Should You Earn a Certification or a College Degree?

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Life after high school for so many women, (especially single moms), will be spent earning a college degree or certification. Building our skills and knowledge will put us on the path to success.

The answer is that it truly depends on the person, how they learn and what their plans are. 

More than anyone,

Women students now represent the majority of the student population at colleges in the United States, according to spring 2021 enrollment estimates from the nonprofit organization, the National Student Clearinghouse.

Is college for you?

If you thrive being enrolled in general education classes such as Composition, Art History, Biology, and other similar classes, then college is for you.

While learning the skills for your major for the last 2 years, earning a college degree is probably for you.

However, if you are more focused on learning the skills that will offer you the capability to become certified and preferably to work for yourself, then a trade school or certification program is for you. 

Even those who choose to complete a certification may not necessarily become an entrepreneur. In a shorter period, be hired to do the job you master the class to do.

There have always been celebratory announcements, social media posts, matching t-shirts with the school name, parties, and pictures showing the graduate’s accomplishments. 

College can be just a generational tradition. 

A generational tradition can be loved by our elders but may not be what we want or what is best for us.

There may even be this “unspoken” word that there is no other way than going to college after high school.

This topic is normally not even on the table for discussion because heading to college is just what is expected. 

Even with the rising costs of college education, many families of college freshmen are ecstatic that their young adult is heading to earn a college degree that should land them a career. 

Let’s Talk Tuition

We understand the tuition rates are expensive depending on what college or university that you attend and which you will be admitted to. 

The 4+ years of a college education includes only the 2 last years of the classes specified to the major chosen.

Some may think that the first 2 years of general education classes were a waste of time and money.

Earning a Certification 

There are so many certifications that someone can choose from.

One of the best reasons to earn a certification instead of earning a degree is that certificate programs are more specific to the skill you want to attain. 

There may be other general classes within the certificate program, however, if so, it’s a few. With this being the case, the program is much shorter. 

The wonderful thing about earning a certificate is that a graduate has the ability to move right into their field without much of the red tape.

I was blessed to be able to go through both systems. 

Now, understand that there is a process in each system that may work better for a specific student. 

As I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degree, it included those basic classes that support our well-roundedness.

Knowledge is required daily.

These basic classes are what we as progressive individuals need daily. Every student should have access to knowledge in areas we come in contact with daily.

We have to agree that the world is one of the best classroom resources.

You just can’t live without English, math, biology, art, and humanities classes.

Many may feel that those subjects are useless.

However, they build us, strengthen us and in many cases, protect us. 

Because of the major life-changing shift of the world over the last year and a half, many have made decisions to live life differently, on their terms. 

Academic Choices

Most people have made choices to learn new skills and earn certifications.

Mainly the length of the programs which is significantly shorter than a degree and costs less than a 4-year degree.

There are community colleges across the United States that offer free tuition and scholarships for students who choose to earn an associate’s degree and/or certification.

Thanks to the government who have come up with millions of dollars to offer students free opportunities of knowledge and skill.

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Covid 19 Relief Scholarship 

The government offered a scholarship that I was able to gain at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte (Central Campus). I completed the EKG program and loved every minute of it. 

It was a total change of career. The pandemic forced the life change.

The offer was through the government. Check it out here:

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) scholarship helps community college students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a continuing education student in a high-demand workforce training program that will lead to a state or industry-recognized credential, you may be eligible for a GEER scholarship.

Also, through the CARES Act, there was an additional stipend that we could use for anything that would assist us as a student: childcare, bills, food, etc. 


The knowledge we have and bring to the table offers us opportunities unknown.

As soon as we begin to believe that there is knowledge in the world that we don’t need or won’t fulfill us, there is where our downfall begins and will end.

Check out “My Daughter Chose to Leave College And I’m Proud” right here!

Tiffany Jasper
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