Uncategorized – Great Value Colleges https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net Tue, 30 Nov 2021 21:17:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/cropped-icon-2-32x32.png Uncategorized – Great Value Colleges https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net 32 32 Certificate vs. Degree: What’s the Difference? https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/degrees/degree-vs-certificate/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:53:29 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=44050 Earning a certificate can be very different from earning a degree. We highlight the differences and similarities here. [...]

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Continuing education helps students and job seekers to build new skills and find better jobs. Fostering a love of continuous learning helps people move up in their existing companies or find joy in new fields with a mid-career switch. Bachelor’s degree holders make around $65,000 per year1, while the right certificate could add more money to a salary or help a resume stand out.

This guide explores the differences between degrees vs. certificates, allowing students and job seekers to make the right decision for their education and career needs.

What Is a Degree and a Certificate?

Degrees and certificates both allow students to learn new skills in a specific field. However, they do feature some key differences.

What Is a Degree?

Degrees make up the traditional pathway for education. Students can choose a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree to begin. Associate degrees take two years of full-time study to complete, and that includes state-required core courses. Bachelor’s degrees take four years with the same parameters.

College degrees require the student to take a variety of courses that don’t necessarily relate to their chosen major. These core courses broaden a student’s horizons and offer the chance to explore topics they might not have before. However, these courses can slow down a student who wants to make a career change quickly.

What Is a Certificate?

Certificates typically take less time than degrees to complete. Many professional certificates take anywhere from several weeks to a semester for students to complete. For some complex or multi-part certificates, they can take a much as a year.

Certificates don’t have core courses. Instead, they focus solely on the skills and tasks students need to master their subject. They’re a faster, more efficient option for students looking to upskill or for those who don’t want to take four years for a full degree. However, they may not always offer the full breadth of training students might get from a full degree.

How Can I Use a Degree or Certificate?

Both degrees and certificates can advance a student’s career when leveraged in the right field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certificate holders are much more likely to be employed than those without2. This offers good news, considering students can even find some free certificate choices.

Bachelor’s degree holders experience the same. Bachelor’s degree holders are far less likely to remain unemployed, even during the disruption of the 2020 year3. While associate degree holders don’t garner the same level of employment as bachelor’s degree holders3, continuing on to graduate work does pay off in employability for most fields3.

Degree and Certificate Courses

Courses for both degrees and certificate programs do have some similarities.

Online Courses

Both degree and certificate programs often offer online courses. In some cases, online courses happen asynchronously or on the student’s own schedule. Teachers set loose deadlines, and students complete work by those deadlines.

In other cases, students complete courses in a synchronous pattern. These courses happen live and at a prescribed time, much like in-person courses. Students then complete the required coursework by the assigned deadlines on their own time.

Core Courses

Certificates do not have core courses, but associate and bachelor’s degrees do. These cover a variety of subjects, such as mathematics, social science, and biology, to offer students a well-rounded education.

States require different combinations of core courses, so students should keep in mind the required courses they need to graduate. Some core courses may transfer from state to state, but not always.

Concentration Courses

Students take concentration courses specifically in their field of study. For degrees, these include the required courses of their major. In certificate courses, these are the contents of the certificate’s educational structure.

Higher degrees such as master’s or doctoral level options, as well as professional degrees, also include only concentration courses. Students master these higher-level courses as they complete these advanced degree paths.

Project-based Courses

In some certificate pathways, students complete project-based courses. They tackle a real-world problem through collaboration with their peers. At the end of the course, students have a full portfolio of work to share. For example, in web development certifications, a student may complete a website as part of their portfolio.

Degree and Certificate Types

Students can participate in several types of degrees and certifications.

Degree Types

For full degrees, students can choose the path that’s right for their studies.

Associate, Bachelor, or Master of Arts

Students typically pursue degrees in the liberal arts in fields such as education, philosophy, or literature. For bachelor’s degrees, this also means that students must also take a foreign language requirement with fewer mathematics requirements.

Associate, Bachelor, or Master of Science

Science degrees encompass many of the hard sciences, including mathematics, computer science, biological sciences, and engineering. Students pursuing these degrees focus less on language components and more on the mathematics that underpins many of these fields.

Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees make up the highest tier of education. Some of these degrees require a thesis, while others focus on projects or portfolios. They take an average of 5-7 years to complete on top of other advanced degrees.

Professional Degrees

Professional degrees include degrees in law, medicine, or other specialized subjects. They exist separately from typical advanced degrees because they require specialized training to complete.

Certificate Types

Students can choose from three basic types of certifications.

Professional-wide Certifications

Some certificates train students for a specific field. For example, those breaking into data science might earn a data analytics or machine learning certificate. Someone wanting to work in law might earn a paralegal certificate. They can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year or two to complete.

Product-specific Certificates

Instead of focusing on industry training, some certificates showcase a student’s mastery of a certain product or service. For example, students in business or project management can receive a Six Sigma certificate. Or students in computer science could earn a certificate in Microsoft Azure.

Internal or Corporate Certificates

For enterprises or large corporations, internal certificates prove that employees have mastered critical tools or policies required for their employment. They may also allow students to move up in the company, taking continuous learning seriously and helping corporations identify leaders from among their ranks.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Degree or Certificate

Associate degrees take two years, and bachelor’s degrees take four years of full-time study, including state-required core courses. Master’s degrees require 1-3 years after completing a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral degrees take 5-7 years beyond the master’s degree on average to complete.

Certificates offer a wider range of completion times. For many product or service-specific certificates, students need only sign up for the exam and receive a passing grade. For those accompanied by a course, they typically take a few weeks to complete.

Professional industry courses can take anywhere from several months to 1-2 years. Students can also take advantage of either full-time study, part-time study, or accelerated options that reduce the number of courses without increasing the time needed to study.

Discover More About Degrees and Certificates

Q. What is the application process for gaining degrees?

Undergraduate degrees typically require a high school diploma or GED. Students should follow the application requirements for their chosen program. Graduate degrees require a bachelor’s degree. Certificates have different requirements. Some require only sign up, while others have a sign-up process based on work experience or other qualifiers.

Q. Are online degrees or certificates available?

Yes. In the technological age, students possess plenty of choices for online certificates, degrees, and graduate degrees. These choices make it possible for students to find programs that offer exactly what they’re looking for without uprooting their entire lives.

Q. Are scholarships available for either degrees or certificates?

Students should check with their degree program to find available scholarships for their chosen department. For certificates, current employers might offer scholarships for continuing education. In both cases, students who belong to groups traditionally underrepresented in their chosen field might check for scholarships available to level the playing field.

Q. Do certificates look good on resumes?

Certificates showcase a commitment to continuous learning. Certificates for in-demand skills such as project management, IT skills, or data science could stand out on resumes and encourage employers to reach out.

Does location matter for receiving certificates or degrees?

Luckily, online options make it easier for students to choose the right program for their career goals. Potential job seekers can use online certificates and degrees as a way to level up their skills and subscribe to the lifelong learning employers look for in ideal employees.

Q. Are certificates or degrees necessary for employment?

While some fields still hire without a certificate or degree, the BLS notes that certificate and degree holders are more likely to possess jobs2,3 and experience less unemployment even during disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic.


[1] PayScale. (2021). Bachelor’s Degree Salary.https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor%27s_Degree/Salary

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat49.htm

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Data on Display: Education Pays, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2021/data-on-display/education-pays.htm

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What Should I Do With a Fine Arts Degree? https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/careers/fine-arts-salary/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 22:23:37 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=44042 A fine arts degree could lead to an exciting career. Here, we outline top jobs for students with a fine arts degree. [...]

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Pursuing a degree in fine arts can open the door to many fulfilling professions1. Those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in fine arts qualify for jobs like museum curator, graphic designer, industrial designer, interior designer, art director, and more2.

In addition to learning specific skills and tools to succeed in the field, a fine arts education can also provide tools and abilities to analyze the world in which we live3. This guide explores several popular and high-paying career paths available for graduates with fine art degrees, as well as how job seekers can land these roles.

Highest Paying Fine Arts Degree Jobs

Art Director Average Annual Salary: $97,270

Art directors can earn an average salary of $97,270 per year4 and are responsible for developing and maintaining visual styles and images in everything from print and online media to product packaging. Art director employment is anticipated to grow by 11% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)4.

Product Designer Average Annual Salary: $91,302

Earning $91,302 a year on average5, product designers are responsible for designing new products and redesigning older ones. In addition to creating product specifications, these individuals research product creation techniques, test functionality, and improve design where possible.

User Experience (UX) Designer Average Annual Salary: $88,770

The average annual salary for UX designers is $88,7704. This job entails such responsibilities as wireframe and site map creation, usability testing, and sketching and prototyping digital product experience. In addition to having a background in the arts, UX designers typically have UX software knowledge.

Special Effect Artists and Animator Average Annual Salary: $77,700

With an average salary of $77,700 per year6, special effect artists and animators create movable images and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment. These experts create images and effects on computers while conducting research to ensure realistic designs and animations. Employment in this field is projected to grow 16% between 2020 and 20306.

Fashion Designer Average Annual Salary: $75,810

Fashion designers earn, on average, $75,810 annually7, and their main job is to create original clothing, footwear, and accessories. They develop designs, both by computer and sketching and also have a hand in selecting patterns and fabrics. According to the BLS, this field shows limited employment growth7.

Industrial Designer Average Annual Salary: $71,640

Earning an average of $71,640 per year8, industrial designers develop concepts for manufactured projects. These individuals mix art, business, and engineering to make products such as toys, appliances, and cars. Employment in this field is anticipated to grow 6% between 2020 and 20308.

Interior Designer Average Annual Salary: $57,060

With an average salary of $57,060 per year9, interior designers design and present functional, safe, and beautiful indoor spaces. They determine space requirements and select essential and decorative items; they must also read, draw, and edit blueprints. Many in this field work in specialized design services or in architectural or engineering firms. According to the BLS, employment in this field is not anticipated to change over the next decade9.

