A digital communications certificate is a great way to give yourself the credentials you need to advance your career. Individuals who have spent years working in the field of digital communication can benefit from enrolling in an online certification program. With their years of experience, a certificate will validate the knowledge they have already gained as well as provide them with all of the latest advancements they may have missed out on. It is a great stepping stone if they are considering enrolling in a degree program at a later date.
Earning a digital communications certificate online makes it easy to get the education they need while staying on the job. Certificate programs can take a few weeks or a few months to complete, depending on the type of information you expect to receive. Individuals who are interested in learning more can usually find a short certification program that will provide them with the basics. Individuals who want to stay up to date and expand on what they already know may consider taking a certificate program that has a little more depth to it.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Digital Communications Certificate Programs
To rank the best digital communications certificate programs, the editors at Bachelor’s Degree Center focused on trusted, accredited institutions. Programs are ranked by factors such as tuition cost, salary potential, and reputation, using data from Niche and IPEDS.
1. University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley’s Advanced Media Institute within the Graduate Journalism School offers a Digital Media Skills Certificate that is campus-based. Students enrolled in UC Berkeley’s digital communications certificate online program will need nine weeks to complete the certification. Students meet twice a week and first focus on storytelling from both audio visual aspects. Later in the digital communications certificate program, students focus on audience engagement building using digital content and data visualizations. Certificate candidates must also publish to a portfolio a capstone project including photos, video, a podcast, and a data visualization chart.
The Berkeley campus @ the University of California was founded as California’s first land-grant school in the late 1860s. It was founded in Oakland before moving to its current location.
What We Like: The school’s endowment exceeds $5 billion with a student population that excessed 43,050 students.
Program: Digital Media Skills Certificate
2. University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Digital Studies Certificate that allows students to explore the meaningful relationship between digital media and communication. This digital communications certificate online program from the University of Wisconsin requires sixteen certificate credits, of which nine credits must be completed in residence at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This digital communications certificate program also requires that students complete the certificate concurrently with their baccalaureate degree. Core classes include media fluency for the digital age, digital communication, and the Information Society, among others.
The Madison, Wisconsin campus of the University of Wisconsin was established under the Morrill Act in the mid-1840s. As a sea-grant school, the University of Wisconsin serves approximately 44,250 students from its lakeside campus or online.
What We Like: The University of Wisconsin – Madison, also maintains a 1,200 acre arboretum located near the campus.
Program: Digital Studies Certificate
3. Michigan State University
The Communication Arts/Sciences College at Michigan State University offers a graduate Digital Media Certificate that requires candidates to hold a baccalaureate degree. This digital communications certificate online program from Michigan State requires students to complete nine graduate credits. Classes for Michigan State University’s digital communications certificate program include branding/image communication, digital media strategies, and digital content creation, curation, and promotion. Graduates will apply theoretical techniques using the latest in art technology and communication.
Established in the mid-1850s as a land-grant school, Michigan State University is now a comprehensive university with a student enrollment of approximately 49,650 students. Additionally, Michigan State University is a space-grant and sea-grant school and one of the largest of public schools in the nation.
What We Like: Michigan State University served as the model school for other land-grant universities established under the Morrill Act.
Program: Digital Media Certificate
4. Villanova University
Villanova University offers a campus-based Wireless and Digital Communications Certificate program that explores both the practical and theoretical concepts of wireless & digital communication media. This fifteen-credit unit digital communications certificate online program includes two core classes, plus three electives from a choice of six course options. Electives available in Villanova University’s digital communications certificate program info theory & coding dig com, array proc. Wireless communication and detection/estimation, to name a few. Core classes include state signal processing and communication systems engineering.
Established as a private Catholic higher learning institution, Villanova University is now a space-grant with a student enrollment of approximately 10,650 students.
What We Like: The school is situated on more than 200 acres on what was once an arboretum – about a dozen miles from downtown Philadelphia. Villanova’s campus is home to approximately 1,500 trees.
