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How certificates can help you upskill  

At a glance

  • With job growth predicted to be slower from 2021 to 2031 compared with 2011 to 2021, skilled employees could have an advantage in a competitive job market.
  • Certificates enable participants to learn job-ready skills quickly and can sometimes be applied toward a degree program down the road.
  • Degree certificates complement core principles in a degree program and are designed for those seeking to acquire advanced skills. 
  • Professional development programs empower participants to learn new skills, and certain tracks can prepare them to sit for industry certification exams. 
  • University of Phoenix offers a variety of online certificate options, degree certificates and professional development courses in fields like digital marketing and information technology.

As the U.S. economy grows, but at a slower rate than years past, workers are eyeing fewer opportunities for employment and potentially increased competition for available roles. That puts the onus on job seekers to upskill in order to stand out. How can you step up to qualify for future roles and project yourself as the best person for the job? A certificate could be the answer. 

“Certificate programs provide students with the opportunity to specialize in a particular content area to further build upon core business acumen,” says Joseph Aranyosi, an associate dean in the College of Business and Information Technology at University of Phoenix. “They provide focused instruction that aligns with additional employment opportunities or industry certifications, and many certificates can be applied toward bachelor’s degree requirements, saving students additional time and money.”

Which certificate you choose depends on your goals. Here, we explore three options that can enhance a business career: business certificate programs, online certificates, and professional development certificates of completion. 

More than 100 degrees and certificate options — 90% of which are in growing fields. 

Online certificates

Online certificates can help people develop and strengthen their skills quickly and effectively. At UOPX, for example, many certificates can be completed in less than nine months.

What do you learn in that time? That depends on your area of interest. Some professionals use certificates as a way to prepare for an industry certification exam. Others use them to hone a certain skill set, like cybersecurity or entrepreneurship, that will help them in their careers.

Many courses in online certificate programs at UOPX can also be applied toward a degree program down the road. So, if you want to level up your cybersecurity knowledge today, you might be able to apply some of the course credits earned during the certificate program toward a degree program.

UOPX offers undergraduate and graduate-level certificates in business, IT, healthcare and education.

Business degrees with certificates

University of Phoenix offers online business degrees designed to equip students with tools to support their careers, whether that’s as an entrepreneur or in the corporate world.

While a general business degree is useful, UOPX also offers certificates for specialized skills in areas like financial planning, human resources and project management.

“Certificate programs are designed to provide students with specialized content in a five- or six-course structure that prepares them for employment or industry certification opportunities within a specific area,” says Aranyosi. “They can be taken either as stand-alone programs over 30 weeks or en route toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree, providing students with flexible program scheduling options.”

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Why earn a business degree with University of Phoenix 

Pursuing a business degree has the potential to transform your career trajectory. With the right program, you can acquire the knowledge and expertise necessary to launch your own venture or pursue new opportunities.

This is especially true at UOPX. Here’s why.

  • Learn from experienced professionals: Courses at UOPX are led by experienced professionals who bring years of real-world expertise to the table. Their insights provide practical knowledge that can be directly applied to your career.
  • Customize your degree program: With 25 business degrees and certificate programs that align with 72 occupations, you can tailor your degree in areas like business analytics, operations management, entrepreneurship and marketing. 
  • Transfer your credits: You may be eligible to transfer credits that could account for up to 75% of your bachelor’s degree requirements. By exploring your prior college credits and relevant work and life experiences, you can potentially earn credits that save you both time and money on your business degree. 
  • Study at pace that accommodates your schedule: Concentrate on one course at a time, a structure that allows you to immerse yourself in a specific subject while effectively managing the demands of your personal life, work commitments and academic responsibilities.

Professional development

Professional development courses at UOPX provide certificates of completion and tracks that can help prepare learners for industry-certification exams. These non-credit courses offer a pathway to skill enhancement that is affordable and expeditious.

At UOPX, for example, participants can enroll in individual courses or comprehensive professional development tracks that focus on high-demand skills in expanding industries such as:

  • Digital marketing
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Human resources
  • Information technology

Courses are 100% online, self-paced, self-led and not for college credit. Professional development courses start as low as $149.99 per course.

What is a course?

A professional development course covers one subject and builds four job-ready skills. The self-led, self-paced courses can be completed in about 30 hours.

What is a track?

A track is a collection of professional development courses designed to help you prepare for a specific industry certification exam. The required time to complete a track at UOPX is estimated at 60 to 180 hours, and it gives you between eight and 24 job-ready skills.

You can try a professional development course or a track risk-free for seven days with a money-back guarantee.

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Popular courses for 2023 

1.    Digital marketing

With the increasing importance of data across industries, courses on data analysis and data science provide skills in data manipulation, statistical analysis, data visualization and machine learning. The Google Analytics professional development course for digital marketers, for example, can help you learn how to use data analytics to track, report and analyze marketing campaigns. 

2.    Healthcare

Healthcare is a diverse field with opportunities ranging from patient-provider roles to administrative positions. UOPX’s Anatomy, Physiology and Coding, which was developed with the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), is a popular option. The course is designed to help participants practice coding for diagnoses, tests, procedures and treatments related to this body system. It includes course material directly from NHA and prepares you to take NHA’s Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS) certification exam. 

3.    Education

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of virtual teaching and online learning platforms worldwide. Many educational institutions, ranging from K-12 schools to colleges and universities, had to quickly transition to remote learning to ensure the continuity of education. This sudden shift created a surge in demand for teachers who are proficient in delivering instruction through virtual platforms.

The Transforming Virtual Teaching course at UOPX enhances precisely these skills. It empowers teachers to lead effective online learning experiences that ensure equity and inclusion and facilitate dynamic virtual learning communities.

The big decision: How to upskill at University of Phoenix 

When it comes to choosing between certificates, consider your goals, budget and time.

Aranyosi points out that business degree certificates at UOPX include academic credits that can be applied toward programs at a variety of higher education institutions (including University of Phoenix) as well as continuing education requirements for many professional organizations.

This applies to online certificates in general, whether you’re working in healthcare, IT, business or education.

While professional development courses at UOPX do not provide credits, they still offer value in terms of knowledge and expediency.

“Short professional development courses are an alternative worth considering over earning college credit because they cost less and can be finished in less time,” advises Kym Vasey, the director of marketing for Professional Development at University of Phoenix. “These non-credit courses pack a punch and allow individuals to learn as fast as their time allows to help them achieve new goals.” 

Whether you opt for a professional development certificate of completion or an online certificate, enrolling in a course at University of Phoenix can be a career game-changer. The wide range of programs are taught by experienced faculty members and are designed to meet the needs of students looking to upskill and gain domain knowledge. Moreover, with flexible online learning options, you can better balance the demands of an academic program with your personal commitments — including your commitment to career enhancement. 


Kaleigh Moore is a full-time freelance writer and consultant specializing in business and software. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Vogue Business, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and elsewhere. She is also a frequent speaker at conferences and universities and co-hosts a podcast on running a freelance writing business.


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