Graphic Designer Average Annual Salary: $53,380

Graphic designers earn an average salary of $53,380 per year10. They use computer software or sketching skills to create visual concepts. Tasks include overall layout and production design for products, advertisements, web design, and other visually oriented applications. Employment in this field is forecast to increase by 3% between 2020 and 203010.

Museum Curator Average Annual Salary: $52,140

With an average salary of $52,140 per year11, museum curators oversee artwork collections and may be called upon to prepare and restore items. They also appraise, catalog, and preserve the items. In addition, public and community outreach may be part of the job. Employment in this field is forecast to grow 19% from 2020 to 203011.

Craft and Fine Artists Average Annual Salary: $49,120

Earning an average salary of $49,120 per year12, craft and fine artists are the closest thing to the standard image of the fine arts graduate. These individuals create original artworks for sale and exhibition from a variety of materials. However, these skills also translate into other fields as well. For example, medical illustrators have an artistic background. The BLS forecasts that employment in this field will grow 14% between 2020 and 203012.

Popular Career Paths With a Fine Arts Degree

The sometimes assumed career path of someone with a fine arts degree may be in a museum or exhibition gallery. In truth, however, those with an associate, undergraduate, or graduate degree in fine arts have their pick of many career paths, such as the following2:

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Manufacturing and Aerospace
  • Architecture
  • Technology
  • Education

Average Salary for Fine Arts Degree Graduates

The average salary for those graduating with a degree in fine arts varies widely, depending on the job, level of education, and industry. According to PayScale.com, the average salary for someone with a bachelor of fine arts degree is $59,00013 a year. Meanwhile, those with a master’s degree earn, on average, $63,000 a year14.

How to Find a Job After You Graduate

The steps to find a job after graduating with a fine arts degree are not much different than those required when graduating with any other degree. The main key here is to leverage a network in the following ways:

Ask professors for assistance

Many times, college instructors have their ears to the ground when it comes to job openings. Also, check out fine arts career services at your college or university.

Pursue internships in fields that rely on artistic skills

As mentioned above, a fine arts degree opens the door to many career paths. It is possible to parlay an internship from an aerospace firm or marketing agency into a referral or even a full-time job.

Join industry associations

Viable associations might include the Association of Medical Illustrators, Art Dealers Association of America, or National Association for the Visual Arts. Also, consider looking up business associations, such as the American Marketing Association. These groups consist of real-world employers, and they might be looking for someone to hire.

Remember LinkedIn and other professional social media platforms

These are ideal for not just finding job openings but building networking relationships, which can lead to information about companies that are hiring.

Also, another good way to help stand out is to develop a website and make sure the URL is on all resumes, cover letters, and business cards sent to prospective employers. After all, the goal here is an artistic presentation. A well-designed website featuring a portfolio of experience can go a long way toward showing skills in a real-world setting.

Discover More About a Career With a Fine Arts Degree

Q. Which field is best for fine arts degree graduates?

A fine arts degree fits into many artistic fields. The skills learned through a college fine arts program also transfer well into other industries. Determining which career path is best depends on your goals, interests, and salary expectations.

Q. Am I better off with a master’s degree in fine arts? Or is my BFA enough?

The answer to this question depends on what you want from your career. An undergraduate degree qualifies you for positions including art director, interior designer, product designer, or UX designer. A master’s degree qualifies you for many of these same jobs, with a management component. When deciding if an advanced degree is best for you, research the jobs you’re interested in, and understand the education requirements.


[1] Great Value Colleges. (2021). 9 great reasons to major in art. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/lists/art-major-reasons/

[2] Great Value Colleges. (2021). Art and design degree programs. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/art-design-degree-programs/

[3] Great Value Colleges. (2021). Can I make a living with an art degree? Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/faq/can-i-make-a-living-with-an-art-degree/

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Art directors. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm

[5] Indeed.com (2021). 10 high-paying jobs for art majors. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/art-major-jobs

[6] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Special effects artists and animators. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm

[7] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Fashion designers. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/fashion-designers.htm

[8] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Industrial designers. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/industrial-designers.htm

[9] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Interior designers. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/interior-designers.htm

[10] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Graphic artists. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm

[11] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Museum curator. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and-conservators.htm

[12] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2021). Craft and fine artists. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/craft-and-fine-artists.htm

[13] Payscale.com (2021). Bachelor of fine arts degree. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor_of_Fine_Arts_(BFA)/Salary

[14] Payscale.com (2021). Master of fine arts degree. Retrieved November 9, 2021 from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Fine_Arts_(MFA)/Salary

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Online Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) Degrees & Program Overview https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/degrees/online-pta-programs/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 21:28:25 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=44026 Working as a physical therapy assistant can be a rewarding job. Learn more about online degrees and programs here. [...]

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The average physical therapist makes $72,123 per year1 working with patients who need to recover after injury, build strength after surgery, or maintain a range of motion as they age. These therapists work with the body to ensure that muscles and connectors remain strong and supple. Most physical therapists need a doctoral-level degree to receive certification, so students must understand the school path to obtain certification.

This guide outlines what it takes to become a physical therapist and helps students choose the right physical therapy degree to complete their goals.

What Is an Online Physical Therapy Degree?

An online physical therapy degree prepares students for taking their certification and licensure exams. It trains students in the best practices of the field, offering both coursework and clinical experiences.

Students can complete coursework online both asynchronously and synchronously but need to participate in clinical experiences in person. Most schools offer support for students to find clinical locations in their area. However, if students live close enough to their program’s physical location, they can also take advantage of the program’s network for clinical placements.

The programs often include a capstone project — a scholarly research paper or a more hands-on patient care plan, for example — that showcases a student’s mastery of physical therapy subject matter. Each state may possess slightly different licensure criteria, so students must check their chosen online program for skills and eligibility alignment.

How Can I Use a Physical Therapy Degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the field to grow at a faster than average pace at 21% over the next decade2. Potential job seekers can look forward to 15,600 job openings each year from 2020 to 20302, leaving plenty of room open for new physical therapists.

Much of this job activity is expected to happen because of two factors3:

  1. Firms need to replace those leaving the field or retiring.
  2. As more people live longer — with baby boomers leading the way — the demand for aging services such as physical therapy will grow.

Together, these two factors mean job seekers will enjoy a robust career field with plenty of opportunities for at least the next 10 years or so.

According to the BLS, this list includes the five highest paying industries for physical therapists:

Spectator Sports Physical Therapists Average Annual Salary: $108,520

Physical therapists can make over six figures per year4 working for the sports industry. They keep players healthy and happy while managing pain from muscle use and injury. This job employs roughly 50 positions per year4.

Physical Therapists at Outpatient Care Centers Average Annual Salary: $105,600

Physical therapists at outpatient care centers make over $105,000 per year4, helping manage the ongoing physical therapy for a variety of patient types. They may have regular attendees, those recovering from injury or surgery, and those with special health needs. The field employs 5,700 positions per year4.

Physical Therapists in Individual and Family Services Average Annual Salary: $101,240

Physical therapists working for individual and family services can make over $101,000 per year4, helping seniors and families with disability services, health needs, and routine checks. The sector employs 2,720 people per year.

Physical Therapists in Child Day Care Services Average Annual Salary: $99,910

Child daycare services that offer physical therapy pay almost six figures per year4. Children can be candidates for physical therapy because of surgery or injury, as well as those with special health needs. The sector will employ around 310 positions per year4.

Physical Therapists in Office Administrative Services Average Annual Salary: $98,510

Office administrative services pay physical therapists $98,510 per yearand employ about 130 positions4. This field provides offices and companies with in-house health services.

Physical Therapy Degree Courses

Students in a physical therapy degree path focus on bodily systems, therapy techniques, and other appropriate anatomy and physiology training. While degree paths may vary slightly, these are five common courses students will take.

Human anatomy

Students gain a deeper knowledge of the human body and its systems. This knowledge helps students understand the cause and effect of injuries, surgery, and other challenges, as well as offers students a foundation for planning physical therapy approaches.

Exercise physiology

What happens when the human body exercises, and how does exercise affect the overall movement and flexibility of the body? Students explore these questions in this course.

Kinesiology and biomechanics

These courses study the mechanics of movement. Students learn how to identify issues with movement based on movement norms and build physical therapy programs that tackle movement challenges.

Research methods

Most doctor of physical therapy programs require research in the field. Research methods courses teach students the best practices for approaching research from an academic standpoint and support students who plan to conduct research in the field.

Clinical practice

Students take part in on-site clinicals designed to provide hands-on experience in both physical therapy and the workplace. They then apply their skills and see what happens in a real clinical setting.

Physical Therapy Degree Concentrations

Physical therapists may choose to specialize in a certain area of the field for their doctoral studies. These concentrations fall into three distinct areas.

Specific Body Systems

Physical therapists can specialize in a certain body system, helping patients recover and applying their knowledge to ensure that the system works at its best. Some examples include:

  • Orthopedic physical therapy: Focuses on restoring normal function to the musculoskeletal system, including joints, spinal tissues, and bones.
  • Cardiopulmonary physical therapy: Focuses on the heart and lungs
  • Neurological physical therapy: Focuses on brain and nervous system health

Specific Health Challenge

Physical therapists can also focus specifically on health challenges, working with patients overcoming a specific need based on things like recent diagnosis, traumatic event, or even job type. Some examples include:

  • Sports physical therapy: Focuses on the needs and challenges for athletes, whether professional or amateur
  • Oncology: Aids cancer teams in helping patients regain function after a cancer diagnosis, treatment, or surgery
  • Electrophysiology: Focuses on using electrical stimulation to help patients overcome chronic conditions, muscle spasms, or wound healing

Specific Life Stage

Physical therapists can also choose to focus on a specific life stage, such as:

  • Neonatal: Focuses on premature children and works with the neonatal care team to facilitate the best start to life
  • Pediatrics: Focuses on the health and wellbeing of children, studying growth patterns and progression
  • Geriatrics: Focuses on senior health and the aging process

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Physical Therapy Degree?

