2022 Guide: Online and In-Person Nanodegrees

Explore the skill- and project-based nanodegree programs available online and in-person. Use this Campus Explorer guide to review common fields of study, cost estimates, and other information about these credential programs. See how these programs compare with traditional degree programs and whether one may be the right career move for you.

What Are Nanodegree Programs Online and In-Person?

Many degree programs are offered both online and in-person, but nanodegree programs are exclusively found online. These courses are offered by many online platforms that aren’t accredited educational institutions, but they’re also offered by colleges and universities. Most colleges refer to them as non-degree-seeking courses.

There are a few major differences between nanodegree and traditional degree programs. Here are some key differences to compare as you consider whether this style of program may be right for you:

  • Length of study
  • Teaching methodology
  • Accreditation
  • Fields of study

You can typically complete a nanodegree in 12 months or less. Some come with certification, while others simply focus on skill-building activities. Each course highlights a specific skill or set of skills, that may help you move forward in your career or strengthen your job application.

Nanodegrees aren’t accredited or recognized by universities. Successful completion of one of these programs may help you prepare for a role in your career, but they may not improve your college application or qualify you to enroll in a postgraduate program.

Dive into projects, conduct experiments, and read about case studies as part of your nanodegree program. Most programs avoid the strict, lecture-based approach of a traditional educational institution and seek to create a more hands-on learning environment.

Because nanodegrees are only offered online, there is a smaller range of disciplines available for study compared to a traditional online or in-person degree program. Here are some of the most common disciplines you can learn more about:

  • Digital marketing
  • Data science
  • Machine learning
  • App development
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Business analytics

There are some courses in other disciplines, but the majority focus on technology and computer science and assist you in a related career. Most courses offer flexible schedules to allow you to complete them in six to 12 months.

How Much Do Nanodegree Programs Cost?

One of the most popular nanodegree providers is Udacity. Many of these programs are free, but others cost around $400 per month, or around $1,400 for four months of study, according to U.S. News. Colleges and universities offer single courses for non-degree seeker study. Individual courses typically cost around $300 per credit, according to U.S. News.

Average Salary for a Nanodegree Holder

A nanodegree isn’t a prerequisite for any specific career. Because of the short length, skill-based approach, and lack of accreditation for many nanodegrees, they’re meant to help you on a particular aspect of your chosen career, not necessarily train you for a specific occupation.

The most popular nanodegrees are in the field of computer science. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, found the median pay in 2020 for computer programmers was approximately $89,200.

Database administrators, a growing role in the industry, earned a median annual pay of around $98,900 in 2020. Information security analysts earned approximately $103,600 median pay. Consider a career as a web developer or digital designer for a median pay of $77,200.

Review the entry-level education requirements for these positions. Many require a bachelor’s degree, while web developers typically only require an associate’s degree. Some careers in the computer science industry accept skill-based applications, which don’t require an accredited degree to apply.

What Is the Job Outlook for Nanodegree Holders?

The number of database administrators is expected to grow by 10% between 2019 and 2029, according to BLS. Information security analysts are expected to increase by 31% in the same 10-year period. Both of these are significantly faster than the average national job growth estimate.

Courses in Nanodegree Programs

From learning to code to brushing up on biology, nanodegree programs offer a range of skills and knowledge areas that may help you reach your career goals or become more comfortable in your current position. There aren’t any set courses in these programs, but here are some common courses you can take:

  • Introduction to programming
  • Business analytics
  • App development
  • Data science
  • Digital marketing
  • Introduction to biology

Nanodegree programs are individual courses, but some course providers offer sequential courses to improve your skills and knowledge. Look for beginner, intermediate, and advanced course offerings to meet your needs and grow in your expertise.

FAQs on Nanodegree Programs Online and In-Person

What Jobs Require a Nanodegree?

A nanodegree isn’t specifically required for any career, but the skills you learn may improve your application as a data scientist, programmer, web developer, or information security analyst.

Does a Nanodegree Program Offer Good Job Prospects?

The skills you can learn in a nanodegree program are associated with many high-growth, competitively paid positions, like database administrator and information security analyst.

What Are the Different Fields of Nanodegree Programs?

Brush up on coding or dive into business analytics with your chosen course. Most nanodegree programs focus on computer science, but you can also study a language, science, or another field.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Nanodegree?

A nanodegree course typically takes less than 12 months to complete. Many are self-paced and can be completed in as little as one month.

What Does Nanodegree Program Curriculum Typically Include?

Typical courses focus on skill-based, hands-on learning in a specific aspect of computer science. Expect to watch engaging videos, see real-world examples, and handle practice problems that help you learn a new skill.

Summary Information

  • Standard and self-paced programs available
  • Popular concentrations include programming and business analytics
  • Programs typically take 12 months or less to complete

  • Provides hands-on training for web developers and information security analysts
  • Can be completed in as little as one month
  • Offers skill-based learning in the computer science industry

  • Many programs are free or cost about $400 per month
  • Program costs vary considerably
  • Scholarships and free courses are available for nanodegrees

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