You can always enroll in a certification program available at the community college or four-year institution near you. Or you can simply log on the web and look for free online certification programs.
If the plan involves working in the government sector, you will be happy to learn that there are various certifications that are not only available online but can be taken at no cost, too. But it’s also perfectly fine for you to take the formal documentation and/or title you will earn to the private sector to make you a complete standout candidate.
You can surf the web to look for one of these programs that can help make your resume look more complete. Or you can just scroll down and find a total of 12 of them!
Before anything else, however, let’s quickly talk about the perks that come with getting your hands on a free online government certification that’s related to your current job or your career goal.
Benefits of Free Online Government Certifications
The government sponsors all kinds of certificates that can be conveniently earned online and at no cost in order to allow the participants to obtain all sorts of career-related advantages. They range anywhere from updating their current knowledge and skills to taking on a higher-level job or a new career altogether.
Here are some of the things you can enjoy for registering for a free online government certification:
Online learning for free
These days, the average cost of mini-courses online is $137. Flagship online courses, meanwhile, can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 — those that come with personalized coaching can be $10,000 at least!
On the other hand, just like what the name says, free online government certifications cost $0.
But while the programs themselves may be cost-free, however, in some instances, the optional verified certification may come with a minimal price tag.
New knowledge and skills obtained
Some people take free government certification programs online for professional reasons.
But then there are also those who do so for personal reasons — nothing can help increase their self-confidence and self-esteem more than learning new information and acquiring new skills, which they may use of their own accord.
When deciding which online program that results in a certification to choose, you may consider one that will allow you to obtain something new or polish or improve what you already know.
Most traditional certificate programs are available at two- and four-year institutions. Thanks to the internet, earning government certifications can be done without stepping foot inside any physical classroom.
While not all free online certification programs sponsored by the government are self-paced, completing them is so much easier than having to attend in-person training sessions throughout the program’s entire duration.
No matter where you are on the planet, you can take the certification program of your liking.
Professional or formal documentation
It’s not enough that you are knowledgeable on this and skilled on that — in some instances, it’s a must to have some sort of proof that you are competent enough in a certain field.
This is when the benefit of completing an online certification program, free or otherwise, comes in.
No matter if you will have to submit a copy of the printed certificate to your employer or hang it on the wall as some form of bragging rights, you have proof that you have the necessary proficiency.
Many take online courses in order to future-proof their knowledge and skills.
By getting your hands on a government certification that can be obtained online and free of charge, too, you can enhance your resume and make it appealing to employers in related industries.
Because they are government-sponsored, needless to say, you can enjoy increased job marketability not only in the private sector but in the federal and governmental sectors, too.
Increased salary potential
Generally speaking, more education means more money. Someone with a bachelor’s degree, for instance, usually makes more money per year than someone with an associate degree or, even more so, a high school diploma.
With an online certificate, you have the potential to earn more than someone without one.
Thanks to your new knowledge base or updated skill set, you can move away from minimum wage and apply for higher-paying jobs armed with your online government certification.
In order to enjoy higher annual salaries, some people use their certifications earned online to look for better jobs. But then there are also those who use theirs in order to advance their positions at their current employers.
One of the nicest things about seeking promotion is that you can enjoy a salary increase, job security and career satisfaction without having to go through the stress and anxiety of switching to another job.
Sometimes, it’s just a simple certificate that’s keeping one from climbing up the career ladder.
There are certificate programs on the internet where the participants get to interact with one another.
Such is an opportunity not only to hone their social skills but also to create a network of people who might be able to help generate information as well as job leads.
Nowadays, many employers opt for word of mouth recruitment, especially because of the fact that they can reach qualified individuals by more than 560%, according to a study by the Marketing Advisory Network.
Top 12 Online Government Certification Programs for Free
And now we have arrived at the most important part of this post: the various certification programs sponsored by the government for individuals who are planning on working for governmental agencies, institutions and organizations as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
So, without further ado, here are 12 government certification programs online that you can complete in the comfort of your home and, best of all, without shelling out any cash.
Certified Public Manager
Planning on working as an effective district government manager?
Taking the free certified public manager (CPA) program by the government, which is administered by the DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR), will equip you with the necessary leadership skills.
Lasting for 12 months, the program consists of once-a-month sessions.
The free CPA program is not just any free online certification program — its academic rigor is provided by George Washington University, which is a private institution ranked #63 in National Universities by US News.
Here’s the link to the program if you’re interested in it.
Code Enforcement Officer
Provided by the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal, the free code enforcement officer program is all about advanced code enforcement across the state of Maine.
It involves disciplines required by code enforcement officers as well as local plumbing and third-party inspectors.
And, at the end of each online training, you will be provided with instructions on how to apply for credits, which you can use to access live or prerecorded online videos on the discipline of your choice.
Click on this link to know more about the free code enforcement officer certification program.
One of the nicest things about this introductory course to competency-based learning by WHO is that it allows you to gain mastery of the skills necessary for dealing with modern emergencies at your own pace.
But be warned: like many online programs, free or otherwise, there are graded assignments.
Scoring 80% or more of the maximum points is a must in order for you to be able to earn a record of achievement as well as an open badge, which you can download online.
If you want to know more about this introduction to the said competency-based learning program, this is the link.
Through the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, you can complete the online county commissioner program, which it provides in partnership with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).
Newly elected and incumbent commissioners — it’s for whom the online course is designed.