Physical therapists need a doctoral degree to earn licensure and certification in most states. Students begin with a traditional undergraduate degree in a field like biology, pre-med, or pre-physical therapy. The undergraduate degree takes four years of full-time study and includes state-required core courses.

A doctor of physical therapy takes an average of 2.5-3 years after receiving an undergraduate degree. It includes both regular coursework and clinical hours. This degree possesses online options for coursework, but students need to take in-person clinicals to qualify for licensure.

Students should check their state’s requirements for the number of clinical hours required for licensure, but typically they translate to full-time work for a certain period of time. In all, it can take seven years of full-time, uninterrupted study to complete the degree work to become a licensed physical therapist.

Discover More About Physical Therapy Degree Programs

Q. What is the application process for a licensed physical therapist?

Students first complete an undergraduate degree in a related field before applying to an online doctorate program. Each school has individual admissions criteria; students should prepare by compiling references or completing any necessary standardized exams.

Q. Are scholarships available for physical therapy degrees?

Online and traditional programs may offer scholarships to students from an academic standpoint, to those with existing work experience, or to those from traditionally underrepresented groups. Students choosing to concentrate in an in-demand area may also find local scholarships available.

Q. Does location matter for a physical therapy degree?

Online options make getting a degree easier. However, students may find higher-paying employment in the following states:

  • Nevada average annual salary: $108,5804
  • California average annual salary: $104,5004
  • Alaska average annual salary: $101,1904
  • New Jersey average annual salary: $100,7404
  • Connecticut average annual salary: $100,5804

Q. Is an online physical therapy degree an option?

Students can complete coursework online but must attend clinicals in person. They can take advantage of their program’s network for placements or find their own program-approved placements close to their location.

Q. Can you become a physical therapist with a bachelor’s degree?

Most states require a doctoral degree for full licensure, but an associate or bachelor’s degree offers students the opportunity to work as physical therapy assistants.

Q. Is physical therapy a good career?

Despite the long schooling years, physical therapy remains a good career for the long term. The field is expected to grow over the next 10 years, and many states and positions pay over six figures.


[1] PayScale. (2021). Physical Therapist Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Salary

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physical Therapists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm#tab-2

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physical Therapists Job Outlook. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm#tab-6

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages, Physical Therapists. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm#st

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How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make? https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/careers/heavy-equipment-operator-salary/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 21:05:13 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=44019 Becoming a heavy equipment operator can be an exciting opportunity. Here, we outline the earning potential of heavy equipment operators. [...]

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Heavy equipment operators make an average of $20.35 per hour1 managing all kinds of heavy machinery and vehicles. Operators remain in demand in the construction industry, shipping and logistics, and manufacturing fields.

This guide explores some of the highest-paying heavy equipment operator positions available for job seekers. Plus, it outlines what to expect for new graduates and how to land the best position in the field.

Highest Paying Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs

Students can follow a general heavy equipment operator career path, but that doesn’t end their options. Specializing in a particular type of equipment could earn them more and help them to stand out in the job field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this list demonstrates some of the highest-paying heavy equipment operator positions that job seekers can find.

Tower Crane Operator Average Annual Salary: $64,010

Tower crane operators make an average annual salary of just over $64,000 per year2. They operate mechanical booms to move heavy equipment and materials around, particularly in large-scale construction. The field employs approximately 44,000 positions per year2.

Backhoe Operator Average Hourly Pay: $20.48

Backhoe operators make an average hourly rate of $20.483. The field offers an annual salary range between $28,000 on the low end to $75,000 for the highest-paid workers3. Backhoe operators manipulate the bucket of the backhoe to move materials and drive the machine to its desired location.

Construction Equipment Operator Average Annual Salary: $49,100

General construction equipment operators make just over $49,000 per year4 working on projects at construction sites. The field is expected to grow a bit slower than average4, but job seekers should still see more than 24,900 new open positions between 2020 and 20304.

Riggers Average Annual Salary: $53,020

Riggers make over $53,000 per year on average5, working with cables and chains to move materials through spaces where traditional heavy equipment may not fit. They also set up and repair rigging for outdoor material movement, such as in the logging industry. The field employs around 22,000 positions per year, many located in mining, motion picture studios, and ship building5.

General Heavy Equipment Operator Average Hourly Rate: $20.35

General heavy equipment operators make around $20.35 per hour6 operating a number of different types of machinery. The salary range varies from $31,000 per year for the lowest-paid operators to $71,000 for the top echelon of operators6.

Mobile Crane Operator Average Hourly Rate: $25.26

Mobile crane operators make an average hourly rate of $25.267 working with smaller, mobile versions of tower cranes. Their salaries range from $40,000 per year to $82,000 in the highest ranks of paid positions7.

Excavator Operator Average Hourly Rate: $20.39

Excavator operators make an average of $20.39 per hour8 helping move materials at quarries, construction sites, and blast zones. Those operators on the top end of the scale make a salary of $73,000 per year8.

Front End Loader Average Hourly Rate: $16.43

Front-end loaders make $16.43 per hour9 working on construction sites and other types of projects. These machines make it easier to move materials, load debris, and redistribute loose surfaces. The highest-paid tier of positions pays a salary of around $48,000 per year9.

Pile Driver Operator Average Annual Salary: $71,880

Pile driver operators make just over $71,000 per year10, helping prepare the foundation for new construction and other building activities. The field employs around 3,800 people per year10 with most positions in general heavy construction or civil engineering construction.

Material Moving Machine Operator Average Annual Salary: $37,450

Material moving machine operators make just over $37,000 per year11, working with construction materials, shipping activities, and other heavy objects. The field is expected to grow at an average pace over the course of the next 10 years11 but will still offer more than 84,000 openings each year11 over the next decade.

Popular Career Paths With a Heavy Equipment Operator Certification

Heavy equipment operators work in several industries where moving heavy materials or handling large-scale construction is needed.

General Construction

Those working in general construction can operate backhoes, material movers, pile drivers, and other heavy equipment to move materials, excavate sites, and build at a large scale. This industry employs around 14,800 people per year12.


The mining industry requires heavy equipment operators to manage specialty equipment involved in extracting, loading, and building specialty rigs. The coal mining field, for example, employs around 5,640 people per year12, while the nonmetallic mineral mining field employs more than 15,00012.


The local, state, and federal governments must employ heavy equipment operators in their bid to manage the country’s infrastructure. They employ thousands per year, including 52,860 per year at the local level12.

Logging and Forestry

The logging industry also employs heavy equipment operators such as riggers to move these heavy materials. They need operators for transport, excavation, and processing.

Ship and Boat Building

For large-scale ships, heavy equipment operators like riggers can make around $50,370 per year5. They help move materials, handle construction, and decommission older ships for recycling or reuse.

Average Salary for Heavy Equipment Operator Graduates

Salary ranges can vary, but general heavy equipment operators can look forward to around $20.35 per hour1. However, graduates can increase their salary expectations as they gain more experience or specialize in a certain type of equipment. Pile drivers, for example, make an average salary of over $71,000 per year10.

Certain states may also provide a higher salary. For example, riggers make an average national salary of just over $52,000 per year5. However, in New York, riggers make an annual salary of over $81,000 per year5. In Hawaii, they make an average salary of over $67,000 per year5. Graduates who can relocate may find more lucrative employment options.

How to Find a Job After You Graduate

Students complete fieldwork during their training, giving them chances to network and gain hands-on experience for their resumes. Students may also take advantage of job training. Employers who need heavy equipment operators may agree to pay for training for candidates with the agreement that they will work for a certain period of time for that company.

Some students may take apprenticeships, which also provide chances to network and work in the field. Certifications for heavy equipment operating include those for crane operators or OSHA safety certifications. As students add more relevant work certifications, their chances of employment may increase.

As infrastructure rebuilding increases, students can also look at states with the highest needs for heavy equipment operators. For example, construction equipment operators may have more luck in their job search in Texas, which employs more than 45,000 positions per year12, or California, which employs more than 27,000 per year12.

Discover More About a Career With a Heavy Equipment Operator Certification

Q. Do I need a degree to become a heavy equipment operator?

Students who possess a high school diploma can apply to most training programs and certifications. The field also offers an apprenticeship path for those with little education. The salary remains above the national average even without years of schooling.

Q. How long does it take to get certified to be a heavy equipment operator?

Certification programs can take just a few weeks of training with an exam at the end. Some programs require a certified driver’s license, but students do not always need a driving license to complete the program.

Q. Is being a heavy equipment operator worth it?

The field continues to grow at an average pace in most cases. Employers will always need operators, andthis trade school job doesn’t require much schooling beyond a high school diploma to get started. In fact, with just a diploma and a few weeks of training, students can land jobs with salaries over the national average.

Q. Is heavy equipment operation hard on your body?

Heavy equipment operators work in a variety of conditions — outside, in risky situations, and sometimes at odd hours. The position can carry some risk, although workplaces follow federal safety regulations.

Q. What is the application process for heavy equipment operators?

Students typically only need a high school diploma and a training program to earn jobs in heavy equipment operation. Entry-level programs cover a range of equipment, but students can also train further on specific types of equipment like cranes, pile drivers, or mobile cranes.

Q. What skills are needed for heavy equipment operation?

In addition to machine-specific skills, students also need other workplace skills. These include being able to follow relevant safety regulations, reading blueprints and plans, and basic maintenance and repair skills for heavy machinery. They should also be familiar with the general wear and tear on the machine to recognize issues before they become a risk.

Q. Is online training for heavy equipment operation an option?

Some programs may offer online courses for safety regulations and other types of knowledge-based classwork. However, students still need hands-on training at an approved site, so programs will always be hybrid. Employers will want to know that applicants have hands-on training.