Program: Wireless and Digital Communications Certificate
5. University at Buffalo
The University at Buffalo offers a Professional Writing and Digital Communications certificate program that requires the completion of four classes or twelve graduate credits. The exact study path for students enrolled in the University of Buffalo’s digital communications certificate online program will depend upon the student’s electives, which include classes in the areas of education, digital humanities, literacy, or rhetorical theory, among others. Core classes include professional writing, digital communication, and technical communication.
Founded by Millard Fillmore as a medical school in the mid-1840s, the University at Buffalo is a member school of the State University of New York with a student enrollment that is approximately 32,150 students vying for an academic degree offered by the university’s thirteen colleges/schools.
What We Like: The University at Buffalo is home to New York’s largest state-run medical, dental, business, engineering, and education school.
Program: Professional Writing and Digital Communication
6. Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers two of Arizona’s best digital communications certificate online programs with its Technical Communication Certificate program or its Digital Audience Strategy Certificate program. The digital communications certificate that focuses on audience strategy requires the completion of 15 certificate credits over five classes. Arizona State University’s technical communications certificate requires students to complete 18 credits over six total classes. Classes for this technical communications certificate include principles of visual communication, the principles of technical editing, and the principles of web authoring, to name a few. Classes for the digital audience certificate include SEO for digital audiences and social media campaigns, to name a few.
Founded before Arizona was a state, Arizona State University (Arizona State) was established in the mid-1880s but now operates as one of the largest public schools in the nation.
What We Like: Arizona State University was originally founded as a teacher’s training school, where President Teddy Roosevelt once spoke.
Program: Technical Communication Certificate or Digital Audience Strategy Certificate
7. Texas Tech University
The Media & Communication College at Texas Tech University offers a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Digital & Social Media that is considered among the Lone Star State’s best digital communications certificate online programs. Students enrolled in Texas Tech University’s digital communications certificate program are required to complete twelve graduate hours to earn the credential. Students must complete one core class in strategic communication planning and writing, plus three electives. Available electives include multimedia storytelling, special topics in strategic communication, and digital media content, among others.
Founded in the 1920s as a technological college, Texas Tech University is the primary campus of the TT university system. The school’s urban campus in Lubbock is home to approximately 40,150 students vying for the more than 140 academic degrees offered by TTU.
What We Like: Texas Tech University is an official designated Hispanic serving higher learning institution.
Program: Graduate Certificate: Advanced Digital & Social Media
8. University of Pittsburgh
The General Studies College at the University of Pittsburgh offers a Digital Media Certificate that can be completed with another degree or as a standalone digital communications certificate online program. Students enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh’s digital communications certificate program must complete 18 semester credits, of which nine credits are core classes, and the rest are selected electives. Core classes include visual literacy, visual literacy, media criticism, and the mass communication process.
Founded as an academic academy in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh now operates as a public higher learning university organized into seventeen colleges/schools. The school is home to approximately 38,150 students studying online or on the school’s urban campus.
What We Like: The University of Pittsburgh holds the distinction of being the second largest (non-governmental) employer in the greater Pittsburgh metro area.
Program: Digital Media Certificate
9. Florida International University
Florida International University offers a Certificate in Digital Communication and Media that is among the Sunshine State’s best digital communications certificate online programs. FIU’s digital communications certificate program requires certificate candidates to complete fifteen semester credits. This program includes five required classes like social media and globalization, digital theories, and audience and public opinion, to name a few. Florida International University’s digital communication certificate allows students to explore the fundamentals of design combined with modern media options.
Founded in the mid-1960s as a research school, Florida International University operates now as a comprehensive university and is considered an ‘emerging preeminent’ school in South Florida. FIU’s urban campus is home to approximately 58,550 students.
What We Like: In its first year, more than ¾ of the student enrollment were graduates of a local junior college.
