2022 Guide: Online and In-Person Micro-Credential

Expand your professional knowledge and skills in education with a micro-credential program. Micro-credential programs are online, not in person, and target specific skills within the field of education. Explore common courses, typical costs, and the benefits of a micro-credential with this Campus Explorer guide.

What Are Online Micro-Credential Programs?

A micro-credential program helps you demonstrate mastery of a particular area of knowledge or skill set. They are meant to be competency based and short in nature, offering personalized opportunities. Prepare for your next position in education or continue to build expertise in your chosen profession.

The National Education Association, or NEA, is a major provider of micro-credentials, though there are other providers as well. NEA courses offer an online opportunity to gain personal development support when your schedule or location may limit your possibilities.

Courses are based around a highly specific skill or area of knowledge. Here are some example micro-credentials you may find:

  • Making strategic decisions
  • Learner engagement
  • Evaluation and reporting
  • Teaching creative problem-solving
  • Institutional implementation support
  • Android development

Many micro-credentials are offered free of charge, while some have a small fee. NEA courses are free to members, but cost $75 for non-members. This makes them very affordable for educational professionals or bachelor’s students preparing for a career in education.

Unlike bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs, which are measured in years, micro-credentials are measured in hours. You can complete most in about 10-15 hours, depending on the course. They’re designed to be self-paced, so you don’t have to complete them in a single day, week, or month.

While many courses are offered by the NEA, not all are officially sponsored or accredited. Depending on your state or school district, you may be able to earn professional development units for completing micro-credentials. Some states and school districts don’t offer professional development units for micro-credentials, but these credentials are still useful for reviewing or learning new educational skills.

How Much Do Micro-Credential Programs Cost?

NEA micro-credentials cost $75 for non-members and are free for members. Many other course providers offer free or low-cost courses. The low cost, combined with the short length, allows you to dive into many different micro-credentials without affecting your role as an educator, administrator, or student. These courses aren’t a substitute for a bachelor’s degree in education, but they can help you gain the confidence and skills you need for your career.

Average Salary for a Micro-Credential Holder

Micro-credentials are popular for a number of careers in the education field. While they may not provide you with the entry-level degree or certification requirements to become hired in one of these positions, micro-credentials can help you gain more skills that are highly sought in these educational careers.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers earned a 2020 median pay of about $60,700, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. The BLS also found that high school teachers earned a median pay of approximately $62,900.

Micro-credentials are popular continuing education opportunities for instructional coordinators, who earned a median pay of about $67,000 in 2020. Professors earned a median pay of $80,800, while postsecondary education administrators earned approximately $97,500 median pay in 2020.

Micro-credentials offer a great opportunity to refresh your knowledge base or prepare for a new job application. If you wish to transfer schools or apply to a different position in the education sector, one or more of these courses may improve your application.

What Is the Job Outlook for Micro-Credential Holders?

Many positions in education are expected to grow approximately the same as the national average. Elementary school teachers, for example, are expected to grow in number by about 4% between 2019 and 2029. Instructional coordinators are expected to grow faster than average at 6% in the same 10-year period.

Courses in Micro-Credential Programs

There is no set curriculum for micro-credential students, so you’re free to take the course that matches your interests and career goals. Courses are highly personalized and centered on the education sector. Here are some examples:

  • Evaluation and reporting
  • Learner engagement
  • Making strategic decisions
  • Teaching creative problem-solving

Courses are highly focused, but there is a broad range of topics that can help a teacher, instructional designer, or administrator. Many micro-credential courses draw from pedagogy research, computer science, business administration, finance, child psychology, and other fields to offer strategies and skills relevant to education. Most offer a hands-on approach to learning, so expect to practice the skills you’re learning and show competency to your instructor.

FAQs on Micro-Credential Programs Online and In-Person

What Jobs Require Micro-Credentials?

Teachers, professors, instructional coordinators, and administrators can all use skills and knowledge learned in micro-credentialed courses. These courses don’t offer an accredited degree or certificate to meet the minimum requirements for applying to these jobs.

Does a Micro-Credential Program Offer Good Job Prospects?

Many careers in education are expected to grow as fast or faster than the national average, according to BLS data. A micro-credential may help strengthen your application or offer professional development units.

What Are the Different Fields of Micro-Credential Programs?

All micro-credentials are designed for teachers and professionals in education. The specific fields include instructional design, pedagogy, technology, decision-making, and classroom management.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Micro-Credential?

You can complete most micro-credential courses in 10-15 hours. All micro-credential courses are offered online.

What Does Micro-Credential Program Curriculum Typically Include?

Every course offers a slightly different curriculum and instructional design. Most focus on a particular skill or area of knowledge related to education, like decision-making or app development.

Summary Information

  • Programs are completed fully online.
  • Popular micro-credentials include differentiated instruction and creative problem-solving.
  • Micro-credentials typically take 10-15 hours to complete.

  • Prepares students for mastery of a particular skill in their career in education.
  • May be counted as professional development units.
  • Can improve skills and knowledge of students in a wide variety of educational careers.

  • Many programs cost about $75 or less.
  • Costs are highly variable from provider to provider.
  • NEA members can enroll in NEA micro-credentials for free.

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