[1] PayScale. (2021). Average Heavy Equipment Operator Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Heavy_Equipment_Operator/Hourly_Rate

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages: Crane and Tower Operators. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes537021.htm

[3] PayScale. (2021). Average Backhoe Operator Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Backhoe_Operator/Hourly_Rate

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction Equipment Operator. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/construction-equipment-operators.htm

[5] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages: Riggers. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499096.htm

[6] PayScale. (2021). Average Heavy Equipment Operator Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Heavy_Equipment_Operator/Hourly_Rate

[7] PayScale. (2021). Average Mobile Crane Operator Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Mobile_Crane_Operator/Hourly_Rate

[8] PayScale. (2021). Average Excavator Operator Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Excavator_Operator/Hourly_Rate

[9] PayScale. (2021). Average Front End Loader Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Front_End_Loader_Operator/Hourly_Rate

[10] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages: Pile Driver Operators. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472072.htm

[11] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Material Moving Machine Operators. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/material-moving-machine-operators.htm

[12] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages, Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472073.htm

[13] Riggers. (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages: Riggers. https://www.bls.gov/oes/2019/may/oes499096.htm

The post How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make? appeared first on Great Value Colleges.

How Much Do Radiation Therapists Make? https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/careers/radiation-therapists-salary/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 20:09:20 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=44009 Radiation therapists help admisinted radiation treatments, among other duties. Here, we outline the earning potential of radiation therapists. [...]

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Radiation therapists make $86,850 per year1, primarily helping cancer patients by administering radiation treatments. Along with other members of the care team, including oncologists, oncology nurses, and medical physicists, radiation therapists work to treat cancer and other diseases treatable with radiation.

This guide explores what to expect from a radiation therapy career, including potential salary and how students can land a position after graduation.

Highest Paying Radiation Therapy Jobs

Radiation therapists work as part of a team of professionals who diagnose, treat, and monitor cancer patients and those with diseases that respond to radiation therapy. They handle many of the hands-on tasks required for a successful treatment, including:

  • Explaining treatment plans and processes to patients and their family members
  • Supporting patients before, during, and after treatments
  • Reviewing all plans
  • Tracking and recording treatments
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Protecting patients from unnecessary radiation exposure
  • Observing patients for adverse reactions during and after treatments

Radiation therapists work with oncologists to ensure that patients receive the proper care and can offer the first line of defense against side effects or non-responsive cancers. The field requires some knowledge of the medical applications of radiation as well as knowledge of the specialized machines themselves.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the job field will grow on par with the average industry1, adding up to around 1,100 openings each year over the next decade1. Radiation therapy focuses specifically on radiation treatments, but therapists can choose several different paths in terms of employment location or focus.

Outpatient Care Center Radiation Therapist Average Annual Salary: $119,530

Radiation therapists working in general outpatient care facilities or cancer-specific treatment centers enjoy a salary of about $119,000 per year1 on average. They deliver treatments at outpatient centers, working with the care team not only at the facility but also the medical professionals involved in the patient’s primary care.

Professional Equipment and Supplies Wholesalers Radiation Therapist Average Annual Salary: $109,315

Radiation therapists can make over six figures a year representing equipment wholesalers1. Because of their knowledge of these specialized equipment pieces, they’re able to help clients troubleshoot or demonstrate features to new clients.

Radiation Therapist at Specialty Hospitals Average Annual Salary: $104,520

Specialty hospitals pay their radiation therapists over six figures per year on average1. These types of hospitals don’t include psychiatry or substance abuse, but they do focus on specific types of treatments, including cancer-specific treatment centers.

Radiation Therapist at Physician Offices Average Annual Salary: $98,470

Radiation therapists working out of physicians’ offices make just over $98,000 per year1. This field employs around 4,270 therapists per year1. Radiation therapists work with the cancer teams and primary care physicians to administer treatment.

Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools Radiation Therapist Faculty Average Annual Salary: $97,290

Radiation therapists working on education teams can make over $97,000 per year1 training the next generation of therapists. These positions include two-year schools and trade schools, as well as four-year degrees for those who want to advance to higher positions in the field.

Radiation Therapist at Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories Average Annual Salary: $93,030

Medical and diagnostic labs pay radiation therapists over $93,000 per year1 to help with the diagnostic process, treatment plans, and equipment maintenance. These centers are a vital part of diagnosing and monitoring patients as they make progress in treatments.

Radiation Therapist at General Medical and Surgical Hospitals Annual Salary: $88,740

Radiation therapists working with oncology teams at general hospitals enjoy a salary of just under $89,000 per year1. These centers don’t focus solely on cancer-specific treatments, so radiation therapists may see clients from different walks of life seeking treatment through the hospital system. It employs around 10,000 positions per year1.

Chief Radiation Therapists Average Annual Salary: $91,962

Chief radiation therapists make almost $92,000 per year2 as the chief overseer of the radiation treatment center and therapists. They work with teams of therapists to administer, monitor, and follow up with patients. They oversee the workings of the treatment center and liaise as they need to with other members of the healthcare team and staff.

Popular Career Paths With a Radiation Therapy Degree

Radiation therapy requires a two-year degree or training to get into the field. Motivated radiation therapists can continue schooling to take on other positions within the same field. The following positions offer students the opportunity to specialize further within the medical field or in maintaining and understanding these complex machines.

Radiation Oncologist Average Annual Salary: $337,767

Those who continue their studies to complete an undergraduate degree and medical degree can become radiation oncologists, making multiple six-figure salaries per year3. These medical doctors oversee teams of radiation therapists, diagnose and treat patients, and treat side effects patients may have.

Radiation Physicist Average Annual Salary: $159,137

Radiation physicists continue their studies to a master’s or doctoral degree in physics, making $159,137 per year4. These professionals analyze and maintain the linear accelerator, the machine delivering radiation, to ensure patient safety and optimized performance. Some radiation physicists complete a bachelor’s degree and gain on-the-job training, but most will need advanced degrees.

Dosimetrist Average Annual Salary: $104,000 per year

Dosimetrists make over six figures a year5, delivering exactly the right dose of radiation to the correct part of the body. Dosimetrists typically complete a bachelor’s degree6 and an official training program to get certified. The Certified Medical Dosimetrist certification offered by the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB) requires a bachelor’s degree for eligibility6.

Other Career Path Choices

Students who complete a radiation therapy program can also choose to follow other career paths in related disciplines. Some students may choose to transfer to nursing assistance with a few relevant courses and residencies, for example. Others may find employment as orderlies or even in dental offices while they wait to find a position specifically in radiation therapy.

Average Salary for Radiation Therapy Graduates

The average radiation therapist makes about $86,850 per year on average. However, experience and job location can greatly affect the final salary number. Some of the top-paying states to work in radiation therapy (according to BLS1) include:

  • California: $126,610
  • New York: $120,470
  • Oregon: $107,920
  • Washington: $106,450
  • Montana: $103,570

These top five states all pay more than the national average for radiation therapists.

Students can also become a Chief Radiation Therapist for a salary boost beyond the national average as well, earning an average annual salary of $91,9622. Alternately, students can continue their education in the medical field and earn well over $300,0003 as a radiation oncologist, a medical doctor specializing in radiation treatments.

How to Find a Job After You Graduate

Radiation therapy graduates can take advantage of their school’s networking and alumni facilities to help find employment after graduation. The field is expected to grow at an average pace over the next ten years1, so students should have a good chance of finding employment.

Other possibilities include taking on internships or part-time work at general hospitals that have a need for more workers. These positions could help students gain the experience they need to snag jobs in more lucrative settings, including outpatient centers.

If students already work at a healthcare facility of some sort, going back to school to train as radiation therapists could help them move up or into other departments. Students can also draw on their existing connections to find job openings. Although most radiation therapy programs are just two years, certification and a full bachelor’s degree also help a resume stand out.

Students waiting for positions to open up can also apply to be nursing assistants or orderlies at their chosen facility. This helps the staff get to know them and could lead to a position later on when one opens.

Discover More about a Career in Radiation Therapy

Q. How long does it take to become a radiation therapist?

Many training programs require just two years to become certified in the basics. A four-year degree helps resumes stand out in a sea of applicants.

Q. What certifications do radiation therapists need?

After the training program, most students must sit for an official certification exam such as a state license. Students should check their state’s individual requirements or consult with their training program for more information.

Q. Is radiation therapy a good career?

It’s one of the highest paying associate degree career paths and offers students the opportunity to make far above the national average salary with just two years of training. The field will also grow at an average pace over the next ten years1, offering students an average opportunity for employment.

Q. What are the risks of radiation therapy careers?

Training to become a radiation therapist includes all up-to-date safety features and best practices. However, working with radiation carries some risks. Students could face exposure to radioactive materials during the course of their career if machines fail or experience trouble, although this occurrence is rare when following standard safety procedures.

Q. Are there online radiation therapy degrees?

Online courses cover topics such as safety, basic machine knowledge, and the science behind radiation therapy. While students may be able to participate in hybrid programs, a combination of online and traditional instruction, radiation therapy programs require residency in labs for hands-on experience.


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Radiation Therapists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiation-therapists.htm

[2] PayScale. (2021). Skill Salary: Radiation Therapy. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Skill=Radiation_Therapy/Salary

[3] PayScale. (2021). Average Radiation Oncologist Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Radiation_Oncologist/Salary

[4] PayScale. (2021). Average Radiation Physicist Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Radiation_Physicist/Salary

[5] PayScale. 2021) Salary for Certification: Certified Medical Dosimetrist. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Certified_Medical_Dosimetrist_(CMD)/Salary

[6] Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board. (n.d.) Applicant Handbook. https://www.mdcb.org/sites/mdcb/files/images/Exam%20Handbook_2022.1%20Final_1.pdf

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How Much Do Air Traffic Controllers Make? https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/careers/air-traffic-controllers-salary/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 19:32:42 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=43999 Air traffic controllers make an average of $91,552 per year1, helping organize the planes that fill the skies and keeping landings and takeoffs safe. They advise pilots in times of crisis, and without them, the [...]

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Air traffic controllers make an average of $91,552 per year1, helping organize the planes that fill the skies and keeping landings and takeoffs safe. They advise pilots in times of crisis, and without them, the airline industry wouldn’t operate at capacity.

This guide explores the air traffic controller career field, and what potential job seekers can expect from this unique job.

