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Is a Micro-Credential Worth It?

By Charlene Lattea, WVU Online | Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Have you heard about micro-credentials?

These mini degrees are becoming the latest hot trend in both colleges and in the workforce today.

Micro-credentials are professional certifications that you can complete in a short period of time to improve your knowledge and skills in a specific area.

As employers search for employees with the up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to fill crucial roles in businesses and organizations, micro-credentials are helping to fill the gap. They are short-term, flexible, inexpensive, and customizable for individual needs.

According to Forbes magazine, a survey of employers reported that 95% think it’s a good thing if their employees are earning micro-credentials.

In this article, we will help you understand micro-credentials, how they are used, and how they can benefit your career.

What Exactly is a Micro-Credential?

Micro-credentials are fast, accessible, reputable, and can help you learn new skills on your own time while continuing your career or other commitments.

They are usually offered on demand and help you demonstrate your knowledge and capability of a specific subject and build a professional portfolio that is unique to you.

They are a good opportunity for students, and also for professionals who need to upgrade their skills.

Micro-credentials are much smaller than a degree and even smaller than a minor or a certificate. They take less time to complete and focus on a particular skill.

They are also less expensive than a degree or a certificate.

Reputable online sources offer micro-credentials in subject areas such as: business management; computer programming; design; sustainable tourism; computer networks; mental health; educational leadership; digital photography; project management; and sustainability, just to name a few.

How do Micro-Credentials Work?

Micro-credentials are usually offered online, but they can also be in-person or a combination of both. The courses may last a few days or weeks and may be narrow or broad in focus, depending on the program.

They are mainly offered by universities, and other educational institutions, but professional organizations, or industries also offer them to help their employees gain specific skills.

It is important to know that micro-credentials are not a replacement for a university degree. They are used to supplement knowledge and skills you have already gained and add to them.

When you complete a micro-credential, you receive a digital certification, often in the form of a “badge” that you can attach to your resume or include in your portfolio when you apply for a job.

Each badge is embedded with data that verifies your skills and achievements and how you earned them.

These could be specific skills such as using Excel or Google Analytics, or more general skills such as business management.

You can also "stack" micro-credentials to cover a particular topic in more detail. By stacking them, you can combine them in a variety of different ways to create your personal portfolio.

Badges and other digital credentials are meant to be digitally shared and displayed on social media sites such as LinkedIn. You can add them to your profile or embed them in your email signature.

Do Employers Value Micro-Credentials?

Although micro-credentials are a newer style of learning, many employers today recognize them as a valuable tool.

Some career fields use them more than others. For example, they are widely accepted in business, marketing and finance as well as other areas where things change quickly, and employees need to learn new skills constantly.

Some employers are using through partnerships with credentialing organizations to help employees learn new skills.

How Micro-Credentials Help Employers:

  • Micro-credentials help establish a culture of continuous learning and are an effective way to train and recognize current employees, as well as attract new employees.
  • Staff feel more engaged with the organization and that their development is important. They can share their credentials to social media to increase visibility of the award.
  • Micro-credentials can be important to recruiting new workers and they help employers make decisions in hiring by identifying and validating the applicant’s skills.
  • Most organizations have critical skills and competencies they need in their workforce. Micro-credentials can help them fill any skills gaps and track how needs are being fulfilled. The learning programs an be highly individualized for unique skills.
  • Digital certifications demonstrate that employees have the motivation and initiative to learn new skills and that they want to advance professionally. They help workers increase their employability or win a promotion.

What are the Benefits of Micro-Credentials?

Non-traditional education has become popular over the past few years because students need the flexibility of gaining new credentials through many different kinds of learning programs.

That is why micro-credentials are gaining credibility with both employers and employees across the globe. These are some of the main reasons they are so beneficial:


Students can study a variety of different subjects on their own time, either online or in-person, and micro-credentials can be stacked to create an individual portfolio.

Time Efficient

Because micro-credentials are not full-length courses, they take less time. They can be completed in weeks, instead of the years it takes to earn a traditional degree.

Boost Engagement

They help keep students engaged and motivated to work on a degree because they can use it on the job right away, and also have a credential to show for their work immediately.

Cost Effective

Micro-credentials cost much less than other degree programs because they are shorter in length and are usually offered online. They are also more cost-effective for a company to implement than traditional employee training programs.


Employees can choose from a wide variety of subjects to improve their knowledge and skills. Employers can also choose to give each of their employees an individualized program according to skills needed.


Micro-credentials offer an on-demand learning experience that is more convenient for people who are on a schedule. Students can also take "bite-size" programs on an incremental basis instead of committing to one large program.

Why You Should Invest in Micro-Credentials

As today’s work world becomes more competitive, the demand for new and more specialized skills is increasing.

Micro-credentials can improve your employability by helping you gain knowledge and expand your skills more quickly.

They are accessible to busy lifestyles shorter, more efficient, and more manageable than a traditional degree.

"Micro-credentials are an excellent way to learn more about a specific subject in an abbreviated amount of time outside a degree program," says WVU Online graduate Angie Berna Milliren.

"For prospective employees, completing a micro-credential can provide an advantage by offering the most current knowledge in a burgeoning subject."

"From a managerial standpoint, micro-credentialing offers targeted professional development crucial for both the employee's and the company's enhanced performance. Both the individual and the company stand to benefit from being at the forefront of their industry."

Is WVU Online Your Next Step?

While online learning does have its challenges, remember that WVU Online provides the support you need to overcome them and to succeed.

It is now time to do further research and evaluate whether online learning aligns with your personal learning style and life situation.

WVU Online is an ideal starting point in your search for the right school. Our degrees are perfect for working professionals or others who want the convenience and flexibility of online learning from a nationally recognized university.

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After reading this article, if you are unsure about your goals, or how to identify your interests and skills, be sure to reach out to one of our WVU Online admissions coaches. They are trained to help you look at your individual situation and make the right choice for your future.

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