Although masters and PhDs still rule the world of achieving expertise, executive leadership certificates and digital badges are gaining momentum. And there’s a heavy-duty value to back up the surge. 


We’ve already written about the many benefits of earning an executive certificate, so we’ll try to answer why certificates are worth it in a different way now. To get to the bottom of it, we’ll address the key concerns that haunt the minds of those wishing to pursue this line of education. 


Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll gain a bird’s-eye view on the whole purpose of executive certification programs and decide with certainty whether it matches your career goals.


Let’s dive in. 


Is Executive Education a Degree?

First of all, executive education is not about chasing academic qualifications or searching for easy substitutes. Leadership certificates pertain to a whole other world of self-development process and correspond to disparate objectives. 


In a nutshell, executive education programs are short, non-degree courses designed for professionals who aim at honing their skill set. They either seek a fast and effective way to fill in their knowledge gaps or need a small helping hand in climbing the corporate ladder


And there are a lot of prospective candidates that fit this description. For example, one study found that nearly three-quarters of executive education students would consider obtaining a ‘micro-credential,’ while 63% may work towards a qualification that provides a ‘digital badge.’


And why are the numbers so high? 


Because badges and certificates are the easiest way of showcasing your life-long learning mindset and because they make your development evident and apparent. 


So, even though you won’t get a degree, you’ll earn something much more valuable at times – a competitive edge and reputation. 

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How Can Executive Education Help Build Your Career?

Leadership certificates can propel your career in so many ways. Still, there are a couple of workplace scenarios where executive education holds the strongest worth among the sea of benefits. These are: 


When you have a pending promotion

Perhaps the most significant benefit of executive certificates stems from employers and recruiters recognizing their value. It would make much less sense to pursue executive education if it couldn’t bring you the C-suite positions.


Having said that, many prospective candidates have a reason to raise their hopes. According to FutureLean, 75% of surveyed employers said that a completed online program would help them decide whether or not to promote an employee.


In other words, if that promotion is waving at you from just around the corner, executive education might be the perfect way of reaching out to it proactively. 


When you need to plug in the skills gap

Because leadership certificates are not time-consuming, they are sharp tools for upgrading your knowledge. In a world where industries rapidly evolve or go extinct, this benefit could be the one way of keeping your head above water.  


In more pragmatic terms, acquiring leadership skills such as negotiation, strategic thinking, or communication can equip you actually to build your way up. So you wouldn’t have to wait for that promotion to come out of nowhere, but break your own path towards creating the opportunity.  


When you wish to change your career path

Certificates can help if you’re stuck on an unfulfilling career line. Instead of taking dramatic cuts and scary leaps of faith, “micro-credentials” can give you just the right amount of insight into new paths. At the same time, being recognized by the employers, they can easily prove to be effective door-openers. 


When you’re thinking about an MBA

Somewhat in line with the previous scenario, certificates are also worthwhile pursuing when you’re uncertain about obtaining a full degree. Diving into a shorter course instead is a practical way of getting your feet in shallow water first to see whether the area is the right fit for you. 


Of course, both in career change and deciding on a full MBA, there is a massive value in mitigating risks, cutting costs, and managing your time efficiently. 


Is Executive Education Worth The Money?

Measuring the worth of executive education in purely financial terms can be tricky because there are too many factors to consider here. Likewise, the exact ROI in each individual case is hard to calculate because there are simply too many variables. 


So, to compensate for this, we’ll give you a few hard facts you should definitely take into account when doing your math. 


First, you cannot oversee that certificates cost way less than the degree programs. If you want to nudge your existing career toward a particular direction, paying for an MBA can equal overspending and not wisely managing your resources. Why invest in expensive education if you can do it with a micro-credential?


Second, for full-time employed professionals, time can be money. The great way of saving both is enrolling in a course you can complete without quitting your job. Because intended for those in the working force, executive certificates have this flexibility pre-built into their design. 


Last but not least, if your corporate ladder climbing is already underway, potential promotion is bound to get you higher earnings. An ROI associated with the executive certificate can be easily and precisely calculated from that perspective. You just have to figure out if it pays off in your particular case. 


What Certificates Are Worth Getting?

To evaluate if the certificate will be well worth the investment, you need to take a closer look at the related courses, outcomes, and curricula. Fortunately, there are many high-quality leadership programs that you can take fully online without disturbing other life and work commitments. 



All of the above mentioned is essential to succeed in modern work surroundings. To make your investment pay off, you better make sure you’ll receive cutting-edge knowledge in exchange. 


Boost Your Resume With AILIT’s Executive Certificate in Leadership

The American Institute of Leadership and Technology is focused on designing up-to-date e-certificates that can skyrocket your career. Our executive education programs will sharpen your C-suite skills and teach you how to implement them in a multifaceted workplace. 


To learn more about our certifications, download our brochure or contact us with any questions you may have. Let’s grow together.