Highest Paying Air Traffic Controller Jobs

About 90% of positions available to students in this field are with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)2. The FAA has strict requirements for those wanting to work in this field:

  • Age 30 or under at the time of application
  • U.S. citizen
  • Pass strict medical and security investigations
  • Pass the FAA pre-employment test
  • Possess three years of progressively responsible work experience or a bachelor’s degree
  • Willing to relocate to satisfy hiring needs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)2, these comprise the most lucrative positions for air traffic controllers across the country.

Federal Executive Branch Air Traffic Controller Average Annual Salary: $130,400

Air traffic controllers make over $130,0003 working for the Federal Executive Branch. Air traffic control falls under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), making most commercial and civilian flight controllers a federal position. The industry employs about 20,000 people per year3.

Air Traffic Control Support Activities for Air Transportation Average Annual Salary: $97,320

Air traffic controllers working in the support activities sector pull in just over $97,000 per year3, ensuring that air transportation infrastructure remains organized and secure. The field employs around 1,300 people per year3, making it a smaller but well-paying portion of the industry.

Air Traffic Control Tower Option Average Annual Salary: $92,725

Tower option controllers make just under $93,000 per year4 controlling air traffic within the radius of the airport. They also transfer air traffic monitoring to en route centers and receive control when aircraft move into the airport space.

En Route Center Air Traffic Controller Average Annual Salary: $92,000

En route center controllers make $92,000 on average5 working to maintain the safety of flights while away from specific airport air spaces. Although passengers never see these centers, they work in specialized radar rooms to maintain safe distances between aircraft and receive control from tower controllers when the aircraft moves out.

Scheduled Air Transportation Air Traffic Controller Average Annual Salary: $90,970

Scheduled air transportation positions pay about $90,0003 to air traffic controllers who organize and maintain safe transportation routes, takeoffs, and landings. The field employs professionals in around 100 positions3, so it’s a small part of the industry. However, the compensation could make it well worth the effort to secure a position here.

Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services Air Traffic Control Average Annual Salary: $85,360

Air traffic controllers employed in this sector enjoy an annual salary of $85,360 per year3. The sector typically employs less than 100 people3, but this scientific and professional services field still offers one of the highest salaries for an already above-average paying profession.

Local Government Air Traffic Controller Average Annual Salary: $79,640

Local air spaces pay their air traffic controllers just under $80,000 per year3. They handle local air traffic specifically, although they still fall under FAA distinction. They employ around 70 people per year3 but could provide lucrative positions for those working in more remote areas.

Nonscheduled Air Transportation Air Traffic Controller Average Annual Salary: $77,010

Air traffic controllers working for this particular sector make an average salary of just over $77,000 per year3. The sector remains small at fewer than 50 positions per year3, but still provides vital services for charter companies and those with no regular routes.

Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing Air Traffic Controller Average Annual Salary: $76,910

The aerospace product and parts manufacturing sector pays air traffic controllers an average salary of just under $77,000 per year3. The sector employs fewer than 50 people per year3 but would offer excellent career services for those who need an adjacent option to the traditional air traffic control field.

Flight Dispatcher Average Annual Salary: $57,374

Flight dispatchers, also known as air dispatchers, make over $57,000 per year6 coordinating flight paths for aircraft, ensuring aircraft follows safety regulations, and conducting thorough research into the pilot’s flight plan. These positions work in tandem with air traffic control to lay the foundation for a safe, efficient flight.

Popular Career Paths With an Air Traffic Controller Degree

Air traffic controllers work with a few different types of companies to ensure all air traffic moves people and goods safely and effectively.

Federal Aviation Administration

The biggest employer for air traffic controllers remains the FAA. These positions work from local airports to large international airports, handling traffic safety as aircraft leaves or enters the flight space.

The FAA also maintains centers around the country not located near airports. These en route centers monitor all aircraft flying out of the range of local airports and ensure flight paths remain clear.

Other Support Activities for Aviation

Any positions not maintained by the FAA would fall under other support activities. Although these positions are in the minority, they still provide valuable safety services to those with nonscheduled routes or in other capacities.

Department of Defense

The Department of Defense (DoD) also maintains a fleet of air traffic controllers designed to keep military aircraft movements safe. They train in the same disciplines as the civilian position but also learn military-specific skills, such as setting up tactical air spaces.

Average Salary for Air Traffic Controller Graduates

The average salary for air traffic controllers comes in at around $91,000 per year1, with some estimates putting it at well over six figures per year5. Overall salary depends on the type of position as well as the location. According to the BLS, these five states provide the highest salary potential3:

  • New Hampshire average annual salary: $147,710
  • Georgia average annual salary: $144,450
  • Illinois average annual salary: $143,480
  • California average annual salary: $141,530
  • Minnesota average annual salary: $141,410

Students looking to maximize their salary can rely on a combination of geography and experience to help break into some of these highest-paid positions. Working with the FAA and the DoD may offer some choices in a general location.

How to Find a Job After You Graduate

Once students graduate from a program, they must pass strict medical and security investigations to get on the employment list. They must also pass the FAA’s pre-employment test.

Previous air traffic control experience, such as in the military, can provide students an easier pathway to employment with the FAA. Students can also intern at FAA facilities, learning valuable information and skills before official employment.

Jobs with the FAA remain competitive, but students can put in their time and work up. However, if students can gain real, hands-on experience, they put themselves in a much better position.

Discover More About a Career with an Air Traffic Controller Degree

Q. What does an air traffic controller do?

Air traffic controllers use radar, computers, and visual references to monitor and guide the movements of aircraft, whether on the ground at airports or in the sky. Air traffic control includes both tower control (sometimes called ground control) and en-route control, or movements out of range of airport space.

Q. What are the requirements to become an air traffic controller?

Students need a bachelor’s degree and must pass the pre-employment training exam to begin their search for jobs with the FAA. Those entering the military do not need experience; they receive training from the DoD.

Q. Is air traffic control worth it?

Air traffic control remains a lucrative career, but students must be aware of what the position entails. Some drawbacks include high levels of stress and sedentary lifestyles while on the job. Some positions may decline as more towers make use of technology to aid human actions. However, air traffic controllers for the FAA must retire in their 50s, so positions continually open up.

Q. Do air traffic controllers work nights, weekends, and holidays?

In all but the smallest airports, air traffic control remains a 24/7 position. Employees take turns working days, nights, weekends, and holidays. While many schedules revolve around reducing stress, students should expect to work less than ideal hours for a good part of their career.

Q. What is the retirement age for air traffic controllers?

The FAA requires its air traffic controllers to retire by the age of 56 — six years before most people qualify for Social Security benefits. However, the FAA does offer a modified pension plan.

Q. Can you become an air traffic controller after the age of 31?

The FAA requires applicants to begin their training before their 31st birthday, meaning potential job seekers must apply before their 30th birthday based on application period closing dates.

Q. Is the air traffic controller position hard?

The position requires an incredible amount of focus and, in some cases, life or death decisions that happen on the fly. The position requires early retirement and no more than two hours of work at a time before a break. It also includes a long list of disqualifies, including medical conditions like heart disease or ADHD.


[1] Payscale (2021). Air Traffic Controller Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Air_Traffic_Controller/Salary

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Air Traffic Controllers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/air-traffic-controllers.htm

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages Air Traffic Controllers. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes532021.htm

[4] Payscale (2021) Average Air Traffic Controller (Tower Option) Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Air_Traffic_Controller_(Tower_Option)/Salary

[5] Payscale (2021) Average Air Traffic Controller (En Route Option) Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Air_Traffic_Controller_(Enroute_Option)/Salary

[6] Payscale (2021) Average Flight Dispatcher Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Flight_Dispatcher/Salary

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Architecture Degree Program Overview https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/degrees/architecture-degree/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 18:47:29 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=43992 Entering an architecture program can be a great way to learn design and engineering skills. Here, we outline what to expect in an architecture degree. [...]

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Architects bring buildings to life through design and engineering principles, making around $79,000 per year1. The field blends the arts and sciences, and students can move into a variety of industries responsible for building and maintaining the buildings and infrastructure all around us.

This guide explores various architecture degree programs, as well as the career options available for graduates.

What Is an Architecture Degree?

Qualifying for state licensing requires one of two types of architecture degrees: a five-year bachelor of architecture degree or an undergraduate degree plus a 2-3-year master of architecture program. Students can check the National Architectural Accrediting board for a current list of nationally accredited architecture programs2 that prepare students for licensure.

Students attend courses on the theory and history of architecture, but much of the degree work lies in studio sessions. Students learn to draft by hand and train in computer-aided design (CAD) to master the visualization tools available in these computer programs.

Participants should also expect to collaborate and critique each other’s work. Architecture students regularly submit assignments to peers and teachers to receive feedback and suggestions. This process helps hopeful architects hone their design skills and develop critical thinking.

How Can I Use an Architecture Degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the annual salary for architects to be around $82,320 per year3, but predicts the field to grow at a slower rate than average3 — at 3% per year. However, about 9,400 jobs should open up each year3 due to others leaving the field or retiring.

According to the BLS, these sectors offer the highest paying positions for architects4:

  • Other professional, scientific, and technical services: Average annual salary of $121,520 per year
  • Land subdivision: Average annual salary of $109,990 per year
  • Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors: Average annual salary of $109,580 per year
  • General medical and surgical hospitals: Average annual salary of $105,710 per year
  • Management of companies and enterprises: Average annual salary of $102,300 per year

Certain states offer better-paying positions than others, allowing architecture hopefuls to move in order to find higher salaries. According to the BLS, these states offer the highest salaries for architects4:

  • District of Columbia: Average annual salary of $109,540 per year
  • New York: Average annual salary of $101,650 per year
  • Minnesota: Average annual salary of $100,650 per year
  • New Hampshire: Average annual salary of $98,920 per year
  • Alaska: Average annual salary of $98,240 per year

Students looking for greater numbers of opportunities based on employment numbers alone can check out the states that the BLS concluded possessed the highest employment levels in architecture4:

  • California: Around 15,130 architects employed
  • New York: Around 11,640 architects employed
  • Texas: Around 8,880 architects employed
  • Illinois: Around 5,950 architects employed
  • Florida: Around 4,610 architects employed

Students studying architecture help maintain and support infrastructure, reimagine buildings to ease the environmental impact, and preserve existing heritage. Opportunities will continue to exist even as the field slows down a bit over the next decade or so.

