Career Information for a Certificate Program

Feb 24, 2023

Career Options for Certificate Graduates

There are a variety of career options for which no degree is required. People can also improve their salaries and job prospects by gaining skills through certificate programs. There are as many certificate programs as there are passions, from sewing machine repair to drawing to interior design. By completing a certificate program, you could pursue such careers as caterer, hotel receptionist, network design engineer assistant or dental assistant.

Caterer Hotel Receptionist Network Design Engineer Assistant Dental Assistant
Field of Education Food Service Management Hospitality; Office Administration Computer Science Dental Assisting
Duties Food preparation and service Customer service, telephone and computer skills Network and computer setup, maintenance and repair Initial patient care, equipment management
Median Salary (2021)* $59,440 (all food and beverage managers) $28,080 $62,760 (all network support specialists) $38,660
Job Outlook (2021-2031)* 10% growth 0% growth (all receptionists) 7% growth (all network support specialists) 8% growth

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Many functions, be they big or small, provide food for delegates, guests or employees. This may comprise light snacks or a larger, more formal meal comprising several courses, including alcoholic beverages and dessert. Caterers may work in large industrial kitchens or use clients' on-site kitchen facilities. Quite often food is prepared off-site and brought in using insulated containers to retain heat and quality. To reduce costs, some companies now employ caterers to oversee hospitality rather than incurring the expense, both in terms of time and money, of dining out with clients.

Holders of certificates in catering or hospitality services generally find work as catering managers or captains, directing the labor of others and interacting with clients. Hours generally start quite early in order to prepare meals in time. Weekend work is common, and for some companies weekends may be the busiest time of the week. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all food and beverage managers, including caterers, earned a median salary of $59,440 as of May 2021.

Hotel Receptionist

Hotel receptionists perform a vital role in the smooth running of a hotel. They represent the hotel to the public and are generally the first person guests meet. Hotel receptionists need to be approachable, confident, helpful and have high standards of personal grooming. Work involves meeting and greeting guests, allocating rooms, bill preparation, taking payment and helping guests make travel arrangements. Most hotel receptionists work shifts, especially in large international hotels.

In spite of the growth in telecommuting and e-commerce, face-to-face meetings are still necessary for many business dealings, and hotels continue to enjoy a healthy revenue stream from the business community. The BLS reported in May 2021 that those working as hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks earned a median salary of $28,080.

Network Design Engineer Assistant

Network design engineer assistants may find employment with many different companies. As computer technology has become the modern economy's most valuable resource and networking has become commonplace, the need for workers with expertise in these fields has exploded. Daily tasks for a network design engineer assistant may include installing, designing and configuring networks. Many companies have networks already, so much of a network design assistant's work may consist of upgrading existing installations to improve response times, tighten security, maximize performance and increase bandwidth. The BLS notes that computer network support specialists earned a median of $62,760 per year as of May 2021.

Dental Assistant

Dental assistants perform both clinical and administrative tasks in dental offices. State laws affect the kinds of tasks these professionals can do, especially advanced procedures like coronal polishing and the application of sealants, anesthetics and fluoride. Common tasks for dental assistants include giving dentists tools during procedures, processing x-rays, cleaning dental tools and getting patients ready for treatments. Some administrative duties they might perform include dealing with customer billing, scheduling appointments and maintaining dental treatment records.

Dental assistants usually gain practical experience during a certificate program. Depending on the state in which they work, additional certification may be needed. Licensure or registration is also needed for assistants to do advanced tasks in some states. In May 2021, the BLS reported that dental assistants earned a median wage of $38,660.

Overview of a Certificate Program

A professional or trade certification or professional designation is simply a way of showing that a person is qualified to perform a job. Certification means that the holder has specific knowledge, skills or abilities in the view of the certifying body. One can become certified by completing guided training and/or passing an exam. Some certifications last a lifetime, but others must be renewed at regular intervals during the course of one's career.

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