But the education you receive does not necessarily have to be a Bachelors or AA degree. A new study by Georgetown University shows that the certificate is the fastest growing credential. The programs offer a quick way to boost your education and pay.
The programs are as varied as they come, requiring students to learn a different skill set but, however, there is one thing certificate programs have in common.
"Certificated programs give students a quick pathway through college so they can get into the workforce fast," Reedley Dekker said.
Dekker, Interim Vice President of Instruction at Reedley College gives this example, "A nurse's assistant training program, four and a half months a student will get job offers that range from $12 to $17 an hour after four and a half months."
Dekker says the programs, are extremely popular at Reedley, the most recent graduation saw 719 certificates awarded to students, programs, such as those in the health care field are so in demand there are waiting list, the health care interpreter program is one of those.
"We do orientations and between 60 and 80 students show up and we have only 30 slots," Dekker said.
Earning a certificate is not only a quick path to a good paying job it also provides a pathway to a higher education. The nursing program offered through Fresno Unified's adult school is a good example.
"I want to eventually have my LVN, so I started with CNA license, after this I will go on to the LVN and help elderly people stay in their home," Kristen Morris said.
Nursing and caring for the elderly are what Kirsten Morris wants go do her first goal; get certified as a nursing assistant after finishing up that program she plans to move into the license vocational nurse program, and then maybe an RN.
Fresno Adult School is providing her with that opportunity at a price she can afford.
"We pay for books and uniforms but there is no out of pocket cost as far as to enroll in the class," Morris said.
Certificates are also a great way for workers who already have their BA degrees to upgrade their skill set. But you can expect to pay more for programs offered by colleges and universities.