Architecture Degree Courses

Students take advanced math courses as part of their architecture degree, including calculus and analytic geometry. These math courses make it possible for architects to design buildings that remain safe while pushing the limits of design. Math courses also allow architects to restore older buildings with safer limits.

Other common courses for architecture students include the following:

  • Architectural drafting: Manual drafting skills provide architecture students with the basics of building creation. Students learn hand methods of design, including building plan components, section drawing, and common drawing tools and instruments.
  • Architecture studio: These courses introduce design elements and relationships. Students learn design strategies that draw on these design elements and mathematical concepts to fulfill their design purpose.
  • History of architecture: Design students must study the elements of architecture through a historical lens. Students receive inspiration for their own designs and learn the influences on design throughout the ages. Students also learn about the cultural significance of design elements in history.
  • Computer-aided drafting: Digital representations in architecture require training in the technology and tools. CAD courses teach students the fundamentals of CAD tools, mock-ups, presentation tools, and computer rendering principles.
  • Architecture theory: Theories behind architecture prepare students to problem solve and approach design from different perspectives. Theories include historical architecture principles, environmental principles, and design principles, among others.
  • Environmental systems: Buildings do not stand alone. In environmental systems courses, students build awareness of the environmental factors and influences that go into great design. These courses might include passive systems for energy, sustainability, and lifecycle analysis.

Architecture Degree Concentrations

Students can choose a general architecture major, but students also have opportunities for concentrations in architecture niches, including:

  • Environmental design: Students can focus on design that reduces environmental impact without abandoning safe, effective design principles.
  • Architectural history and criticism: Some students may not seek licensure but still want to work in the architectural field. They can instead engage in historical analysis and theory.
  • Urban architecture: Planning and design take on a new level in urban areas. Architects can specialize in this type of design, helping revitalize and restore city landscapes with minimal negative impact.
  • Architectural technology: The architectural field uses many new technologies to help with design, inspection, compliance, and visualizations. This concentration allows students to explore their components and build new tools.
  • Preservation and restoration: Heritage building requires specialized architectural knowledge. Preservation and restoration students work with historical buildings and landmarks to ensure that restorations are done safely and with respect to the building’s heritage.
  • Architectural business or enterprise: Students may also choose to specialize in the business side of architecture, especially if they plan to open their own design firm.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Architecture Degree?

Accredited bachelor of architecture degrees take five years of full-time study to complete and offer students eligibility to sit for the architecture licensing exam. Four-year degrees exist, but students will need to supplement them with a master’s in architecture to apply for licensure.

Master’s degrees take 2-3 years of full-time study on top of a four-year undergraduate degree. The fastest route to licensure remains the bachelor’s degree path, but some students may not know yet if they want to practice architecture.

In some cases, students without architecture degrees can work with a licensed architect long enough to satisfy requirements to eventually sit for the exam as well. However, this path doesn’t provide the most efficient way to become a licensed architect3.

Discover More About Architecture Degree Programs

What is the architecture degree application process?

Students need to follow the application process for their chosen program. Applicants should ensure their architecture program remains accredited, which will allow them to sit for the licensure exam if necessary.

Are there architecture degree scholarships available?

Applicants can check with their program for scholarship opportunities to make programs more affordable. Students traditionally underrepresented in the field of architecture might also explore scholarships available only to them.

Is an architecture degree worth it?

The BLS predicts3 the field will grow more slowly than the average industry, but students can still replace those retiring or leaving the field. There should be around 9,400 new positions available each year.

Does location matter for architecture degrees?

As far as school goes, students will not find many online degree programs. However, hybrid programs exist for some flexibility — a combination of online and in-person instruction. For job-seeking, the BLS does note that certain states will pay more than others, and some states will possess more job openings than others.

Is an online architecture degree an option?

Architecture requires a great deal of hands-on work and collaboration with mentors and peers. Although students might find a handful of online degrees, most programs are in-person or hybrid. Design labs and critiques, for example, most often happen in person.

Can I become an architect without a degree?

Students who gain an associate degree can find drafting jobs in architecture firms or entry-level positions with independent architects. Students can work through several years at these entry-level positions before taking the licensing exam. However, the most straightforward way to gain licensure is to possess a five-year accredited degree or obtain a master’s degree5.

How do I break into architecture?

Once students complete their degree and receive licensure, they can begin with internships or entry-level jobs to gain valuable hands-on, real-world experience. Students can also begin their own architecture business, seeking out small clients and building a portfolio. Architects with strong portfolio work will stand out ahead of those who don’t have the same portfolio.

Are architects needed in the future?

The profession will experience much slower growth than the average industry3, but the world still needs the profession for building maintenance, infrastructure redesign, and examining environmental impact.


[1] PayScale. (2021). Salary for Certification: Licensed Architect. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Licensed_Architect/Salary

[2] National Architectural Accrediting Board. (n.d.) Accredited Programs List. https://www.naab.org/accredited-programs/accredited-programs/

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Architects. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm

[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020) Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: Architects, Except Landscape and Naval. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes171011.htm

[5] NCARB. (2020). Licensing Requirements Tool. https://www.ncarb.org/get-licensed/licensing-requirements-tool

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Graphic Design Courses & Certificates Overview https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/courses/graphic-design/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 18:12:19 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=43990 A graphic design course can help students expand on their current skills or learn new ones. Learn more about graphic design courses and certificates here. [...]

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Graphic design certificates help budding graphic designers learn how to do basic photo edits, capture audience interests online, and build branding and marketing campaigns. Many graphic designers pursue careers as artists, illustrators, photographers, and more.

Many graphic design courses and certificates are offered online through synchronous and asynchronous options or in-person. Many classes cover topics to help new designers with typography, color, and new graphic design software and programs.

This article reviews what a graphic design certificate is, the types available, and how to obtain one.

What Is a Graphic Design Certificate?

A graphic design certificate allows students to learn core graphic design skills more quickly than pursuing a full bachelor’s degree — usually in one year or less. Students who opt into a graphic design career certificate program receive training in typography, design conceptualization, and more. Students taking courses in graphic design may explore certificates focusing more on the business end, illustration, or the fine arts components of the graphic design field. Graphic design programs usually require a high school diploma for acceptance into a program as well as a portfolio or statement of interest or intention.

How Can I Use a Graphic Design Certificate?

Graphic designers usually build upon their portfolios throughout the course of their careers, and having a certificate shows initiative, knowledge of best practices, and a certain expectation of talent and completion within the work. Graphic designers use visual art and concepts such as infographics, photos, and typography to convey visual ideas to audiences and consumers, all of which can be learned when taking certificate courses.

Graphic designers just starting out may rely on their portfolios as well as credentials such as certificates to find career opportunities. Having a graphic design certificate leads to numerous career opportunities and pathways in many industries. Graphic design is utilized in private, nonprofit, and schools in departments such as marketing or instructional design. Different certificate programs prepare students for different types of opportunities, including positions in:

  • Marketing (marketing specialist, marketing coordinator)
  • Social Media (management, oversight, branding)
  • Photography (studio, personal photographers, freelancers)
  • Creative Management
  • User Experience (UX) Design

Graphic Design Certificate Program Courses

Each certificate program for graphic design majors is unique. Some programs feature concentrations in a specific subset of graphic design, but all require courses in topics such as digital arts, illustration, advertising principles, and graphic design software programs. Many of the classes include digital applications to help make ad campaigns and designs. Some types of applications and programs include digital publishing, graphic web design, page layout, typography, and design strategies.

Some require prerequisites or knowledge of basic design, such as basic studio drawing or 2D and 3D drawing courses. Students generally complete their programs with a culminating experience in a capstone, doing research, or with a final portfolio or gallery showing off their work. Many students also participate in hands-on learning opportunities with internships or other work-study programs, some of which provide financial assistance or alleviate some of the costs of pursuing the certificate.

Some of the most popular graphic design certificate courses include:

  • Graphic Design Specialization
  • Graphic Design Masterclass
  • Google UX Design Professional Certificate
  • UI/UX Design Certificate
  • Adobe Creative Suite MasterClass
  • Typography
  • Branding
  • Design theory
  • Color
  • Layout
  • Essential design techniques

Additionally, there are different levels of certificates, and one can choose from a post-undergraduate degree certificate, post-graduate certificate, or a stand-alone certificate before beginning any further studies or obtaining a degree. The benefits of certificate programs are the flexibility, short- and long-term options for courses, and overall affordability.

Graphic Design Course Concentrations

Graphic design certificate program participants can choose their area of expertise or concentration within the field. Concentration options may include options such as business statistics, economics, marketing, mass communications, motion graphics, interactive design, and user experience design. Some students can pursue graphic design specialized for certain industries, such as sustainable graphic design, fashion graphic design, or nonprofit graphic design.

When looking into graphic design certificate programs, students can check out what the faculty research areas are, review the course descriptions and curriculum, and consider the initiatives of the art program or design program at that school to help them match the program to their interests.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Graphic Design Certificate?

Most certificate programs require a minimum of one class or course to complete, but many require four or five courses. Many graphic design programs build upon previous coursework, meaning students start with basic courses like basic drawing and computer programs and then move into more advanced coursework that is program or software-specific and work up to higher-level classes with more comprehensive programs and education. Many certificates provide a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level offering for each specific area of study or program. Upon completion of any level, there is usually an opportunity to do a final portfolio or overall capstone and assessment showing the work completed and ability to convey knowledge about the graphic design techniques and concepts mastered throughout the duration of the course.

Discover More About Graphic Design Programs

How much can graphic designers earn?

