How to fit a certificate program into your busy schedule

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Getting caught up in the daily grind can leave us with little time to do the things we love. It also makes continuing your education a seemingly impossible and distant priority. In this post we will cover ways to help you free up your time so you can make room for the more important tasks in your life – without getting overwhelmed.

The following are some tips to help you get your work done and still have plenty of free time for yourself – and your education. Here’s what we came up with…

5 ways to free up your time and be more productive:

Put it on paper. The first step to clearing the clutter out of your life is to write down your daily habits and find out where most of your free time is going. If you find that most of your time is spent in an unproductive way, write down what you want to accomplish for the day and take care of those items first before turning to your guilty pleasures. Once you start down an unproductive road, it’s hard to steer back on course.

Routine. Routine. Routine. The best way to keep up productivity is to keep the productive process going. Find out what your most productive time of day is and schedule your most important tasks during this time. Most people find they feel most energetic and motivated in the morning – which is ideal because tackling the most important tasks first can relieve stress and allows for your day to only get easier as it goes on, not the other way around.

You need help. If anyone’s ever told you that you need help, maybe they weren’t being mean after all. Some people can get so caught up in mundane busy work that they lose sight of the more important tasks that need to be completed. This is where an online assistant can help. With sites like Elance and oDesk you can find your own personal assistant to lighten your load. People have utilized online assistants for everything from starting a business to helping them search for a job. By using an online assistant a couple hours a week you can free up time to work on more important, more rewarding tasks in your life.

Just say no – to yourself. Self-discipline is key to getting things done. Kind of a no-brainer but still procrastination is the major reason your to-do list is collecting dust. Set aside a certain portion of the day to slack off. Whether it’s watching TV or searching the net, give yourself a set time to relax. This helps to keep your sanity intact. But when playtime’s over, it’s time to get back to work. Keep your priorities your priority.

Let’s get digital. Technology can be your best friend or a ruthless enemy when it comes to getting stuff done. Use apps and other software to keep track of your progress. Use your media devices to help you organize your day instead of using them as distractions. There are hundreds of iPhone and Android apps available for your smart phone to help you stay organized, many of them free. Check your app store for free productivity apps and use the latest technology to stay on top of your daily activities.

What to do with all this free time?

Once you’ve mastered the art of saving time, the question is now, how are you going to use it? With all the disruptions and clutter cleared from your life, it’s time to put that newly found free time to good use. Like finding educational programs that will help you add skills to your resume and increase your worth as an employee or a job seeker.

In recent years, certificate programs have been growing in popularity as an option for people to add specific job skills to their resume. This helps them to hone their craft and become a more valuable employee. Plus most of these programs are a lot quicker and far less expensive than it is to get an advanced degree. Prove to your employer, or future employer, that you are a disciplined and self-motivated worker by adding a professional certificate to your resume.

If you’d like more information on AAU’s professional certificate programs in areas like Business, Healthcare, Criminal Justice, or Computer Information Systems, talk to one of our admissions representatives and put all that free time to good use!  (888) 384-0849.

Why it’s Good to Get a Certificate Even if You Already Have a College Degree

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Do you already have a college degree? Are you looking to enhance your career skills? Today, the answer to build-out your resume and increase your knowledge is to get a certificate. You don’t need to enroll in a lengthy or costly master’s degree program, or even get another bachelor’s degree, to get noticed. A university-level certificate program can meet the needs of what you’re looking for at a pace and cost that is closer to your goals. 

According to the American Institutes for Research®, certificate programs are on the rise in U.S. colleges. The higher costs of a four-year degree and current job market make getting a certificate program a better alternative, because “they are much more focused on the skills and they can be much cheaper than even associates degrees from community colleges."

Why Should You Enroll in a Certificate Program?

There are many reasons to enroll in a certificate program, even if you already have a college degree, from getting a specific skill set to showing potential employers that you stay current with your knowledge. Do any of the following apply to you?

“I have an existing college degree, but… “

·         “I want to enhance my existing skills”

·         “I want to learn entirely new job skills”

·         “I want to build out my resume”

·         “I want to demonstrate to potential employers my ability to stay up-to-date and current with my skills”

 

If you identify with one or more of the aforementioned statements, you may benefit from a short-term, affordable certificate program.

 

How Will You Benefit from a Certificate Program?

 

Now that you’ve determined that a certificate program may be for you, let’s look at the advantages of certificates versus degrees. As a working professional, you‘ll likely identify with these reasons, which range from the completion time to acquisition of specialized knowledge. Here’s how a certificate program can meet your education needs, in a manner that fits with your goals, and outweigh the benefits of graduate degrees:

 

1)      Finish much faster – A certificate program can be a quicker way to learn new skills and takes a fraction of the time needed to obtain a bachelor’s or graduate degree. With anywhere from five to seven courses, a certificate can be completed in as little as six months. Plus, you can often transfer in credits and/or test out of something that you already know making it even quicker!

