Community College Certificate Programs – Life Enhancers for All Ages |

Community College Certificate Programs – Life Enhancers for All Ages

Maybe you are a fresh high school graduate who cannot attend college due to high tuition costs and needs a career with quick turnaround, as a placeholder until you are ready for a 4-year college degree. Maybe you are an adult working 8-5 workdays, and still not meeting your financial needs. Maybe you are a retiree who wants to stay engaged for the sake of your mental health (and the health of your significant other!). There could be myriad reasons for you to pick up your local community college catalog or browse through their website to learn more about the certificate programs offered in your local area. 

The world economy is in a downward shift. Folks are struggling to put food on the table or dipping into their savings just to get by. Grocery and gas prices seem to have not seen the bottom yet. We keep on hoping for the costs to go back to normal but does it really ever? People are realizing the jam they were stuck in for years before the pandemic and are yearning to crawl out - to change things up a little, to stay engaged, or to boost their income. If you are feeling like this, then you are not alone.1 

I think it’s time we push through and invest in upgrading our professional skills to allow ourselves to venture into areas we may have never considered before. For economically strapped new adults (ages 18-24), acquire a certificate to finance your 4-year degree program. For working professionals, enroll in a management certificate program, then ask for a promotion at your company. To boost your income, choose a health-field related certificate program and supplement your income by working part-time. As a stay-at-home mom, take a mobile application or website development course and start working from home, designing apps and websites. 

For the New Adult 

The other day, I decided to look up a few certificate programs for young adults looking for a quick entry into the job market. I landed on the Community College of Baltimore County’s website and scrolled down the 275+ associate degree and certificate programs. The range and choices were amazing. I felt like a kid in a candy store (nerd). 

Hoping to make meaning to the long list of programs, I desired to narrow down my list to a few lucrative fields. I decided to consult the U.S. News and World Reports latest job market trend analysis.2  The list definitely broadened my perspective of a job market other than engineering and health. A few to mention here:

For new adults already pursuing 4-year degree programs, take Thomas Friedman’s advice from his book, World is Flat. Diversify the professional set of skills to remain relevant to the job market and avoid getting outsourced.

“…today’s workers need to approach the workplace much like athletes preparing for the Olympics, with one difference. “They have to prepare like someone who is training for the Olympics but doesn’t know what sport they are going to enter…”

Along with your degree programs, certificate programs can add to your job skills to stay competitive in our new economic global village.  

For the 40- and 50-Year-Old Workers and Retirees 

This made me think a bit deeper about how I want to spend my time when I am no longer employed in an 8-5 job, aka retirement. And I found myself split between a community health worker or adolescent behavioral health counseling certification. Even after so much online research, I was feeling unsure and finally found a program worth pursuing. A 12-month certificate program to work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist is a great option for people who already have a bachelor’s degree, as a second career.  So, enticing. 

I think I’ll be happier in the latter “career after retirement.”  What do you think you would like to do when you grow up? 

A bit of time and money can serve as a great investment in your future financial health, for all age groups.  Certificate programs can be income boosters, allow you to experience fun in an area you love engaging, better prepare you for a dynamic job market and keep you relevant to your current employer.  In our times of uncertainty and confusion, there is a silver lining and hope here! The possibilities are endless. 


1 Half of Americans who quit their jobs last year made a career change. Here are 5 steps to take to do the same

2 US News and World Reports latest job market trends of the decade for lucrative jobs based on certificate programs.

Tayaabah Qazi has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, an AdminI/II Certification from the State of Maryland Education Department, and a Secondary Teaching Certification in Chemistry as well as a CPP certificate. She has served in the education field as a teacher and an administrator of schools. Recently, she served at Community College of Baltimore County as a Coordinator of Adult Basic Education program. Tayaabah is the Director at Prime Learning Solutions. She has been a long-time resident of Maryland for 17 years, with her family, but hails from Southern California. She is also a staunch believer of the 4 Cs: Compassion. Commitment. Conversation. Cultivation. 

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