What’s The Difference Between A Certificate Program & College?

The average cost of a year of college to earn a four-year degree is $35,000…per year! Those costs are doing nothing but increasing with each passing academic year. So what are you supposed to do when you want to pursue a new career or advance in your current role but can’t afford the cost or time that a new degree requires? 

One of the most exciting parts of technology is the convenience it brings to our daily lives. But it also brings convenience for adults looking for a way to continue their education without breaking the bank, having to spend time in a classroom, or completely rescheduling your life.

When you compare a four-year degree to an online certificate program through a school like Washington Technical Institute, it’s exciting to see how easy it is to reach your goals without leaving the comfort of your home!


The first great advantage is also the most practical one. A certificate program costs a fraction of the cost of even a single year enrolled for a four-year degree. Because certificate programs focus on the specific, direct skills you need for your new career, the smaller number of classes you have to take greatly reduces your cost. 

Additionally, WTI offers monthly payment plans for all of our certificate options so that you can reach your goals without too much stress on your budget.


Certificate programs don’t add extra classes to your schedule. You focus on the skills you need to pursue your career without any wasted time on classes that have nothing to do with your goals. As a result, you spend far less time learning in your classes than when you pursue a four-year degree. Whatever certificate program you choose, that’s what your classes will be about. 

As a result, you can earn a certificate in a secure career pathway in a matter of months! Additionally, most of our programs are self-paced, so if you finish early, you’re done! You can graduate as early as your schedule will allow, so the more motivated you are, the more quickly you can achieve your dreams.

High Levels of Independence

When you attend a traditional college, you are usually required to meet at set times with many specific deadlines. Because of that, you often have to reschedule your life to graduate. Depending on where you live, attending class can mean significant travel times, too. 

Online certificate programs with WTI offer you the flexibility to complete your coursework whenever you have access to the internet. This flexibility to complete your classes on your own schedule and within the comfort of your own home provides you with the independence to live your life, spend time with family and friends, and continue working while you move toward graduation.

Most of our classes are completely self-paced, too. This means that you can work for long stretches getting a lot of work done at once or pace yourself with a little work each day. Whether you complete your work in the wee hours of the morning, during your midday lunch break, or after the kids have gone to bed for the night, your schedule is completely up to you! You don’t have to totally rearrange your life to graduate. 


Washington Technical Institute’s fully online certificates can be completed in a matter of months, with daily or bi-weekly start dates. Such flexible start dates makes this program unique and much more accessible for our students. An additional benefit of WTI’s programs is that we offer affordable pricing and monthly payments to help our students leave school without debt. 

Although our goal is to help our students graduate their programs with little to no debt, we also recognize that some students might need to utilize a loan for their educational investment. We are excited to announce our partnerships with Climb Credit or Ascent, student lending companies focused on financing career-building programs. 

If you’re ready to enroll and start your training to enter or improve your role in IT, you can register for your program online through our website. Still have questions about our programs? Feel free to call us at 800-371-5581 or text us at 952-465-3702. Our admissions specialists will be happy answer whatever questions you have.

Enroll Today and Advance your Career - Text/SMS Questions to 952-465-3702

Get More Information


Washington Technical Institute is Regionally accredited by the Middle States Association CESS, and licensed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as an institution of higher learning