The median salary for graphic designers is around $53,000 per year1. Graphic designers are often a part of branding, marketing, sales, education, and computer software teams working in creative programs alongside sales teams to influence overall sales of products. The career outlook for graphic designers looks to be growing slowly at a rate of 3%, with an estimated 7,300 jobs from 2020 to 20301.

What is the application process like for graphic design certificate programs?

To apply for a graphic design program, you usually need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Then there is the application fee or design portfolio. As you explore your online graphic design classes, reach out to admissions advisors for the programs or counselors who can answer many questions about the application process. Some certificates are only offered at certain times of the year, while others might be available monthly or on an ongoing basis.

What types of financial aid or scholarships are available for graphic design certificate programs?

Financial aid may be an option for graphic design certificate programs, although students may not be eligible for federal financial aid since the programs don’t result in a degree. Look at the financial aid office of the online graphic design school you’re interested in attending, and make an appointment with the financial aid office if needed.

Is it worth going to school for a graphic design certificate program?

Attending classes allows you to meet with other like-minded students, meet experts in the field, and learn best practices for success and long-term plans.

What software programs do graphic designers need?

Often, certificate programs offer students access to graphic design programs such as Photoshop, Canva, Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more.

Do I need a graphic design certificate to get a job as a graphic designer?

Many graphic design jobs and positions require applicants to possess at least a certificate in graphic design for eligibility, as well as a portfolio and certain classes.

Does location matter for a graphic design certificate program?

Plenty of graphic design certificate programs are offered online, which means location may not matter while completing coursework. However, students may want to consider location if they want to also network in an area where a lot of graphic design firms are located, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Atlanta. The location might also be a factor if a program offers hands-on experience working with local marketing, design, and advertising firms.

What does an online certificate program in graphic design cost?

Cost can depend on the program, length or duration of study, and program location. Graphic design certificate programs can cost less than $300 to more than $5,0002.

Are scholarships available for graphic design certificates courses?

Look into the admissions and financial aid offices at the school you’re trying to pursue to find out more about costs, financial aid, and other benefits to make college accessible and affordable to you.

What kind of classes should be taken during a graphic design certificate online course?

Many graphic design careers require knowledge of typography, branding, photo editing, color theory, package design, web design, UX design, and e-marketing.

What’s the difference between getting a graphic design certificate versus a graphic design degree?

Certificates are best for students interested in learning vocational and skills-based topics. For example, a student wanting to quickly learn Adobe Photoshop or web design for a particular job role. A degree in graphic design covers a wider array of skills, in addition to fulfilling general education requirements. A degree program also takes a lot longer to complete, with most bachelor’s degree programs requiring four years of study and associate degree programs requiring two years of study. Certificate programs, on the other hand, can typically be completed in one year or less.


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Graphic Designers. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm

[2] Dennon, A. (2021). What is a Certificate Program? Best Colleges. https://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/what-is-a-certificate-program/

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Data Analytics Certifications Overview https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/courses/big-data-certification/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 17:57:40 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=43985 Earning a certification in data analytics can be a great way to be competitive when applying for careers. We provide an overview of what to expect. [...]

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The world now runs on data, and data scientists make nearly six figures on average1. Gaining a data analytics certification helps students and job seekers gain a competitive edge in their employment search. While there’s no single official data analytics certification, students can take advantage of several well-known and well-respected options.

What Is a Data Analytics Certification?

A data analytics certification showcases student mastery of critical skills in the field of analytics. Certification remains necessary because data science has changed traditional education and job-seeking. Students often enter the field with a combination of self-taught skills and formal education. Certifications help employers understand what skills potential candidates possess.

Students can teach themselves the skills for data analytics and take the exam they want, or take a course-exam combination. Data analytics does not have one single path to certification, leaving the field open for a variety of students and even mid-career job changers.

Data analytics certifications measure a variety of skills, including:

  • Data ingestion
  • Data analytics
  • Data visualization
  • Applying data analytics to business needs
  • Selecting appropriate analysis and visualization
  • Statistical models

Depending on the mastery level of the certificate, students may also test for artificial intelligence (AI) training in machine or deep learning. These certifications include practical activities based on problem-solving skills. It’s less like the SAT and more like an audition in developing a program or tool for a business or research organization.

To prepare, test takers need experience developing solutions. Students receive this training through coursework, internships, entering hackathons, or through personal project development in an online portfolio like GitHub.

How Can I Use a Data Analytics Certification?

People can use a data analytics certification to break into the field of data science with a thriving career. Data analytics is a hot career field1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts faster than average career growth for data analytics at 22% from 2020 to 20302.

Data analytics fits into a variety of roles in IT departments, companies, and research organizations, including:

Data Analyst Average Annual Salary: $61,841

Data analysts make over $60,000 per year3 on average with added incentives, such as complementary certifications like Python or R certifications, bringing the salary closer to $90,000 per year for the highest-paid analysts3.

Analysts clean and organize data and work with storage solutions to make data retrieval easier. Analysts also frequently work with other positions such as data scientists, data engineers, or AI engineers to provide the data stream necessary to power these data-driven initiatives.

Database Administrator Average Annual Salary: $73,163

Database administrators make over $70,000 per year or more4 with other certifications and go one step further to create, troubleshoot, and monitor complex data storage. As data becomes more complex, organizations need knowledgeable database administrators that understand structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data storage methods.

Database administrators also handle data acquisition and transition when a company acquires another one. They can smooth the change from a legacy system to a new system. In some cases, they also build new solutions to handle unique data storage challenges.

Data Scientist Average Annual Salary: $96,551

Data scientists make close to six figures a year on average, depending on their location and skills5. A data analytics certificate provides a strong foundation for tackling more complex data questions and building the data pipelines organizations need for insight.

Data scientists sometimes continue on to graduate studies in the field but can also remain self-taught. They need knowledge of the complex math involved in computer algorithms and programming knowledge to round out their skillset.

Business Intelligence Analyst Average Annual Salary: $69,781

Business analysts command a salary of just under $70,000 per year6 but may earn more with other skills and certifications. They focus on analytics from a business value perspective and offer insight to decision-makers within the company.

Where business analysts of the past used forecasting based on older, historical data, analysts now read data in real-time. They remain vital to the growth and development of a company and can help future-proof operations in the event of a disruption.

Data Analytics Certifications

Job seekers do not need to have certification to gain employment, but it helps. Some well-respected choices include the following entry-level, intermediate, and advanced choices.

Associate Certified Analytics Professional: Entry-level

An aCPA credential7 focuses on seven domains of the analytics process: data, methodology selection, business problem framing, analytics problem framing, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management.

Students do not need practical experience or work experience to sit for the exam. Potential test takers can study using resources from the test site or pursue data analytics courses beforehand.

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences: Entry-level

A non-degree program developed by Columbia University8, this certification option requires 12 credits minimum. Students take four required modules: Algorithms for Data Science, Probability and Statistics for Data Science, Machine Learning for Data Science, and Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization.

The certification requires an existing undergraduate degree in any field. Potential students must also demonstrate prior introductory coursework in quantitative methods and computer programming.

Certified Analytics Professional: Technology neutral

The CAP exam showcases mastery of the end-to-end analytics process9. It does not skew towards a particular vendor or technology. Students test common analytics skills such as model building, model lifecycle management, and framing business and analytics problems.

Students can prepare from the list of resources available at registration. Once completed, the certification requires adherence to the CAP code of ethics.

Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification: Platform-specific

Cloudera offers enterprise data cloud solutions. Because their product remains so common in company data use, the organization provides its own certification exam10. The test verifies proficiency in data analytics through the Cloudera platform.

The exam covers a test taker’s knowledge of Cloudera in a variety of roles, including system architect, data scientist, and data analyst. Cloudera also offers a training course in the platform for review before the exam.

EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist Associate: Real-world Data Science

The EMCDSA exam11 tests the user’s ability to participate in a data science project using big data. The exam covers a variety of roles and tasks, including deploying the data analytics life cycle, reframing a business challenge as an analytics challenge, and selecting visualizations.

A significant portion of the test requires choosing the right tools for analytics pipelines, visualizations, and models. The other part tests the application of those decisions. Together, it measures how well a candidate can handle real-world business challenges on a data science team.

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate: Comprehensive, Entry-level Exam

A big name in technology, IBM offers this beginner-friendly analytics certificate12. Topics include Python databases, methodologies, data visualization, SQL, data analytics, and machine learning. Students complete nine courses over the course of three months with an average of 12 hours of work per week.

Students complete coursework and quizzes to receive a certificate when they meet all the requirements. The certification requires only the subscription fee for the student’s chosen platform to access and happens remotely.

Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate: Microsoft-focused exam

Another technology-specific exam from a tech giant, Microsoft’s certification test13 subject matter expertise in its suite of tools. The test includes Power BI sections, building scalable models, and data cleaning.

Microsoft offers free training online for the exam, but students may also choose a paid instructor-led course. Users will understand advanced analytic capabilities, but the exam is entry-level-friendly.

Data Analytics Concentrations

Data analytics does not possess many areas of concentration, but students can choose to specialize in a certain type of database, programming language, or data tool. Examples include:

  • Python programming language
  • R programming language
  • Relational databases
  • NoSQL
  • Data warehouses/Data lakes
  • Cloudera
  • Databricks
  • AWS
  • Microsoft Azure

Specializing in specific tools or languages could help students gain employment with companies that use those tools.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Data Analytics Certification

Data analytics certifications stemming from coursework typically take one semester of work or about three months. Cloudera, Columbia, and Intel all offer coursework that students can complete in this short time.

Other exams such as CAP or the EMCDSA require only the exam. The exam takes just a few hours, and successful completion depends on a student’s mastery of skills. Different skills could take different amounts of time to master.

Discover More About Data Certifications

What is data analytics?

Data analytics looks at captured data to find patterns and insights. It drives business and research decisions for companies and organizations and supports data science and AI work.

What is the data analytics certification application process?

Most certifications require only that the student register and pay for access, whether that access includes a course or just the exam.

Are data analytics certification scholarships available?

