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Identifying Legitimate Online Certifications

Posted on 09/24/20 By Lorman Team


In today's world, you need to stand out from the crowd if you want to advance your career. Online training is one way to do so: eLearning can provide you with certifications to prove you can handle specific programs but can also help strengthen the soft, transferable skills employers care about the most.

However, there is a veritable plethora of online courses, certifications, and badges, and it can be challenging to work out which ones are actually worth the time and investment.

Not only is a bad certification a wasted effort, it might not actually help you learn or enhance a specific skill.

Hand holding a rolled up paper certificate

But how can you tell which badges are worth it? Here are 5 questions to ask to identify legitimate online certifications

Are they from the vendor?

Major software vendors such as Google and Microsoft often provide their own certifications or courses. These courses can usually be trusted, although they may provide information the vendor thinks users need rather than specific tricks or knowledge that are actually useful. 

Vendor certifications may not always offer formal CE credits, but they may introduce you to parts of the software you had missed or failed to discover. They can also be a good way to get knowledge you already have on your resume in a form employers will understand and accept.

How does the provider vet their courses?

If you are studying through an online training provider, find out how they vet, source, and curate their courses. Some providers will essentially let any so-called "expert" post a course to their site.

Other providers, such as Lorman, vet every topic and presenter to ensure that all courses come from subject matter experts with valuable information. 

Does the course count as CE for a major certification?

For some professions it is legally required to fulfill continuing education credits, so it is beneficial to look for courses that count. Consequences of not keeping up requirements can range from loss of your professional license to loss of confidence in your work.

Even if your industry does not require CE courses, it may be beneficial to work towards a full certification. For instance, it may be worth your while to speak with your boss about what opportunities might be open to you if you do have, for example, a project manager certification.

What else do they offer?

A good training site is flexible and accessible. Make sure that the online training provider you choose also supplies on-demand videos, slide decks, audio recordings, and reading materials.

Not everyone learns in the same way, and some sites do not cater to individual learners' needs. Furthermore, when you invest in a course, you should be able to access it again, go back and refer to it, and have training materials you can keep handy for future use.

How are the badges stored?

Some credentialing systems leave you to self report your skills. This is not of much value, as there is no way for an employer to verify that you have taken the course.

Look for courses that have some centralized system where the courses you have taken and passed are stored and can be checked. Lorman's account dashboard lets members track their courses, see what they have completed, and print certificates.

The best way to make sure that your online certifications are valid and will catch the eye of an employer is to get your training through a reputable provider that offers curated, vetted courses and validates your credentials. 

 

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