Overview of Online Community College Leadership Certificate Programs
Online certificate programs in community college leadership are fairly common and are designed to further develop the leadership skills of current and potential community college personnel. Anyone from community college instructors to administrators may benefit from these certificate programs, which can typically be applied towards a related master's or doctoral degree program in education. Some of these programs may even help train students in specific skills identified by the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC). Students in these programs not only sharpen their leadership skills but may also discuss issues community colleges face and further develop their problem-solving skills.
These graduate-level community college leadership certificate programs may be completed in 1-2 years, depending on when students begin the certificate and how many courses they take at once. Admissions standards vary depending on the school, but students typically need at least a bachelor's degree. Some programs require a master's degree and current employment at a community college.
Requirements for Community College Leadership Certificates
Online community college leadership certificate programs cover subjects ranging from management tools, such as quality assurance and organizational strategy, to leadership skills and the role of community colleges. Some of these programs are available in a fully online format, while others are offered in a blended format that requires some on-campus coursework and/or other hands-on experiences.
Information and Requirements
Many online community college leadership certificate programs require 15 credits of core courses, although some programs allow for a few elective courses. Students in blended programs should be sure to check with an advisor or view the course schedule to see which of their five courses are available in an online format. Depending on the format of the program, online courses may not have set class times or may meet once a week in the evenings.
Although not as common, some of these community college leadership certificates include various hands-on experiences that can include a course in educational leadership field research and a final internship working in a community college.
These courses typically provide students with an overview of the history, function, and characteristics of community colleges. Students may examine topics specific to 2-year colleges in areas like finance, governance, curriculum, and policy.
Community College Leadership
Depending on the program, courses in community college leadership may be set up as a seminar course, while others follow a traditional lecture-based course style. Students in these courses further develop the skills needed to be an effective leader at the community college level as well as explore current issues and trends in community colleges.
Courses in organizational development may also be set up as a lecture-based course or seminar. These courses are designed to explore how members of community colleges identify issues and then implement change throughout the organization.
Career Outcomes with a Certificate in Community College Leadership
Some students who pursue an online certificate in community college leadership may already work for community colleges in a variety of positions. Students with their certificate in community college leadership may work as postsecondary teachers or postsecondary education administrators at these colleges and take on a more managerial or leadership-focused roles.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers at the community college level may only need a master's degree. Teachers at local junior colleges made a median salary of $82,850 as of 2019, and those at the state level made a median salary of $61,430. Postsecondary education administrators can include a wide range of professionals working in areas that range from admissions to student affairs. These professionals made an annual median salary of $95,410 as of 2019 and usually need a master's degree and some work experience, per the BLS.
Students interested in developing their knowledge of policy, finance, and organizational development within a community college may pursue an online certificate in community college leadership. These certificate programs may be available fully online or in a blended format.