 

2)      Pay significantly less – With a certificate program costing much less than a degree, you don’t have to spend as much of your hard-earned money on advancing your education. In fact, certificates are a fraction of the cost of degrees programs. It’s a cost-effective way to get more education, while being mindful of your bottom line and without accruing unnecessary debt.

3)      Advance your career – If you’re looking to advance in your current position, you will benefit from a fresh set of skills, which can take your knowledge to the next level. Prove your value to your employer by rounding out your abilities. This can open the door to an opportunity within your existing organization, lead to a promotion, or forge the path to a whole new career. It’s the ideal way to complement what you already know with new, in-demand skills!

 

4)      Build your resume – Is your last academic achievement years ago? Enrolling in a certificate program can provide you with updated skills and credentials. Imagine adding fresh, up-to-date skills to your resume, allowing you to put your best foot forward. This can give you an edge when a potential employer has to decide between you and another candidate for a job.

 

5)      Increase your income potential – When you gain new career skills, you increase your value as an employee. Whether this leads to a new position or added duties within your existing position, you will have the opportunity to explore new opportunities, which may lead to more money.  When you combine the cost of getting a certificate program with the potential payoff, it makes perfect sense to choose this education option!

 

6)      Get specialized education – While a degree covers more general areas of study, a certificate program hones in on specific areas and skills. This means you can pinpoint exactly what you want to learn and gain a specialized skill-set. The education from a certificate program translates directly to on-the-job knowledge, meaning you can directly apply what you learn.

 

As you can see, a certificate program can be an ideal complement to your existing degree when you are looking for career-specific education. When you factor in the money and time spent on a certificate program and the potential result on your career, it makes sense to dedicate your time and money to a solution that will pay off for you. In fact, with the American Institutes for Research® citing that “some short-term, higher education credentials are worth as much as long-term ones,” you should consider this education option if you’re looking for professional advancement.

 

If you already have a degree and want to further pursue your educational endeavors, you should consider a specialized certificate program. Not only will you gain career-specific skills, you will gain a distinct career advantage – a win-win for your future! Call (888) 384-0849 today to learn what certificate programs are available and how they can add in-demand skills to your career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Degrees vs. Certificates: Choosing the Right Program for You

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A common misconception is that a degree is the way to go if you want to experience any sort of long term career success. While earning a degree may initially help get your foot in the door, it isn’t necessarily required to achieve your career goals. Enter the importance of certificate programs.

What is the difference between a degree and a certificate? We’ll explore the differences and benefits of both below.

CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS
Generally, a certificate program can help you learn or enhance a skill specific to a particular career. Certificate programs can be beneficial for professionals looking to enter a career field, make a career switch, or advance in their current field. Certificate programs are plentiful in fields such as business, marketing, finance, computer programming, web design, and more. Certificate programs can usually be completed in up to 1 year, which makes them cost less. The education you receive in a certificate program can prepare you to start a new career or can help give you a competitive advantage if you are currently in the workforce. Certificate programs are also sometimes used by professionals to keep their licenses or certifications up to date.

DEGREE PROGRAMS
Undergraduate degrees require a student to complete a set of courses usually in a 2-year format (Associate) or a 4-year format (Bachelor’s). The makeup of these programs typically requires students to complete coursework specific to their area of study along with “general” course requirements. Due to the length of time it takes to complete the programs, obtaining a degree from a university or college will generally cost more than obtaining a certificate. Degree programs also allow you to add to your current skill set, but because of the broader education you receive, you may be prepared for numerous careers instead of being limited to one specific position.

HOW TO DETERMINE THE RIGHT PROGRAM FOR YOU
Before deciding which route to take, you’ll want to take into consideration the following:

1)      Time:  How much time do you have to dedicate to your studies?
As previously mentioned, a certificate can typically be earned in a year or less, while earning a degree will take you at least two to four times longer.

2)      Money: How much money do you have to invest toward your education?
Financial aid assistance can usually be obtained for both certificate and degree programs, however the cost of earning a degree is significantly higher due to the type of education received and length of time it takes to complete. Working professionals may also want to consult with their employers as many companies provide financial assistance toward higher education if it contributes to job growth.

3)     Competition: How can you get ahead of the competition and prepare yourself for a better future? If you are just starting out or looking to switch career paths, you might want to do some research on education requirements for the job you are looking to land or the industry you are hoping to get into. Individuals who have years of work experience may find that a certificate program may best fit their needs and help give them a boost to get a promotion or specific job position they have been eying. Someone who is just starting out or is uncertain of the career path they want to take may find that earning a degree will give them more options when deciding to pursue a career path.

 As demonstrated above, there are benefits to both certificate and degree programs.  Everyone has different needs and life circumstances, so ultimately you should determine the route that will be best for you to achieve your long term career goals. Allied American University offers numerous affordable, online degree and certificate programs designed to cater to your busy life. Explore our offerings and enjoy all the benefits of a high quality education from the convenience of your own home. More information can be found at www.allied.edu or give us a call at 888-384-0849.

 

Watch our degree vs. Certificate video below: