According to EducationData.org, there are nearly 45 million people in the United States with outstanding student loan debt. The total amount of that debt in 2020 is $1.6 trillion.
Google has developed an alternative to a traditional college education that could help adults begin or advance their careers in several high-demand fields. Instead of earning a degree, participants can learn job skills and receive certificates.
Google Career Certificates are being developed entirely by Google. Participants do not require previous experience, and each certification will take about six months to complete. All classes are remote, hosted on the online learning platform Coursera.
Each of the certificates is intended to help those completing them qualify for jobs with median salaries of more than $50,000 a year. Participants also gain access to resources designed to aid in the job search and interview prep process. They will also get apprenticeship and employment opportunities with Google and other employers.
In fact, Kent Walker, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Google, stated on Twitter that the company will treat these certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree in its hiring process.
The certificate program began in 2018 when Google was finding it challenging to connect with qualified candidates for IT support positions. Because a four-year degree is not necessarily required to be successful in this field, the company created a program to teach the foundations of IT support in six months or fewer.
More than 50,000 participants signed up during the first year. Google has since determined that 60% of participants are Black, Latino, female or veterans and that 84% of the people who completed the program reported a positive effect within six months of completion, such as finding a new job, receiving a pay increase or even starting their own business.
The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is currently available for enrollment. Classes started August 24, but it’s not too late to begin. There is a 7-day free trial, and Coursera charges $49 per month to continue, although scholarships and grants are available. There are five courses required to earn this certificate, and since you work at your own pace, you can complete the courses as quickly or as slowly as you like.
Google is in the process of developing three more Google Career Certificates, which are:
- Data Analyst,
- Project Manager, and
- UX Designer.
If you are interested in any of these, visit grow.google.certificates and select “Notify me when these certificates become available” from the pop-up at the bottom of the page.