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What is a Technical Certificate?

Students seeking a technical certificate may be required to work as an apprentice with a trained professional.
As part of a course for a technical certificate, students are required to complete classroom exercises during their studies.
Electrician's assistants and other individuals who work in a field may be eligible to receive a restricted technical certificate based on their experience.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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Technical certificates are issued to persons who have completed a specialized course of study that is related to specific vocational skills. Referred to as Vocational Related Qualifications (VRQ), a certificate of this type is proof that the individual has been exposed to information that is vital to the performance of tasks associated with certain professions or jobs, and has assimilated that information to the satisfaction of the institution that issued the certificates.

Generally, obtaining a technical certificate involves commitment to a minimum number of hours in a classroom, and the pursuit of specified courses that are considered necessary before the training period is considered complete. Some certificate courses of study may involved some sort of activity outside the classroom as well, such as an apprenticeship in a job or profession that is relevant to the subject matter. It is usually possible to pace the course work to accommodate other time commitments. This makes it possible to pursue a technical certificate while continuing to work full or part time and engage in family responsibilities and activities.

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For people who are pursuing a technical certificate that is related to a job or profession that he or she is already performing, some issuing institutions will provide what is called a restricted technical certificate. The restricted certificate recognizes that the individual has life experience that is relevant to the subject matter of the course of study, and provides documentation to that effect. People who hold this type of certificate may continue to pursue a full certificate, with the required number of in-class hours and the range of courses reduced.

The exact requirements for obtaining a technical certificate will vary from one institution to another. However, the benefits of having one are somewhat like those of holding a college degree. The tech certificate is helpful in demonstrating to prospective employers or clients that the individual does possess a certified working knowledge of matters that are directly connected to the tasks involved in the job or career path involved.

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TheExpert
Post 4

I am very glad I went from the first post I was reading to this one. It helped me to sort out some thoughts that have being running round in my mind, into a more orderly sequence!

miriam98
Post 2

@MrMoody - It’s good to hear your story. I think it should be pointed out that the value of the technical training certificate is only as good as the university behind it, whether it’s an online campus or otherwise. I say this only because there are so many companies out there offering certificates for just about anything, so long as the customer pays.

In your case it appears you got hooked up with a good organization, but for anyone else seeking an unconventional credential such as a certificate, be sure to check into the quality of the certifying institution before giving them your hard-earned tuition money. That will also be important to prospective employers as well, who don’t just want to know that you’ve got a credential, but will be interested in where you got it.

MrMoody
Post 1

I graduated with a Technical Writer Certificate some years ago through taking a series of online courses. I had to learn things like HTML, ISO standards, how to create manuals, documentation, processes and procedures and so forth. I also had to take a couple of elective courses so I chose Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

The most important aspect of the courses for me was not so much the tools themselves, but learning how to communicate with the end users and understand who my target audience was. Knowing who your audience is helps you write your materials effectively.

When I was done with the course, I was given the opportunity to join the Society for Technical Communicators. I did so, and have gained valuable contacts and information by joining. I would definitely recommend that anyone aspiring to be a technical writer pursue a certificate program with a qualifying university.

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