The skyrocketing cost of tuition puts a long college degree out of reach for many, while the return on investment may not be the best for everyone. People who want to start or grow their small businesses are pressed for both time and money; however, they need to upgrade their skill set to improve their odds of success. Fortunately, there are alternative certifications available, but are college certificates a good option for startup owners?
It Teaches You What You Need to Know
We go to college to get an education. However, you may not benefit from mandatory core liberal arts classes. Earning several college certificates related to your profession instead allows you to immediately gain the knowledge that you need.
For example, you could get an online business essentials certificate at the Kelley School of Business. It teaches you business fundamentals like accounting, marketing, and human resources. You’ll learn how to apply this knowledge in a business context. You’ll gain practical experience working with teams, giving presentations, and using business software. Then you’ll have improved your soft skills just in time to hire your first employees.
It Gives You Flexibility
College certificate programs are far more flexible than a 4-year degree or MBA; you can often take the classes online, and you may even complete the class in a few weeks or months, whereas a formal degree can take years. College certificate programs are often taught at night or on the weekend because schools know that they are popular with working professionals.
These programs are more likely to be flexible in payment terms, too. You can also manage the cost by only taking the courses you need. You could stay out of college debt while learning what they teach that’s relevant to entrepreneurs like you.
It Is Still a Networking Opportunity
Many colleges tell people to go to school for 2 to 4 years because they’ll benefit from the networking opportunities. Yet you get the same opportunity to forge professional connections when you attend a certification program. You’ll get to work with them on teams and spend time with them studying for class. You could connect with future employers, business partners, or employees.
It Makes You a Better Candidate
Professional certifications allow you to prove to clients and potential employers that you’ve been investing in continuing education. If you can show that you’ve completed a college certification in marketing, accounting, or international business, you may be considered qualified for a job or consulting project in that area.
While the knowledge may be what you need to start your own business, it may also allow you to move into a better paying job. Whether you use that new role to self-fund your startup or prove that you’re qualified to head the new business venture is up to you. Having the credentials necessary to move into a better paying job can serve as a safety net if you do have to shut down the business.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, know that you don’t have to choose between a full college degree and going it alone. College certifications give you many of the same benefits as a college degree while saving you time and money.