Tag Archives: GCEW

Economic Value of Professional Certificates by Dean Cathy Sandeen


I was recently quoted in a story the March 2010 Los Angeles Times education supplement (page 6).   Titled, Small Programs Make Big Paydays, the author clearly got what I have been saying about the value of rigorous and recognized professional certificates. The author cites a study by the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce (GCEW)  that determined certificates are the fastest growing segment of post secondary education and serve as a “significant component of human capital development in many areas of training.”

Our own study of the value of a professional certificate reinforces GCEW’s conclusions. One of my posts from last December, UCLA Extension Provides Real Economic Benefits, addresses this very issue.

UCLA Extension contributes $250 million per year to the Los Angeles county economy, 70% of that in the form of increased earning power by students who complete a program with us. As the Times supplement indicated, that translates into an average individual annual salary increase of over $17,000.

Certificates are linked directly to jobs and are appropriate for individuals who have already completed more traditional degree programs or often for individuals who have not yet completed degrees. UCLA Extension certificate programs span a broad range of subject areas including accounting, entertainment studies, landscape architecture, digital communication arts, sustainability and many others.

 Certificates provide a big impact in a shorter time frame and for less of a financial investment. Many have been approved for funding through the workforce system for eligible displaced or unemployed individuals.

Certificate completion is flexible; complete a program quickly or more slowly depending on your other commitments. Begin almost immediately. You have the opportunity to begin a certificate class or program four times per year with no lengthy application process or waiting period.

 Now is the time for certificate programs to shine. Fortunately, real value for individuals and the workforce is clearly recognized.