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New Undergraduate Certificates to Help You Succeed

Theresa Schempp
By Theresa Schempp

In fall 2024, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is launching three new undergraduate certificates that give students the opportunity to gain credentials quickly and prepare for careers in growing fields.

The undergraduate certificates in Cloud Computing and Networking, Crime Scene Investigation, and Fundamentals of Workplace Health and Safety can be completed in one year, and students can apply all their certificate credits to a related bachelor’s degree.

With an undergraduate certificate, you can gain the concentrated skills and experience you need in less time, which can help set you apart. Whether you’re just entering the workforce or want to develop skills and leadership qualities in your current role, a certificate could supplement your knowledge to advance in your career.

Undergraduate Certificate in Cloud Computing and Networking

An undergraduate certificate in cloud computing and networking gives students hands-on experience in some of today’s most advanced cloud technologies. The course content is aligned to industry certifications in cloud and network computing and can help prepare students to succeed in the technology industry.

“The cloud computing certificate courses combine active industry certification exam skills and real-world projects to provide learners with rich learning experiences,” says Patrick Appiah-Kubi, program director cloud computing at UMGC. “The courses are also taught by practicing scholars with rich industry experience that they bring to the classroom.”

Students will learn about emerging trends within cloud technology, including multicloud solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), blockchain, and cloud automation. In the program, students can evaluate the cloud infrastructural needs of an organization, analyze cost estimates and value propositions of the cloud, and provide solution recommendations to an organization.

The cloud industry continues to grow and offers many different career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in computer and information technology is projected to grow faster than average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032, with more than 377,000 job openings projected each year.

An undergraduate certificate in cloud computing and networking can help prepare students for careers such as cloud architect, cloud security analyst, cloud support engineer, and cloud systems engineer. According to BLS, the median salary for a computer network architect in 2022 was $126,900, and the median salary for a computer systems analyst was $102,240 in 2022.

“The cloud computing certificate prepares learners to succeed in entry-level cloud careers,” says Appiah-Kubi. “The certificate is designed to be embedded with the bachelor’s in cybersecurity technology program and will provide added skills to learners who select this certificate.”

Students who earn this undergraduate certificate will earn credits that they can apply towards a bachelor’s in cybersecurity technology, saving them time and money to help them succeed in their career.

Undergraduate Certificate in Crime Scene Investigation

An online crime scene investigation certificate can give students the knowledge and skills to succeed in a career in law enforcement as a crime scene investigator (CSI). The practical aspects of the certificate, from learning how to document crime scenes to analyzing fingerprints, can help students gain hands-on experience within the field.

“The courses cover the latest in forensic science disciplines and techniques, as CSIs need an understanding of how their evidence is examined and analyzed in the forensic lab,” says Susan Blankenship, professor of criminal justice and investigative forensics at UMGC. “The latest in crime scene documentation, such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and drones, is also covered.”

The crime scene investigation certificate includes a fingerprint analysis course, teaching students how to evaluate, compare, and verify fingerprint evidence. Students can also learn how to document a crime scene, gather evidence, and complete post-crime scene objectives.

“This certificate was built from the ground up to meet the needs of CSI employers across the country,” says Blankenship. “Research was conducted using job descriptions to determine what employers want from a CSI, and the certificate was developed using that research to give students the practical and theoretical framework necessary to succeed.”

According to BLS, the employment of forensic science technicians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2022 to 2032, and more than 2,000 job openings are projected each year on average. While many listings for a job as a CSI do not require a bachelor’s degree, students could advance their education with a bachelor’s in criminal justice to broaden their career opportunities. Students could also earn the crime scene investigation certificate simultaneously as they earn their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

“This certificate is a great addition for students who are in law enforcement or interested in a career in law enforcement, as basic crime scene investigation is part of every patrol officer’s job,” says Blankenship. “Many smaller police departments may not have a large crime scene investigation unit, so patrol officers with this certificate could be more attractive to employers.”

Undergraduate Certificate in Fundamentals of Workplace Health and Safety

Under U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, employers are required to provide a workplace that is "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." An undergraduate certificate in fundamentals of workplace health and safety can help students learn how to recognize hazards and support a safe working environment within an organization.

“Courses in this certificate are based on real-world tasks that a workplace safety and health professional will be expected to complete as part of their job,” says Sabrina Fu, director of environmental portfolio at UMGC. “The assignments can be used to compile an e-portfolio to demonstrate knowledge and skills to prospective employers.”

This certificate provides a generalist approach to fundamental topics in fundamentals of workplace health and safety, such as hazardous substances, risk assessment, incident investigation, fire prevention, and industrial hygiene.

“The courses in this certificate use project-based assignments and utilize relevant technology to practice technical skills and training,” says Fu. “Some emerging trends and topics discussed in the certificate are the exposome, organizational learning teams, the Total Worker Health approach, and human factors and ergonomics.”

With a fundamentals of workplace health and safety certificate, students could prepare for technician and coordinator-level jobs in occupational and environmental health and safety. According to BLS, the employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is expected to grow 13 percent from 2022 to 2032, with more than 17,000 job openings each year on average.

“A certificate in fundamentals of workplace health and safety can be used to launch a career in the field, gain work experience, and build toward the education requirements for various professional credentials in the field,” says Fu. “This certificate was designed for students who are interested in working in the field but need a more flexible pathway with achievable milestones to confirm their interest level before pursuing a degree.”

Students can earn credit in this certificate that can be applied to a bachelor’s in environmental health and safety, or they can use the certificate to supplement a bachelor's or master's degree in any field related to workplace health and safety.

The fundamentals of workplace health and safety certificate can also help students prepare for industry certification exams, including ones offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, that can be earned without a bachelor's degree.

Why Choose UMGC for Your Undergraduate Certificate

UMGC is dedicated to meeting students wherever they are in their education journey.  Whether you’re just entering the workforce or want to develop skills and leadership qualities in your current role, a certificate can help set you apart from the crowd. UMGC’s undergraduate certificates are offered completely online, giving students the flexibility to help them succeed.

Students at UMGC also gain access to academic support including tutoring, the UMGC Library, and the Effective Writing Center. In addition, students at UMGC receive lifetime career services at no cost, which provides job listings, career fairs, and resume writing tips.

Reference on this webpage to any third-party entity or product does not constitute or imply endorsement by UMGC nor does it constitute or imply endorsement of UMGC by the third party.