Time.com: “The ‘Cash Cow’ of U.S. Universities: Professional Certificates Instead of Degrees”

In February, Pace’s Lubin School of Business and the Association of International Bank Auditors joined forces to introduce a six-month program leading to a Certified Compliance and Regulatory Professional certificate. Professional certificates are valuable for mid-career professionals who don’t have time to plod through the programs of study required for advanced degrees but who need to update their skills regularly.

An article written by Jon Marcus for The Hechinger Report and appearing on Time magazine’s website today focused on the boom in certificate programs at four-year colleges.
Certificate programs can be added and updated more quickly than conventional academic ones.  And they can help workers keep up with fast-changing fields such as information technology and intelligence, or get raises or promotions.
But a main reason for the explosion in the number of professional certificates at traditional universities, administrators concede, is that they bring in revenue, largely from mid-career students who pay the full cost without needing institutional financial aid, or whose employers reimburse them for tuition.
“A global economy and the rapidity of progress in technology require continuous education,” said Neil Braun, the dean and a former president of the NBC Television Network and CEO of Viacom Entertainment. “Certificate programs are very useful for people who see the world around them changing faster than they can keep pace.”
Students see the benefit of a professional certificate more narrowly: to distinguish them from other candidates for scarce jobs.

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