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 Focused Learning

UMD Continuing Education Certificate Programs

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Visit UMD's Continuing Education website at

If you are looking to increase your knowledge in a specific area, without committing to a full program, UMD’s Continuing Education certificate programs are an excellent way to achieve your goals. For those facing the tight job market or wanting to bring new skills to their current job, Suzan Gonia, program associate for UMD’s CE, points out that certificate programs are a great way for people to “add to their credentials.” Certificate programs are offered in a variety of areas.

The newest UMD certificate program is in American Sign Language (ASL). This six-course series is designed for people who interact with children or adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. The program can be completed on a part-time basis in two to three years. At the end of the program, participants will be proficient in ASL at a high intermediate rate. This is the first certificate program in American Sign Language to be offered in the region.

A certificate offered in Educational Computing and Technology is geared towards educators. In this program, teachers receive hands-on training in computers and related technologies including digital video cameras and web cams. They learn how to utilize computer technology in their classrooms to enhance lessons and presentations.

Another very popular program is the Environmental Education certificate. It is primarily designed for teachers and interpretive naturalists, but is open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree who is interested in pursuing a career as an environmental educator. One of the exciting features of this program is that Wolf Ridge participants actually teach children (K-12) and adults at the Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota at the same time that they are taking certificate courses.

While most certificate programs involve classroom time, a certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders is offered online. “This has been a popular program with special education teachers throughout the state,” Gonia said. Since it is available online, Gonia expects it to grow in popularity nationwide.

CE also offers certificates in General Business Administration; Human Services; and Liberal Arts, and additional certificate programs are being developed. One possible program would be in Geographic Information Science exploring concepts of place and space and how people interact with their environment. Another certificate program in the development phase is in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders. Like the Autism Spectrum Disorders program, it would most likely be offered online and thus easily accessible to anyone across the country.

“Certificate programs are becoming more and more popular,” Gonia said. Information about UMD’s certificate programs is available on the Continuing Education website at Gonia encourages anyone who has questions about a certificate program to contact her at 218-726-8149 or at

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, kmcquill@d.umn.ed

UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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