What are microcredentials? Explore our professional qualifications
Get acquainted with our online microcredentials and discover how they can boost your CV and help you stay on top of your professional development.
In the UK, around 49% of UK workers don’t have the right qualifications for their current jobs. With technological innovation moving faster than ever, this trend is set to continue unless we act now.
So, what can you do to stay up to date with training, keep progressing in your career, and even enter new industries? Professionals are increasingly turning to higher education to fill gaps in their CVs and expand their skill sets.
That’s where microcredentials come in. FutureLearn’s professional credentials are custom-made online programs that help you upskill in your industry.
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What is a microcredential?
Microcredentials are redefining what vocational education looks like. Whether you’re in Melbourne or Mumbai, you can quickly and affordably earn professional accreditation from an organisation anywhere in the world, while learning as part of a global community.
“A microcredential is a single, academic-credit-bearing course, much like a course you might take during a semester at a traditional university,” says Astrid deRidder, VP of content and learning at FutureLearn.
“You study within a cohort of learners over a set period of time, but you have flexibility in terms of how much time you want to study each week. There is a set period of time to interact with fellow students or the educator.”
“A microcredential gives you a certified educational experience, equivalent to studying at a traditional university, without the faff of applying or attending in-person lectures. You can study whenever and wherever you want, with an outcome that will help you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills.”
What does a microcredential involve?
Now you know what a microcredential is, we can iron out more of the details. So, if you’re looking to take control of your own education and career, keep reading!
Master your specialist subject area
We’ve worked with our educational and professional partners to identify skills gaps in specific industries. That means each microcredential offers specialised training in an area we know will benefit learners in their chosen profession.
“Microcredentials are quite targeted, which means that you can gain mastery in a subject rather than just learning the foundational material”, says Astrid. “Microcredentials are useful for certifying your experience in professional settings, with many of them appropriate for continuing professional development situations.”
Whether you’re a teacher looking to learn about classroom wellbeing or an entrepreneur wanting to build a fashion business, microcredentials are online programs designed to give you the career skills you need.
Learn with prestigious institutions and organisations
Whether led by top academic institutions like The Open University, or blue-chip employers like Cisco Systems, microcredentials are built by industry experts.
Organisations like the Royal Photographic Society and The Mind Lab have also designed qualifications using the latest thinking and research.
You’ll have the opportunity to expand your understanding of your profession alongside industry leaders as you complete online practice-based exercises and tutor-marked assignments.
Essentially, our microcredentials are the perfect opportunity to learn with some of the top institutions in the world, without having to do a degree. Astrid tells us, “It’s the same as if you attend a semester’s worth of lectures in person, on campus, but you can do it from the comfort of your home, at a time that suits you.”
Study flexibly, at your own pace
Each microcredential takes place 100% online. This means you can earn an accredited, professional credential without ever needing to set foot on campus.
You can comment on a video during your morning commute, watch a laptop lecture on your lunch break, and interact with educators and other learners as you go.
Learning in your own time, at your own pace – it’s the flexible learning of the future. FutureLearn allows you to access content in small, accessible chunks without feeling overwhelmed or overworked.
If you’re already working and have limited time and resources, competitively-priced online learning offers you the opportunity to change your career on your own terms. Our accredited online microcredentials are a great example of this.
What can I achieve with a microcredential?
When deliberating whether to take an online course or not, there’s might be one question at the front of your mind. How am I going to benefit? We’re here to satiate your curiosity and show all of the ways a microcredential can help you achieve success.
Upskill in a matter of weeks
Many accredited courses can take years to complete. But if you’re looking to expand your skill set in your current job or boost your CV to apply for a new role, you don’t have time to wait.
You can earn academic credits with a microcredential in a matter of weeks. You can even learn the essentials of a totally new profession – like project management and cyber security – in just over two months.
Earn academic credit that can be applied to a degree
If you enjoy your microcredential and want to carry on learning, the academic credit you earn can be used towards further higher education in the future.
“Microcredentials have been developed by universities and academics who are specialists in their subjects, so you’re definitely learning from the best”, Astrid explains.
“Because our microcredentials carry academic credit, if you later decide to go back to full-time education to get a degree, you can apply your credit from this microcredential and shorten your overall academic journey.”
Receive a professional certificate for your CV
At FutureLearn, we make sure you’ve got something to show for yourself once you complete a microcredential. A digital certificate is the perfect addition to your CV and will prove to prospective employers that you’re skilled, determined and hardworking.
“Microcredentials are a great way to level up in terms of knowledge and skills, and get an academically recognised credit and certificate in the process”, adds Astrid.
Get closer to your dream job
In our Future of Learning Report 2022, we found that 81% of respondents who had changed careers since the start of the pandemic said that an online course helped them make their move.
We also did some research on whether employers value online learning in 2021, and found that 75% of hiring managers reported that they rely on online training tools and courses to perform their own jobs, and 58% of employers agreed that people with online education have more earning potential.
So, the results are clear – a microcredential can help you be perceived by employers in a greater light, alongside giving you the skills you need.
It’s clear how impactful a microcredential can be for an individual looking to expand their skills and qualifications. If you’re interested in pursuing a microcredential qualification, you may have some questions. Let’s discuss some frequently asked questions to cover any queries you may have.
How much do microcredentials cost?
Most of our microcredentials cost between £450-£1000, which is significantly lower than many accredited courses. This is because we want our online programs to remain accessible to a large number of people hoping to reskill or gain expertise in a topic.
How long do microcredentials take to complete?
Designed to fit around your life, microcredentials take between just ten and 14 weeks to complete. They do require some hard work, however.
“Microcredentials are more of a commitment in terms of time, with most lasting more than eight weeks. You’ll need to dedicate time for learning, production, and reflection, which are the key elements that promote deep learning”, Astrid reports.
“Microcredentials tend to be heavily focused on developing practical skills, so you may want to engage in the social learning elements of our platform to support your learning”.
How do I study for a microcredential?
We asked Astrid for her top study tips for those pursuing microcredentials. “While the flexibility of e-learning gives great freedom, I think it’s best to try and set aside some dedicated and consistent time”, she says.
“I always study on Tuesday nights (for reading materials, watching lectures, and initial exposure to new ideas) and Saturday mornings (for reflection, revising, and producing work like essays or analyses). But the great thing about a microcredential is that I can shift that around if I need to!”
What are the most popular microcredentials?
We have a fantastic range of microcredentials available. One of our most popular microcredentials is Cyber Security Operations (Cisco), where you can develop professional skills to respond to and prevent cyberattacks.
Some of our other top microcredentials include Digital Photography, where you can develop your genre and style of photography, and Fashion Business, where learners study fashion management with Institut Français de la Mode.
- Agile Leadership and Management by The Open University
- Promoting Human and Planetary Health: Tools for a Sustainable Future by Deakin University
- Practical Project Management by the University of Glasgow
- Online Teaching: Embedding Social, Race, and Gender-Related Equity by The Open University
- Patient Flow Management by Deakin University
- Business Management: Marketing Principles and Practice by The Open University
Explore all of our microcredentials and start upskilling today.