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February 9, 2018

Offering More Than a Bachelor’s Degree

The role of certificates in higher education

Most students (especially in the United States) want to earn a bachelor’s degree — the highest credential of the undergrad experience. But for part-time, online students, pursuing a bachelor’s degree can take six or more years to complete.

This is why BYU-Pathway Worldwide encourages students to earn certificates and an associate degree on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

PathwayConnect opens the door to stackable degrees, which allow students to choose from several different programs and earn three certificates, an associate degree, and a bachelor’s degree — all for the same time and cost it would take to only earn a bachelor’s degree.

By taking just five courses (typically 15 course credits), students can earn a certificate in a program designed to provide them with specific and highly-employable skills, improving their professional opportunities as they work to finish their online associate and/or bachelor’s degree. Nearly 3,000 students are currently pursuing certificates online.

One student from the United States explained the importance of certificates in professional development. He said, “The biggest reason I got the certificate was to show progress toward my degree within my resume. I needed to show that growth to get an internship and a better job.”

I got the certificate to show progress toward my degree

Enrolling in an online certificate program in web media helped Jessica Oliveira, a former PathwayConnect student from Curitiba, Brazil, advance professionally and receive a promotion at her work.

Jessica Oliveira

“A certificate from [BYU-Pathway] was less expensive than other university courses in Brazil, and it helped me build my professional resume,” Jessica explained. “After I received my certificate, I was recognized at the company I work for and given a pay raise and new responsibilities. But most importantly, my certificate helped me improve my knowledge both as a professional and as a student.”

The skills students receive during their certificate courses are so valuable in the workplace that BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s new PathwayConnect curriculum seamlessly transitions every student to continue their education with a certificate on their path to a bachelor’s degree.

Three PathwayConnect alumni in Curitiba, Brazil, were the first to earn online certificates in their country.

For more information on BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s online certificate and degree offerings, visit

Comments on "Offering More Than a Bachelor’s Degree"

Silvia Edinam Alemawor says:

Taking certificate courses and an asssociate degree before a bachelor’s degree will really help improve upon the skills needed for employability. We can’t just jump to a bachelor’s without acquiring basic skills. These basic skills will rather help us discharge our duties effectively in our working environment.
I have just finished my first semester. I am waiting for the second semester and eventually complete all three semesters. I shall take a certificate course and associate degree before proceeding with my bachelor’s degree for more knowledge that will in the future enhance my employability.

Thomson says:

I feel this a safe way of increasing the market for ourselves as we build from certificates to bachelor’s degree. I will do it.

Stephen Pena says:

I truly understand the move toward certificates. It is a blessing to many. The reduction in degrees for those of us that began in the fall of 2018 is stressful to many. Eight of my gathering members were planning on degrees that are now gone. Software engineering, education, and business management are gone. It was upsetting to many. We need explanation and would love to have an opportunity to acquire the degrees we started this program to gain. This is a great program overall.

Breanne Su'a says:

Stephen, we appreciate your support of certificates and understand your concerns. I hope this helps. If you visit, you can find all of the different certificate and degree options we provide. We still have a “business management” bachelor’s degree; it’s just called “applied management,” since it focuses on how to apply the skills of business management. Under the technology bachelor’s degree, we also offer several certificate options that help students learn the skills previously taught in the “software engineering” degree. For “education,” we offer TESOL and parent & family education certificates. We understand that our degrees may not cover everyone’s wants or needs, but we do strive to offer programs in highest demand by employers around the world.

Andre Tshitenga says:

You inspire me guys! I’m following your path.

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