The job market changes rapidly every single year. Consequently, there’s no telling if your degree will be relevant to your job two or five or ten years down the line. This is where microcredentials can be really important – but what are they and what are the benefits of microcredentials?
In this article, we’ll take you through exactly what a microcredential is, how it could benefit your career, and where you can find the right microcredential for you.
What Are Microcredentials?
In basic terms, a microcredential is a bite-size chunk of education. These short courses are almost always held online, making them super flexible. As such, many people in full-time jobs turn to microcredentials to bolster their education even after a traditional three- or four-year degree.
For example, most microcredentials last for just 4 to 12 weeks. This means that you could gain a wealth of new knowledge relating to your job in less than three months of studying.
However, their short duration doesn’t mean they’re not in-depth. A microcredential will usually concern a very distinct subject, being much more specific than a university course. As such, they are usually concerned with innovative subjects such as technology, business, or leadership. In fact, about 75% of available microcredentials are in business and technology. However, you can also gain microcredentials in things like climate change or social science.
What are the Benefits of Microcredentials?
So, we know what these short courses are, but what are the benefits of microcredentials?
Firstly, they can help you succeed in your job. Even after you’ve graduated from a study such as business, engineering, or teaching there’s still a lot more to learn. Some of this learning will happen on the job, however, you may find that there are some subjects that weren’t tackled in your degree.
This is where microcredentials come in. These short courses are a great way to upskill while working, benefiting not just you but your employer too. With all your new skills, you can become better at your job and provide extra value to your company or organisation.
Microcredentials are also lifelong credentials. Offered by reputable institutions, once they’re on your CV you may find that you become more competitive in the job market. So, even if you’re comfortable in your current job, they could offer you a boost in the future.
Compared to a university degree like a full-time Master’s course, microcredentials are also far more flexible. If you want to study multiple microcredentials – for example, in similar topics – you may find that you can even ‘stack’ them. This means you could eventually gain a ‘microdegree’ – but without having to quit your job to study.
Where Can I Study Microcredentials?
There are lots of institutions that offer microcredentials today, including traditional universities and online learning platforms. In fact, with the popularity of online spaces like Coursera increasing, some even debate whether microcredentials could spell the end of traditional university education. In reality, this is unlikely. Regardless, it means there are plenty of options if you are looking to pursue a microcredential.
Firstly, there are plenty of educational institutions that offer microcredentials. In the UK, the Open University is one of the leading online learning universities, and they offer a wide range of courses. You can also find microcredentials at top universities like the University of Glasgow, the University of Birmingham, and Coventry University.
Microcredentials are also a big subject of conversation in Europe. As they are quickly gaining in popularity, we could see more universities offer microcredentials in the future.
Away from traditional institutions, there are other ways to get a microcredential. For example, LinkedIn offers short courses in subjects relating to business and management. Online learning platforms like Coursera and Future Learn also offer microcredentials. These courses are often taught in collaboration with an institution, so you can trust that the course is reputable.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your job prospects, a microcredential might be for you. As we’ve found out, these short courses are flexible and in-depth, ensuring you become better at your job.
If you’re interested in studying a microcredential while working, consider how much time you’ll have to invest in your course. Then, search for courses with more flexible study times and assessments.
If you want to learn more about online learning, check out our article on the value of online business courses.