Create a successful certification program at your institution
In a world where competition for jobs, wages are increasing, and educational achievement continues to rise, certifications offer hope because they are a credible and independent assessment of one’s skills and knowledge for a given subject. According to a statewide study of Florida, those who earn certifications while in college are more likely to have a higher GPA, are more likely to graduate, are more likely to enroll in a program post-secondary and are less likely to drop out. Additionally, once the candidate is in the workforce, certification improves a candidate’s marketability and earning power, with some professionals earning up to 7% more than their uncertified colleagues.
Building a certification program from scratch often involves significant groundwork on the part of educators and administrators. Get tips below on the best ways to create a successful certification program at your school.
Research Funding Options
One of the common issues that many educators face is lack of funding. Asking for extra budget to expand or augment your classroom resources can be a frustrating process.
Fortunately, there are dedicated sources of funding for the expansion of vocational and technical training. Educators can explore a variety of funding options: the Carl D. Perkins Act; federal and state grants; and non-traditional options. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Enhancement Act is designed to improve the quality of career and technical education (CTE) in the United States. The Perkins Act provides nearly $1.3 billion in federal support for vocational and technical education programs in all 50 states, including support for integrated career paths programs.
In addition to the Perkins Act, each state will most likely have programs and grants you can access. For example, California created the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG), which provides funding to K12 institutions that help prepare students with the knowledge and skills needed to transition into employment and post-secondary education. .
If you’re ready to go the non-traditional route, consider connecting with your local library or workforce services team, your PTA chapter, or even leveraging chosen donors to raise contributions from your community.
Decide on the structure of the program
Once you have secured funding, you will need to finalize your program structure. Some states, like North Carolina, have integrated certification paths into their CTE program. Other states offer certifications through community centers and workforce development programs. There is no right or wrong way to structure your certification program. It is important to determine which course of action will work best for your school, district, and state.
If you decide to integrate certifications into existing courses, keep in mind the prevalence of technology in today’s professional landscape. Above all, certifying students’ technological skills provides a solid foundation for any career path they choose. Whether students pursue careers in construction management, computer science, culinary arts, or organizational leadership, they will be set up for success.
Market the program
You’ve done all the legwork, but it’s not enough to build the program. You have to seat the students and make sure they learn successfully. Be sure to market your program throughout the year, but especially when students enroll in classes. Contact guidance counselors to tell students about your program and its many benefits. You can also build student excitement during club week or by partnering with organizations such as the National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America.
Marketing your program doesn’t have to stop with students. Connect with other educators to show how certifications can help students succeed in their courses. Engage community experts to help students understand how certifications are leveraged in the real world. Those who have earned certifications are incredible advocates for their value and relevance in the job market.
During his university studies, Bruce Beuzard IV was able to obtain 13 certifications recognized by the industry. Bruce was able to put those certifications on his resume, which landed him a job as a data center technician at Amazon Web Services. Bruce encourages students to get certified: “A lot of companies appreciate that candidates get certified because it’s a form of work experience. For any student who is facing obstacles to graduating, I totally recommend getting certified. Certifications can help you achieve the career of your dreams.
Networking with professionals, like Bruce, also creates connections for internships and jobs for students in your class, allowing them to apply their certified knowledge and gain valuable work experience. After all, that’s what education is for. Create opportunities for students to succeed as productive employees and citizens in their communities.
Want to know more about the value of certifications for your students? Get a free digital kit here.
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