Scholarships remain uncommon for non-degree certifications, but students can look for employer sponsorship or payment plans to offset costs.

Is a data analytics certification worth it?

The BLS predicts exponential growth faster than other industries1. A certification can help students gain employment in this field.

Does location matter? Is online an option for data analytics certifications?

Many exams and courses happen online. Students should not need to uproot or relocate just for certification.

Are big data online courses or big data certifications available?

Current best practices in data analytics include big data concepts. Students can find multiple online choices.


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Occupational Employment and Wages: Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152098.htm

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Research Scientists. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm#tab-1

[3] PayScale (2021). Average Data Analyst Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Data_Analyst/Salary

[4] PayScale (2021) Average Database Administrator (DBA) Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Database_Administrator_(DBA)/Salary

[5] PayScale (2021) Average Data Scientist Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Data_Scientist/Salary

[6] PayScale (2021) Average Business Intelligence Analyst Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Business_Intelligence_(BI)_Analyst/Salary

[7] Certified Analytics Professional (n.d.). Associate Certified Analytics Professional. https://www.certifiedanalytics.org/acap

[8] Columbia University Data Science Institute (n.d.). Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences. https://datascience.columbia.edu/education/programs/certification-of-professional-achievement-in-data-sciences/

[9] Certified Analytics Professional (n.d.) Certified Analytics Professional. https://www.certifiedanalytics.org/cap

[10] Cloudera (n.d.). CDP Generalist Exam (CDP-0011) Guide. https://www.cloudera.com/about/training/cdp-certification/cdp-generalist-exam-cdp-0011.html

[11] Dell Technologies (n.d). Data Science Associate: Data Science V2. https://education.dellemc.com/content/emc/en-us/home/certification-overview/find-exam/Data-Science-Associate.html

[12] IBM (n.d.) Badge Description: Data Science Professional Certificate. https://www.ibm.com/training/badge/fb3af6d8-2402-4acb-b852-7a0c5034c976

[13] Microsoft (n.d.). Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/data-analyst-associate/

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Digital Marketing Course Overview https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/courses/digital-marketing/ Wed, 24 Nov 2021 17:31:08 +0000 https://www.greatvaluecolleges.net/?p=43979 Courses in digital marketing could be a great way to expand on current skills or learn new ones. Here, we outline what to expect in a digital marketing course. [...]

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Digital marketers can make around $71,000 per year1 and can find employment in just about any industry needing marketing. The digital world gets bigger every year, and companies need help to get their messages out over the noise.

This guide explores what digital marketing courses can offer students, how they can use the skills learned in the job market, and where students may consider specializing their skills.

What Is a Digital Marketing Course?

Digital marketing leverages the online space and new technologies to reach online customers and audiences. Companies must possess an online presence to exist in the world today, and digital marketing ensures that they can reach their target audience no matter where they are. Digital marketing offers a career in business with a modern twist.

Digital marketing courses help anyone with an online presence make themselves heard. The internet grows more every day with more sites and more voices on social media. Digital marketing requires new disciplines and skills to break through that noise and help engage a target audience to convince them to join, purchase, or participate in something.

Digital marketing courses train students for an array of marketing positions. Marketers should possess knowledge of the digital technologies that drive an online presence and must possess the people skills to wrangle marketing teams. Courses also teach marketers vital knowledge of data, a significant skill required to measure marketing initiatives.

Digital marketing courses build those vital skills to help companies survive in the online space. Whether students take single skills courses or complete a full degree, digital marketing offers the opportunity for a thriving career.

How Can I Use a Digital Marketing Degree?

Digital marketers can make an average of over $70,000 per year1. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall marketing managers can make well over six figures2 and employ about 270,000 people per year2. Those with well-rounded skills can find employment in nearly any field. Any company with a product or service to offer can use digital marketers to find new customers and nurture returning ones.

Some of the highest-paying digital marketing fields according to the BLS include2:

  • Cable and subscription planning: Marketing managers here can make an average salary of over $200,000 per year.
  • Other information services: Information systems offers marketing managers over $185,000 per year on average.
  • Aerospace products and parts: The aerospace industry makes big sales and needs marketing managers to help. It offers an annual salary of over $185,000 per year.
  • Scientific research and development: Marketing managers make just over $184,000 per year, helping to get products and services to market.
  • Oil and gas extraction: Marketing managers in this field make just over $183,000 per year.

Students can niche further from digital marketing into positions like social media managers, content strategists, or email marketers. Alternately, students can gain management skills and work with marketing teams to plan entire marketing efforts.

Digital Marketing Courses

Digital marketing courses include more than just marketing principles. They examine each section of the online space and ensure that customers can connect with a company in a variety of ways, including:

  • Website planning: Ground zero for an online presence.
  • Search engine optimization: The methods for helping search engines recommend something to users.
  • Social media marketing: How to move the needle for audience engagement and what platform performs best for a particular organization.
  • Web analytics: How to measure performance, track activity, and plan next steps using data.
  • Digital media and planning: Taking charge of a digital media plan.
  • Content marketing and strategy: Writing valuable content for an engaged audience on a blog or guest post
  • Email marketing: Reaching an audience right in their inboxes.

While not an exhaustive list, it does outline the complexity of marketing in the digital age. Students need a well-rounded set of skills to navigate this new world.

Digital marketing managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in marketing to achieve manager positions, but some digital marketing niches don’t require a degree. Students can take single courses for email marketing or content writing or just show a portfolio of skills through social media accounts they manage.

Digital Marketing Course Concentrations

Digital marketing offers niche concentrations for students that want to work in specific areas. Students can choose to work explicitly in one of the following niches:

Content Marketing

Content marketers can make an average of $68,996 per year3. Content marketing focuses on creating written content such as blog content, articles, and guests posts. They create a strategy and editorial calendars to ensure a cohesive message from the company to its target audience.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) managers leverage search engine principles to help companies get their message out there and make $72,062 per year4. SEM includes both search engine optimization (SEO), an organic marketing tool, and pay per click (PPC) or paid search. SEM managers leverage both these marketing tools to increase traffic and visibility for online content.

Mobile Marketing

Marketing managers that focus on mobile marketing can make $74,874 per year5 helping companies build marketing experiences optimized for mobile. Considering that over half of web traffic comes from mobile devices6, this position remains vital for companies.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketers make an average of $55,314 per year7 and help companies manage their social media presence. It’s more than posting pretty pictures. It includes a deep understanding of a company’s brand and audience and deciding where that target audience spends time.

Email Marketing

Email marketers make $74,137 per year8 on average because email remains one of the closest links to a target audience. Email marketers pay attention to analytics and strategy to help get messages through spam filters and opened by the right people.

Influencer Marketing

A relatively new niche, influencer marketers make an average of $57,964 per year9. Influencer marketing works by finding people who already have a social media following and partnering with them to offer product and service advertising. They create posts on their social feeds in agreement with the company, bringing in potential new followers.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Digital Marketing Degree?

Data marketers often finish bachelor’s degrees, either specifically in digital marketing or in general marketing with a digital marketing concentration. Bachelor’s degrees typically take four years of full-time study to complete, including state-required core requirements.

Digital marketing certificates can take three to six months, typically the equivalent of a single quarter or semester. These choices work for those already in marketing or with a general marketing degree and need to upskill to pursue new employment.

Digital marketing online options do exist and can provide convenient options for participants who need flexibility with their studies. Online degrees take the same amount of time as an in-person course on average.

Discover More About Digital Marketing Programs

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing helps businesses leverage the online and digital space to nurture returning customers, find new ones, and advance business goals.

What is the application process for digital marketing?

Potential students should apply to their school and declare their major. Certificate programs possess different requirements depending on the certificate, so students should check with the program.

Are digital marketing scholarships available?

Scholarships may be available from the school of choice. Participants may also find scholarships at their current place of employment for professional growth and development education.

Is digital marketing worth it?

Marketing, in general, should grow at the same rate as the industry average9. The industry is expected to employ around 31,000 people per year between 2020 to 2030, so potential digital marketers should find plenty of chances to work in the field in a variety of industries.

Does location matter for digital marketing degrees?

Digital marketing degrees can happen solely online, so location remains less of a concern. However, the top five paying states according to the BLS2 are:

  • New York: $194,940 annual salary
  • New Jersey: $180,250 annual salary
  • California: $176,940 annual salary
  • Virginia: $176,640 annual salary
  • Colorado: $172,140 annual salary

Students can also find positions in the top hiring states, including California, New York, and Illinois2.

Is online an option for digital marketing?

Digital courses happen online all the time. Digital marketing also turned remote during the pandemic and still remains easily completed through remote work. Students looking for flexible positions might find them in this industry.

What are the advantages of digital marketing?

Digital marketing offers a lower-cost alternative to traditional marketing initiatives and more analytics to drive decision-making. It helps bring a larger audience to the brand and can provide a significant return on investment.

How can I get a job in digital marketing?

After graduation, students can take on internships to gain valuable experience. Digital marketers can work as freelancers or join an agency to work for third-party clients. Other options to help find employment include making a portfolio, taking on small local projects for experience, and working with companies on limited projects to gain essential skills.


[1] PayScale. (2021). Salary for Skill: Digital Marketing. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Skill=Digital_Marketing/Salary

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Occupational Employment and Wages, Marketing Managers. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes112021.htm

[3] PayScale. (2021). Average Content Marketing Manager Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Content_Marketing_Manager/Salary

[4] PayScale. (2021). Average Search Engine Optimization Manager Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Search_Engine_Optimization_(SEO)_Manager/Salary

[5] PayScale. (2021). Average Mobile Marketing Manager Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Mobile_Marketing_Manager/Salary

[6] Statistica. (2021). Percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide from 1st quarter 2015 to 1st quarter 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/

[7] PayScale. (2021). Average Social Media Marketing Manager Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Social_Media_Marketing_Manager/Salary

[8] PayScale. (2021). Average Email Marketing Manager Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=E-Mail_Marketing_Manager/Salary

[9] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021) Occupational Outlook Handbook: Advertising, Promotions and Marketing. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm

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