Continuing Your Education Can Help With Your Career



Things move fast in the ever-evolving world of business. In order to help you keep up with the pace, local colleges and universities offer a number of business degrees, as well as a wide variety of continuing education and certification programs to keep you ahead of the curve.

Old Dominion University’s Management Certificate Program focuses on crucial leadership qualities needed to effectively lead a team. As a new or emerging manager, students will face unique professional and organizational circumstances. The ODU Management Certificate will equip them with a  “manager mentality” to help them adapt to new roles and be successful.

“The Management Certificate Program is a 10-hour, non-credit program designed for both entry-level and emerging managers in any field,” says Paula M. Rogers, director of business programs at ODU. “More specifically, our target audience is managers that are often program leads and have a desire to increase communication as well as trust within their teams. Some of the expected outcomes include immediate applicability to their current role or position within an organization, improved managerial skills, and the ability to leverage knowledge to align the goals and direction of the organization to remain competitive.”

According to James Shaeffer, dean of ODU’s College of Continuing Education and Professional Development, the Management Certificate Program is not necessarily for someone coming right out of high school but more for somebody who has already spent some time in the world of business and is looking to improve their skills. “I would think someone retiring from the military might find the program of interest,” he says. “I would see this program being for someone who has some business experience already. Perhaps for someone who has been an administrative assistant for years and is looking for some professional development. Or it might be for a boss that is looking at a pool of people that, no matter what their education level, may want them to have professional development toward becoming better managers.”

In addition to the Management Certificate, ODU offers a Certified Financial Planner program as well as a variety of classes that help students stay on top of emerging software. “We are a partner with Oracle, so we are offering a number of online courses that will result in certificates,” Shaeffer says. “What’s important about our relationship with Oracle is, in some cases we’re utilizing their instructors, and we’re also utilizing the most up-to-date software. If you take a similar course somewhere else, it’s probably a perfectly fine course, but it may not be utilizing the most up-to-date information and software available.”

ECPI University, with campuses in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News—as well as locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida—also offers a variety of business degree programs, as well as certification courses.

“A lot of folks are going to school now for a business degree in IT management,” says Kenton Scearce, ECPI University director of career services. “With that comes a lot of information and skills that are needed in that role. We have a plethora of certification programs across the board. But more times than not, we see alumni coming back to get not only additional certifications but also higher level certifications in order to progress their careers.”

According to Scearce, these certification programs are needed for employees to not only move up in their respective fields but also to stay current on new information. “The finance industry is a great example,” he says. “You’ve got to stay up to date on everything related to that industry. For us, and a lot of other schools, we try to stay as current as possible with industry trends when it comes to the curriculum. However, the certification providers are also doing the same thing. And in some cases they are constantly adding in newer versions of certifications or additional certifications for each program that is available to our students because that information is changing so rapidly.”

ECPI offers a number of expert rating certifications exams such as Six Sigma Green Belt, Project Management, Business Analyst, Human Resources and overall management skills. But a lot of the certification programs are designed to give their students a boost when graduating from college and moving into the business world. “If you come in and you get a bachelor's degree in business management, typically you’re going through your coursework, then you get into more program-specific, upper-level courses that are really preparing you to take the certification,” Scearce says. “In a perfect world, a student would graduate not only with a bachelor's degree in business, in addition to at least one certification related to that degree. And typically it focuses them on a certain niche related to what they want to do.”

No matter what you need, if you want to pursue a career in business or advance your current educational standards, visit the websites of local schools you are interested in, make an appointment to speak with a counselor about the options that are available to you (in-class courses versus online, tuition assistance, etc.), then chose the coursework or certification that best suits your educational goals.

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