Program: Certificate in Digital Communication and Media
10. California State University, Fullerton
California State University, Fullerton offers a digital communications certificate program that integrates the fundamentals of creative content, digital design, and technology. Cal State Fullerton’s best digital communications certificate online program includes core coursework in visual communications, advanced interactive media design (1 and 2), and communications technology. In addition, students select one elective to complete a total of twelve semester units. Available electives include culture/communication, sociology of communication, anthropology of digital media, adolescents & the media, digital media literacy, and the computer impact, among others.
California State University Fullerton campus was founded in 1959 and is the largest of the 23 member schools of the state’s university system. The student enrollment on California State University’s campus in Fullerton (and online) is approximately 41,150 students.
What We Like: California State University Fullerton is recognized as a Hispanic-serving institution of higher learning.
Program: Digital Communications
11. George Washington University
George Washington University offers a graduate Digital Communications certificate program that prepares students and certificate candidates to enter the workforce with the skills required to manage digital communications platforms. The coursework completed for GWU’s digital communications certificate online program includes four classes of twelve graduate credits – all of which can be applied towards the strategic management graduate degree program offered by George Washington University. Specifically, the classes include maximizing social media, strategic public relations practices, digital communications, and media relations in a digital world. This graduate certificate in digital communications was developed to meet the needs of working professionals in and around the nation’s capital.
Established in the 1820s by a congressional act, George Washington University maintains several campuses in the Washington, DC area. George Washington University‘s s student enrollment is approximately 29,950 students studying for degrees offered by its fourteen schools.
What We Like: GWU holds the distinction of being the largest higher learning school in Washington, DC.
Program: Digital Communications graduate certificate
12. University of North Texas
The Mayborn Journalism School, in conjunction with the Information College at the University of North Texas, offers a Graduate Certificate in Interactive and Virtual Digital Communication that offers students an exploration of the interdisciplinary integration of design, social media, and technology, among others. The University of North Texas’s digital communications certificate online program requires the completion of 18 graduate semester units to earn the credential. Among the required six classes for UNT’s digital communications certificate program are information behavior, new technologies of instruction, and computer graphics for mediated communications, among others.
Established as a public teacher’s training school in the 1890s, the University of North Texas is organized into fourteen colleges/schools that serve approximately 40,550 students. UNT serves as the University of North Texas system’s flagship campuses with multiple campuses.
What We Like: The Denton, Texas area in which the school is located in the most populated area of Texas.
Program: Graduate Certificate in Interactive and Virtual Digital Communication
13. University of Baltimore
The Yale Arts/Sciences College at the University of Baltimore offers a Certificate in Digital Communication online program designed for working professionals that include graphic designers, creative directors, or web programmers, among others. UB’s digital communications certificate program requires students to complete a minimum of twelve graduate semester credits to meet the certificate’s requirements. Coursework covers the topics of digital platform options, social media usage, integrated digital communication strategies, and digital advertising & marketing, among others.
Established in the mid-1920s as a public business school, the University of Baltimore is now a full university with a student population of approximately 2,800 students. UB offers academic degrees in law, business, public affairs, and the arts/sciences.
What We Like: UB was founded by a group of businessmen who understood the future need for business education in the area.
Program: Certificate in Digital Communication
14. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University offers a Rhetoric, Writing and Digital Media Studies Graduate Certificate program that allows three the completion of eighteen semester units. Students graduate from Northern Arizona University’s digital communications certificate online program to find rewarding careers in grant/science writing, teaching at a college or high school level, or digital content writing and marketing, among others. This online digital communications certificate program from Northern Arizona University is also available on the Flagstaff campus. Many students choose to continue doctoral work in a related field or in writing, rhetoric, and communications.
Northern Arizona University was founded in 1899, twelve years before Arizona was adopted as a state. Northern Arizona University was the last land-grant school opened in the Arizona territory but is now home to approximately 29,350 students.
