degree, but they will show employers that you’re committed to expanding your knowledge and growing in your sector.

So, if you’re looking to improve your skills and shoot for a promotion or even move to a new sector of your company, online certificates are a great way to demonstrate your commitment and capabilities.

Which Is Better: A Degree Or A Certificate?

Finding the answer to this question will depend largely on your first answer. You’ll also have a few other things to figure out, including:

  • How much time do you have to commit to learning
  • Your budget
  • What is your end goal is
  • What field you’re working in or hoping to work in
  • Your existing education

Online Degree Programs

Online programs can take between a few weeks or a few months to complete, and you’ll have to commit less time to your studies (between 5-15 hours a week, depending on the course).

They’ll also have a more concentrated focus and lower fees, which makes them an attractive option for people already working.

However, as appealing as this is, it’s not going to be worth it if you need a complete college or university degree to reach your end goal.

This is why you need to put in the research first – take some time to figure out what education you need to reach your goal.

Traditional courses will often require more time (more than 20 hours a week); they’ll also have a higher price tag and focus on a much less concentrated field.

Degree Program

So if you’re looking to completely change careers, or you need a master’s degree to access the next level of your profession, attending a traditional institution and gaining a formal degree may be better for you than an online certificate.

Popular Online Certificate Programs & Learning Providers

Popular Online Learning Providers

If you’ve decided that gaining an online certificate is right for you, you’ll now need to choose the right learning provider.

One quick search in Google will throw up plenty of results for online learning providers, so how do you decide which one is good for you? Are Online Course Certificates Legit?

Here are some of the most popular online learning providers and what you need to know about them.

Linkedin Learning

Linkedin Learning offers students access to thousands of courses that can give them the creativity and skills they need to bolster their careers.

Linkedin Learning is targeted toward working professionals looking to improve their knowledge of their field.

You’ll get a Linkin certificate of completion to prove your participation in the course. (see also ‘How Much Is‘) is ideal for working professionals, teachers, and students of all levels of education. (see also ‘Is A Reliable Source?‘) provides courses and certificates for students of all levels, and if you use the college accelerator program, you can gain credits that can be transferred to a university.


Coursera is another online learning platform website that allows students to start, switch, or progress their careers, with access to over 5,000 courses.

You’ll get a professional certificate from Coursera that can be used to prove your study to employers and help you access more in-demand jobs.

Hubspot Academy

Hubspot Academy offers its students plenty of online courses to help improve their career opportunities and upskill.

Many Hubspot Academy courses are completely free, and you’ll get a certificate of completion to place on your resume or Linkedin profile and to show off to employers.

Do Certificates Actually Help You Get A Job

Your Questions About Certificates Answered:

Are certifications better than degrees?

In some cases, certifications are better than degrees for various reasons. Degrees may vary in quality depending on the school. Certifications often have consistent standards across institutions. This can enhance a student’s overall educational performance.

Certifications allow individuals to gain the necessary skills without the cost of a degree. They can save time and money. They also show employers that candidates have valuable work experience. However, the value of certifications depends on the field, industry, and employer expectations. Sometimes a degree is necessary, while other times a certification may be more relevant.

Do Certificates Actually Help You Get A Job?

Certificates can help you get a job depending on the industry, the specific certificate, and employer expectations. In some fields, a relevant certification makes you more competitive and showcases your expertise. Certificates demonstrate you have the skills and knowledge for a position, especially when combined with work experience.

However, a certificate alone may not guarantee a job. Other factors such as experience, education, soft skills, and networking play a significant role in employability. In some industries, a degree may be necessary. In others, a mix of certifications, experience, and qualifications may be more important.

To maximize a certificate’s value, pursue relevant certifications recognized by employers from reputable institutions. Develop your skills, gain practical experience, and network with professionals in your industry to increase your chances of getting a job.

Is a Certificate Just as Good as a Degree?

A certificate is not always just as good as a degree, as their value and purpose differ. Degrees are comprehensive, long-term programs that provide a broad education in a specific field. They often hold more weight in terms of general employability and are required for many higher-level positions.

Certificates, on the other hand, are shorter programs focused on specific skills or knowledge areas. They are useful for demonstrating expertise in a particular subject or for supplementing a degree. In some fields and situations, a certificate can be just as valuable as a degree or even more so, particularly when an employer prioritizes specialized skills or practical experience.

The value of a certificate compared to a degree depends on factors such as the industry, job requirements, and employer preferences. In some cases, a combination of a degree and relevant certifications can make a candidate more competitive and better equipped for a job.

Are Certificates Worth Putting on a Resume?

Yes, certificates are worth putting on a resume, especially when they are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Including certificates on your resume can showcase your expertise in specific areas and demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

Related Reading:

Is A Bookkeeping Certificate Worth It
Does Masterclass Give Certificates
Are Coursera Certificates Worth It
How Much Is a Udemy Certificate
Is Udemy Certificate Useful
LinkedIn Certification
Do LinkedIn Learning Certificates Expire
Can I Get Certificate From Coursera During Free Trial
Does Kajabi Give Certificates

Are Online Certificates Worth it?

Online learning is affordable and accessible, but are online learning certificates worth it?

If you’re passionate, willing to learn, and focused on upskilling – online certificates are almost always worth it. Just remember to make sure the certification and providers are legit before you waste your time and money,

Online certificates can make your job applications stand out from the crowd and provide you with valuable knowledge for a small price, the sort of knowledge that, in some cases, can help you climb the corporate ladder and get that promotion!

However, if the job you’re seeking requires formal education, don’t expect online certificates to be a suitable substitute.

Online certificates can rarely replace formal degrees, and they’re better utilized when paired with existing formal education, other online certificates, and work experience.

The Bottom Line

If you want to reskill or upskill in a specific field, online learning and certificates may be the extra accreditation you need to climb the ladder.

However, before you commit to online learning, we’d recommend thoroughly researching your preferred learning providers and establishing your career goals first.

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