These Careers are Hot, Hot, Hot

Lori Johnston | September 20, 2012

If you’re considering enrolling in a technology, medical or finance degree program, you’re right on track to get the education to fill some of the hottest jobs around.

University of California San Diego researchers released its annual survey of the top 10 hot careers for 2012. The hot jobs study focused on occupations in which an individual with a college degree and some additional education or training, such as a professional education certificate, can qualify for the jobs.

Drumroll, please … the hot jobs are: [Read More]

earning money with a certificate or two-year degree

It stands to reason that the higher the degree you earn, the higher your salary will be … right? But we’ve discovered that’s not always the case.

[Read More]

Certificate programs are becoming more in demand by college graduates and job seekers. They’re seeing the value of a certificate program as more than another piece of paper to frame and put on the wall.

Instead, earning a professional certificate can lead to job offers, promotions, and salary increases.

Continuing education certificate programs offer you the opportunity to study in a specific area, either related to your existing job or in a field you are exploring. To earn a continuing education certificate from a college or university, you have to complete a number of required courses and electives. Most can be earned in one to two years.

No matter your profession, you’re likely to find a school offering a certificate for you and courses taught by professionals with real-world knowledge. There are certificate programs in everything from health care to law to management to nonprofits to technology.

Mary Walshok, dean of UC San Diego Extension, and co-author of the book Closing America’s Job Gap says:

“Unlike the 1950s through 1970s, when schools of continuing education and extension services were more like second-chance universities for adults who didn’t have the opportunity to get a college degree, these programs today are hubs of education and training providing the practice oriented credentials which combined with a solid liberal arts degree make for globally competitive careers.”

The University of California San Diego reports a 19 percent increase in students enrolling in certificate programs. In 2011, 3,841 students entered continuing education certificate programs at UC San Diego, compared to 3,217 during 2010. UC San Diego Extension offers 102 certificates, and for most of them, the entire program costs $1,875-$3,200.

The majority – about 85 percent – of students already hold a college degree. And employers are paying for the extra schooling, so it’s an option to inquire about if you’re currently employed.

Here are 10 areas where UC San Diego are seeing more students enrolling in certificate programs – and they reflect trends in other schools, too:

  • Lactation consultant
  • Biostatistics
  • Paralegal studies
  • Data mining
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Leadership and management
  • Fundraising and development
  • Copyediting
  • College counseling
  • Reading instruction from research to practice

We’re seeing schools grow their certificate programs, too.

Lake Michigan College in South Haven, Mich., recently approved two new one-year Certificate of Achievement programs in logistics and energy production technology/line worker.

New certificates at UC San Diego include graphic design, in vitro diagnostics, career advising, mobile applications development, mobile device programming, and video and imaging technologies, clinical trials administration in Latin America, and global service entrepreneurship.

College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., is offering career-focused certificate programs – a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program and Medical Assistant Administration Program.

As you’re looking at college programs, you may be able to transition to a new job or more rewarding position by adding a professional certificate to your resume.

Just as more there’s more opportunities for learning online, all those classes need qualified instructors to share their knowledge with undergraduate and graduate students.

If you’re already in the teaching field or pursuing an education career, working as an online instructor or online teaching assistant can put your skills and know-how to good use. Working remotely also can provide flexibility, if you are still pursuing an advanced degree, and you will be learning what it takes to connect with students virtually today.

As you get started by searching online for “online instructor” or “online teaching” jobs, you’ll also want to look at job openings at universities and community colleges in your town, your alma maters, and for-profit online universities.

Generally, you’ll find that major universities require online instructors to have the same type of advanced degrees as traditional classroom instructors: a doctorate degree in the field. If you’re pursuing your master’s degree or a doctorate, one opportunity is to work as a teaching assistant for an online instructor.

Online classes offered by community colleges or online-focused schools often seek adjunct professors to work on a part-time basis, by teaching one or two courses a semester. Those schools are typically looking for online instructor job candidates to have a master’s degree, at least, in that specific field.

Job openings and other reports about online adjunct positions note that average pay per course for an online instructor is $1,500-$1,700. Some adjuncts work for multiple schools, so that they can earn enough to be teaching full time.

Three recent job listings for part-time online adjunct professors reflect what type of skills and education is required to get the jobs:

Campbell University, a private school based in North Carolina, is hiring part-time adjunct faculty members to teach online courses in psychology, accounting, English, and business for undergraduates, and requires a doctoral degree in those disciplines.

Northeastern State University, a public institution in Oklahoma, is seeking faculty to teach hybrid and online classes in a variety of subject areas. Instructors need a master’s degree to teach undergraduate students and doctorate degrees to teach graduate-level courses.

Ross College Online, which offers an associates degree in medical assisting, is hiring individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree and previous online teaching experience for courses in areas such as psychology, nutrition, pharmacology, and medical law and ethics.

There are some rare cases where adjunct professors may only hold a bachelor’s degree, but they are working professionals brought on by colleges because of their success in a certain industry and the lessons they can share with students.

You can also find work as an online high school teacher, and a bachelor’s degree may be all that is required to be an online instructor.

In addition to meeting degree requirements, working as an online instructor requires knowing how to communicate online. You’ll need knowledge of specific technology that schools use as well as general strong written communication skills, since there is little to none face-to-face contact with students.

Colleges are seeking online instructors who can provide the same quality education experience for students that they have offered in the classroom. With the right degrees and skills, it could be a good fit for you.

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