What We Like: Northern Arizona University’s astronomical program is recognized for a number of discoveries in the sky.
Program: Rhetoric, Writing and Digital Media Studies, Graduate Certificate
15. New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University offers a graduate Digital Communications Certificate program that explores the many effective ways to transmit information from one place to another using some form – for example, RF wireless technology of medium. New Mexico State University’s graduate Digital Communications Certificate online program requires students to complete twelve semester units to meet the certificate’s requirements. Required classes for New Mexico State University’s digital communications certificate program include digital communication systems and random signal analysis. Electives include modern coding theory, information theory, and wireless communication, among others.
New Mexico State University was established under the Morrill Land Grant Act in the late 1880s. The school’s urban campus in Las Cruces (and online) is home to approximately 23,850 students.
What We Like: New Mexico State University offers students an impressive 16 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Program: Digital Communications – Graduate Certificate
16. DePaul University
The Communication College at DePaul University offers a Digital Communications Certificate program that requires students to complete a minimum of 24 quarter units to earn the certificate. Students enrolled in DePaul’s Digital Communications Certificate online program complete one class in the introduction to digital communication, plus three technology-related classes a two final classes from the School of Design at DePaul University. Design electives include audio, still-image, design, web or moving-image workshops, or foundations of digital media, with digital design options that include storytelling writing for the web and writing across media, among others.
Founded as a Catholic higher learning institution in the late 1890s, DePaul University is now considered the largest Catholic institution of higher education, with regards to enrollment, in the nation with a student enrollment of approximately 22,350 students.
What We Like: DePaul is primarily a commuter school, with about 90% of the student body that lives off-campus.
Program: Digital Communication Certificate
17. Loyola University Chicago
The Continuing & Professional Studies School at Loyola University Chicago offers a New Media Communication Certificate that is ranked among the best Digital Communications Certificate online programs in the state that can be completed entirely through LU Chicago’s distance learning platform. LUC’s nine-credit Digital Communications Certificate program is typically completed in six to eight months, with the student completing one class each eight-week session for three consecutive terms. Classes for this certificate include digital communication and society, social media, and introduction to communication. Graduates learn the tools and principles of digital communication across media options.
Founded in 1870 as a Jesuit school, Loyola University Chicago is a research institution of higher learning with a student enrollment of approximately 17,050 students.
What We Like: Loyola University Chicago maintains multiple campuses across the greater Chicago metro area, as well as other campuses in other states.
Program: New Media Communication Certificate
Loyola University Chicago New Media Communication Certificate
18. Marshall University
Marshall University offers a graduate Digital Communications Certificate program that has received accreditation from the ACEJMC. Students enrolled in Marshall University’s Digital Communications Certificate online program must complete 15 graduate semester units. Core classes College of Arts & Media includes web design for mass media and online strategies. Optional electives include depth reporting, documentary journalism, and corporate and instructional video, among others.
Marshall University was established in the 1830s in what was Virginia at that time and was named for the 4th US Chief Justice. More than three decades later, fifty counties separated to form West Virginia during the American civil war. Marshall University maintains several campuses in West Virginia with a student enrollment of approximately 13,050 students. Marshall University is organized into twelve undergraduate and graduate colleges/schools.
What We Like: Marshall University was initially founded as a private subscription institution of higher education.
Program: Digital Communications Graduate Certificate
19. Kennesaw State University
The Communication and Media School at Kennesaw State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Digital and Social Media (DSM) that is recognized as one of Georgia’s best Digital Communications Certificate online programs. Kennesaw State’s online graduate Digital Communications Certificate program is nationally ranked and requires the completion of twelve graduate semester units over four classes. The three core courses include digital media law, digital publication design, and social media theory & concepts. Elective options include mobile media technologies, or digital and social media content strategy, to name a few.
Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw State) was founded in 1963 and operates dual campuses in Marietta and Kennesaw. Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a member school of Georgia’s university system and is also a space-grant university. The school’s suburban campus covers more than 500 acres and serves approximately 41,650 students.
What We Like: Kennesaw State University is recognized as one of the Peach State’s largest universities and actually had the largest of all 2020 incoming freshman classes.
Program: Graduate Certificate in Digital and Social Media
20. Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott College offers a campus-based graduate Writing and Digital Communications Certificate program that is considered among the best in Georgia. Students interested in Agnes Scott College’s Digital Communications Certificate online program are seeking careers as a content writer, social media manager, or digital communications manager, among others. Certificate candidates enjoy guest lecturers from some of Atlanta’s diverse digital community of experts, including internship opportunities. Coursework cover the strategy and content of media trends, plus the principles of digital design and writing. Various digital platforms are used in the coursework, including HTML/CSS and podcasts.
Established in the late-1880s as a female seminary, Agnes Scott College (Agnes Scott) is a private, all-women’s school with a student enrollment of approximately 1,050 students.
What We Like: Agnes Scott College is a space grant higher learning institution that is also one of the Seven Sisters of the South.
Program: Writing and Digital Communication Graduate Certificate
21. Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University offers one of North Carolina’s best Digital Communications Certificate online programs with its Digital Marketing Certificate. As an SHRM Recertification Provider, WCU also offers this Digital Communications Certificate program on –campus that includes six class sessions. Coursework covers relevant topics that include social media listening, digital marketing, video content strategy, writing ad copy and effective blogging, and analyzing a digital marketing campaign, to name a few. Western Carolina University’s digital communications certificate offers students 5.5 SHRM PDC credits.
Founded as a semi-private normal and industrial school in 1889, Western Carolina University is now a member school of the state’s university system with a student enrollment of approximately 12,050 students.
What We Like: Western Carolina University’s campus is tucked between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Tuckasegee River valley.
Program: Digital Marketing Certificate
22. Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University offers a Digital Communications Certificate program – including Imaging that hones the artistic and creative skills of professionals and artists. Students enrolled in Humboldt State University’s Digital Communications Certificate online program must complete three courses from five electives that include mastering the digital SLR, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, PremierPro, and InDesign.
Humboldt State University (HSU) was founded as a public teacher’s school in 1913 and named in honor of Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt State University’s campus is known for its stunning views and natural beauty along the coast in Northern California. Humboldt State University is a member school of the state’s university system and the northern-most campus of the state’s system.
What We Like: The campus is located about 300 miles north of San Francisco and about 650 miles north of Los Angeles, California.
Program: Digital Communications and Imaging Certificate
23. Meredith College
Meredith College offers a Digital Communications Certificate program that ranked among North Carolina’s best programs. Students enrolled in M Meredith College’s University’s Digital Communications Certificate online program are required to complete sixteen semester units, which can be done in one semester as a full-time student or two to four semesters studying part-time. Elective classes allow students to customize the program and include social media, web design, writing, photography, and creative/technical schools, among others. Students graduate with a portfolio that showcases their technical and creative abilities required to navigate the complex world of the modern digital environment.
Meredith College operates as an all-women’s Baptist college with a co-ed graduate school. Established in 1891, Meredith College services approximately 1,850 students in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
What We Like: The college is named to honor the founder of the Baptist Recorder, Thomas Meredith.
Program: Digital Communication Certificate
24. Olympic College
Olympic College offers a Digital Communications Certificate of Completion that requires the completion of 42 quarter credits. Classes for Olympic College’s Digital Communications Certificate online program include photojournalism, public speaking, digital cultures, film directing, user interface design, digital filmmaking, and Web 2.0, plus a CIS practicum, among others. Students study the principles of design and communications across a broad spectrum of media device options. Applicants are advised that certain classes for Olympic College’s digital communications certificate require the completion of prerequisite coursework.