The core certification consists of a total of 9 courses, with a combined 66 hours of study. Once completed, participants achieve Certified County Commissioner status as well as a $100 monthly stipend from their county.
Here’s the link to the said cost-free online government certification program.
Completing this online program makes you one of the more than 1,100 certified economic developers (CEcDs) all over the planet, and the certification allows you to be recognized for your expertise.
The CEcDs program is considered a prestigious designation not only because it’s recognized globally but also because of the fact that the online program leading to it is the only one in the US.
It’s the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) itself that administers the online certification program.
Want to check out the online certified economic development program? Here’s the link to it.
Health Cluster Coordination
The goal of the health cluster coordination program offered by WHO through its OpenWHO online learning platform is to build and strengthen the capacity of health cluster team members to respond to humanitarian crises.
Lasting only 9 hours, the program leads to a couple of certificates: one serves as proof of participation and the other serves as proof of achievement. However, you will have to complete at least 80% of the program.
You may also get your hands on an open badge after successfully completing it.
This is the link that will take you to OpenWHO’s page about the health cluster coordination program.
Incident Management System
This particular online certification program is part of the initiative of WHO to enhance its Health Emergencies Programme (WHE) response capability through a series of training packages.
As a participant, you can actively engage in all virtual sessions and immerse yourself in the course content.
The incident management system program, which, by the way, is a tier 1 course, consists of 4 modules — each module covers a key aspect of the WHE approach to emergency management.
In order to check out the free online certification program, you can click on this link.
Introduction to Go.Data
A collaboration between WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), Go.Data is a platform used during public health emergencies for data collection and investigation.
Completing this online course is a good idea if you are looking to work for WHO or a partner governmental agency where the use of the Go.Data software is a part of the day-to-day tasks.
You will be happy to learn that you can complete the course in as fast as 1.5 hours.
This link will take you to a page where you can check out more details about this program.
Before anything else, it’s important to note that this online program is designed for individuals who are looking to take the Government Emergency Response Training (CGERT) course sooner or later.
Its aim is for the participants to learn validating plans, developing staff competencies and testing established procedures during an emergency situation. So, in short, it equips skills vital for making reliable and workable plans.
Various exercises are a part of the program, too, such as tabletop and discussion-based ones.
In order to know more about this particular online program, simply click on this link.
Public Works Management
The Georgia Certificate of Public Works Management (CPWM) program available online is designed for people working in the public sector in order to obtain additional knowledge and professional credentials.
It is administered in cooperation with the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA).
Besides completing the 6 modules taught by public works professionals and are equivalent to over two days to complete, participants may also partake in training sessions held during January and July conferences.
This link will take you to the page where you can get started with the online certification.
Risk Communication Essentials
Simply put, risk communication is a core public health intervention that applies to any health emergency, including a disease outbreak. It involves communication among experts and officials as well as the concerned public.
While the online course may vary, most participants are able to complete the modules in 8 hours only.
It’s especially suitable for individuals who work for international organizations, the local government or NGOs who wish to refresh and update what they already know about risk communication.
Just click on this link in order to learn more about this online certification course available on OpenWHO.
The standard precautions: waste management online course available on OpenWHO teaches participants the different categories of waste as well as the various processes of waste management.
Completing the program takes about an hour only, and there’s a test afterward.
Getting at least a score of 70% in the said post-test allows participants to earn a record of achievement. In addition, they may download an open badge that serves as digital proof of their knowledge and skills.
To enroll in the waste management online program offered by WHO, click on this link.
Different government certification programs available online free of charge come with different prerequisites, durations and resulting formal documentation. Course-specific questions can be answered by visiting the website that offers the online program of your liking and checking out information provided.
In the meantime, here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on free government certifications available online that most interested individuals would like to ask:
Are all online government certifications completely free?
Some online government certifications are totally free of charge, while others ask for a minimum fee. Similarly, there are also online government certifications where the online courses are cost-free but the verified certifications themselves come with an asking price, although usually minimally.
Are all online certifications sponsored by the government?
Not all certifications that can be completed online are government-sponsored. Some of them are sponsored by private companies, online learning platforms, universities and others. Typically, online certifications sponsored by the government prepare participants for government-related work.
Do online government certifications make participants employable?
Valid government certifications available online can help increase the employability and even the salary potential of participants. It does so by widening the knowledge and increasing the skills vital for different jobs in various governmental agencies, institutions and organizations.
Are online government certifications self-paced?
While there are some online government certifications designed to be completed at the partaker’s own speed, the majority of them have timelines that factor in the participant’s evaluation. Some can be as short as a few hours to a day, while others can be as long as a couple of weeks or a few months.
What are the requirements for free online government certifications?
Different government-sponsored online certifications have different prerequisites. While there are those that require a bachelor’s as a minimum, some require a high school diploma or a GED only. Needless to say, all free online government certifications require basic computing and internet skills.
Do employers accept free online certifications provided by the government?
Like online certificates and degrees, employers accept government-sponsored online certifications, including free ones. However, job applicants must ensure that their free online government certifications are valid and not the fake ones that bogus sites and online diploma mills offer.
Are free online government certifications valid for life?
Most government certifications available online, free or otherwise, are valid for a certain period of time. Participants will have to retake the online certification program, such as in the form of a refresher course, in order to make sure that their knowledge and skills are fresh, current and relevant.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.