Making a good first impression is key during your career search. It begins with a solid, polished resume that showcases plenty of relevant skills, talents, achievements, and credentials. Showing potential employers that you’re actively improving yourself by highlighting certifications on your resume will make you a more appealing candidate.

Certifications will get you noticed, if they are the right certifications. However, not all certifications are accredited, which means they’re not vetted by a well-known college or learning institution. Real certifications will be backed by an accredited institution, and these are the certifications that will be recognized by employers and likely help improve your resume’s worth. If your certificates don’t come from recognizable sources like that, they’re not very helpful to your resume.

No matter what skills you’re seeking to improve or learn, the list below provides examples of non-accredited online course certificates and their counterparts that provide the real certificates that you will want to put on your resume.

1) Udemy

Considering a certificate in marketing? The online learning platform, Udemy offers over 65,000 courses on a variety of subjects, professions, and talents. It’s a great place to further your education on any job skill, hobby, or personal interest. Udemy offers deep discounts often at 90% markdown on their courses nearly every month, making online learning very affordable.

However, Udemy certificates are not recognizable by employers. The problem with Udemy is that they’re not considered an accredited institution, which means courses will not count toward college credit or even continuing education units (CEUs).

Moreover, because Udemy enables content creators to sell for profit, most of the online instructors are not fully qualified. This doesn’t mean all the courses are not worthwhile, and a rating system provides insight as to how beneficial courses are for students.

Accredited Learning: The University of Phoenix Online Certificate Courses

The University of Phoenix Online provides certificate courses in several specialization areas, so you don’t have to pursue a full bachelor’s or associate’s marketing program. Instead, the Graduate Marketing Certificate allows you to go beyond learning the ‘Four P’s” of marketing.

The University of Phoenix Online Certificate courses are also fully accredited, which means employers, recruiters, and hiring managers will recognize the certificate. The site also provides full disclosure on certificate pricing. Although it’s more expensive than Udemy, the courses go beyond a few hours of content, and include quizzes and homework that test your knowledge as you progress. The University of Phoenix Online also provides lists of the fields where graduates can use their certifications for employment and the average salary for those positions.

2) Coursera

Coursera is another online learning platform like Udemy. It’s backed by Stanford professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, to provide an online learning library in multiple subjects including sciences, marketing, engineering, and business. The site currently offers over 2,000 courses and has more than 25 million registered users.

Coursera has a mix of accredited and non-accredited courses, and works with certain colleges and universities to offer specializations in trending subjects. Coursera is considered a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). In 2017, five courses were selected and approved for credit equivalency, providing college transfer credits at colleges that accept ACE accreditation. They also offer full degree programs, payable via financial aid through the site. Many of the on-demand courses on Coursera are still not accredited, especially if you’re pursuing a certificate in accounting – a popular certificate for online courses.

Accredited Learning: Kaplan University Certificate Programs

For a complete, accredited certificate in accounting, you may want to look at Kaplan University. They touch further on the accounting program, without needing to apply for the two-year degree program on Coursera.

The certificate is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and Kaplan’s Graduate Accounting Certificate also prepares you for the CPA exam. The site also provides users with the career opportunities you can expect from the certificate. Moreover, should you need more in-depth accounting education, you can return to Kaplan and apply the certificate credits toward a Kaplan Degree program. While financial aid for this certification program is not available, military funding is available.

3) SkillShare

Viewed as another Udemy platform, with over 19,000 courses and millions of users, SkillShare provides the tools you need to help with your personal career development goals. Their courses provide in-depth subject matter studies that are taught by online experts, entrepreneurs, and business owners. If you’re pursuing a career in human resources, they have over 100 courses in the human resources field alone. 

While SkillShare offers many courses on different topics, the courses are not accredited by any institution, and SkillShare does not provide certificates at this time.

Accredited Learning: eCornell Online Certificate Program

To get true recognition for an HR certificate, you’ll do better earning a certificate program from eCornell Online. The HR program from eCornell online offers several different certifications in HR, including HR Management and Strategic HR Leadership. Moreover, eCornell’s certificates are accredited by the HR Certification Institute. These courses are also taught by Ivy League Faculty members and can transfer to other programs as CEUs.

All the human resources courses are structured for small class sizes, with only a need of three to five hours of dedication each week, so it doesn’t impose on your working hours. While it does take four and a half months to complete the course and receive the certificate, it’s more in-depth, as opposed to taking a one-hour course on SkillShare and not receive a certificate of completion.

4) LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com from LinkedIn)

LinkedIn is one of the largest professional online networking platforms, so it would be sensible to offer on-the-job learning via their online platform. Powered by Lynda.com, which LinkedIn acquired in 2015, their service allows business and career professionals to hone their skills and expand their knowledge at a self-directed pace.

LinkedIn Learning provides users with access to learning from over 6,000 courses. You can find courses on business, tech, and creative-related skills via the platform. Courses are taught by industry experts and LinkedIn Learning is included in your premium membership fee.

Most of LinkedIn Learning’s content is published via Lynda.com, which means you won’t receive certifications from LinkedIn Learning and there is an additional fee to receive a certificate from Lynda.com. While the content and learning information from LinkedIn Learning is delivered by experts in the industry, certifications are not accredited for all fields, including for those seeking a certificate in IT.

Accredited Learning: Microsoft Learning Online Program

For an IT certificate that carries weight and is recognized by employers, a better option would be to pursue the Microsoft Learning Online Program. There are over 16 different certifications to select, each with an exam to take to become Microsoft certified.

Microsoft’s certification courses are also college credit transferable and have been useful in helping graduates receive promotions to better jobs or higher-paying positions. If you choose to become Microsoft Learning certified, be sure to check out their recertification programs to stay current and keep your certifications.

5) SkillSuccess

Offering over 800 courses in business, technology, health, personal development, languages, and beauty and fashion, SkillSuccess provides its students with certificates and hours of content. However, it’s still considered a MOOC like Udemy and Coursera. Certificates from this online learning platform won’t be recognized by colleges or employers.

Courses are taught by industry experts and they often provide flash sales that allow you to purchase the high-dollar courses at an 80% discount. If you’re looking to move into Project Management with a certificate from SkillSuccess, you may be interested to know that it won’t count as much as the real certificate from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Accredited Learning: Project Management Institute (PMI)

The Project Management Institute offers everything you need to certify in Project Management, as well as a certificate that is immediately recognized by employers. Moreover, the PMI handbook instructs potential students on the education needed to successfully pass the PMI certification. This includes:

  • Training courses offered by a Registered Education Provider (R. E. P.)
  • PMI SeminarsWorld
  • Education events hosted by a PMI chapter
  • Academic education via an accredited PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC)
  • E-Learning On-Demand Courses

PMI provides their own online learning courses with trained and registered educators. While a project management course from SkillSuccess is taught by someone who currently works, or has worked, in the industry, getting the right education from a registered educator will better prepare you to take the certification exam.

While you do want a certification that is accredited, employer-recognizable, and worth listing on your resume, don’t discredit places such as Udemy, Coursera, and other MOOC-based online learning platforms. These are a great way to enhance your current job talents, learn a new skill, or even learn about a new career before making the transition.