Olympic College was established in 1946 as a junior college to serve two nearby counties – Mason and Kitsap. Additionally, the school serves two nearby naval installations. The student enrollment at Olympic College is approximately 12,750 students. Olympic College was a finalist for a prize in community college excellence in 2015.
What We Like: The school bestowed its first honorary degree to Harry Truman in 1948.
Program: Digital Communications Certificates
25. Emerson College
Emerson College offers a Graduate Certificate in Marketing and Digital Communications program that can be completed entirely online. Emerson College’s Digital Communications Certificate online program requires students to complete four classes for a total of sixteen graduate semester units. Classes for this certificate from Emerson College include social and mobile marketing, digital marketing & campaigns, online consumer behavior, and digital storytelling and branding, each for four credits. Each of the classes prepares students for rewarding and successful careers using digital-centric thinking from a marketing perspective.
Charles Wesley founded Emerson College, as an oratory and elocution school, in the 1880s. Emerson College now offers more than 35 degree programs to its nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students both online and from its south Boston Common location.
What We Like: Emerson College is a member school of Boston’s ProArts Consortium and currently the operator of the historic theatres of Cutler Majestic, Paramount, and Colonial.
Program: Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing
Why Should I Get a Certificate in Digital Communication?
Earning your digital communication certificate online is a great way to kickstart your career. Whether you have been employed for several years or are just starting out, it will open the door to more opportunities than you may realize. All it takes is the initiative to enroll in the program and the commitment to see it through. The skills you learn will be invaluable as you continue to move forward and build your career. It will also give you the advantage of other individuals who may be applying for the same job as you are.
A certificate can help you learn some of the same important skills for professional development:
- critical thinking
- effective communication skills
- business communication
- online communication
- contexts for communication
- business communication
Depending on your elective courses, your credit hours could count toward a degree in communication studies as well.
Is Digital Communication a Good Career Path?
Digital communication is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse of all the career fields in the technology spectrum. Everybody is using digital communication in some form, whether they realize it or not. With an online digital communication certificate, you can explore entry-level employment options that will allow you to learn as much as you can while you decide how you want to direct your career. You can explore multiple avenues while you are earning your certificate and virtually build your own personal path from scratch.
As a digital communication professional, you have the ability to choose from a wide range of careers. You can find jobs in media, marketing, or literally any industry that uses digital communication to interact with the public or its peers. You can also choose to work for yourself as an independent contractor. Being self-employed, you are in full control of your career and can choose the jobs you want to take as well as set your own rate for each service that you offer. You can guide your career down any path you choose.
The digital communication path is constantly evolving. Every day, new advancements are being made that will allow you to move ahead in your career. Even if you already have a degree, earning an online certificate in digital communication will keep you up to date on the latest technology and make sure your skills remain as fresh as possible. The more you are able to learn, the better off you will be as technology keeps moving forward. Taking advantage of every opportunity to learn is a must if you want to be successful.
What Kinds of Jobs are in Digital Communication?
In the digital communications field, you have the opportunity to choose from several different career paths. Social media marketing is one of the most lucrative of all the digital communication fields. Designing marketing campaigns for social media accounts is fun and easy to do if you understand a company’s goals and ideals. Whether you work on Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram, or a combination of all the social media platforms, this type of digital communication is one of the fastest-growing within the industry.
The media is another area where digital communication is advancing at a rapid pace. Media is no longer limited to news or entertainment outlets. Now media professionals also deal with websites, digital images, and video. Video chatting and video phone calls are also gaining in popularity. Being able to use these forms of digital media is beneficial no matter what type of industry you work in. With an online digital communication certificate, you can take advantage of every opportunity.
An online digital communication certificate gives you everything you need to begin to explore this diverse field. If you are already a seasoned professional, you will learn the latest skills and techniques available. A certificate can open many doors for you. Choosing to pursue that option will give you a chance to learn what type of jobs are becoming available in your area and which ones you may want to take a chance on.