The workforce is rapidly evolving, with microcredentials emerging as a powerful tool to provide industry professionals with the knowledge and competencies for high-demand jobs. In the present, microcredentials are expanding across BC and Canada. And in the future, you can expect them to be a common and flexible pathway for recent graduates and industry professionals at all stages of their careers.
Why? Because microcredentials are reinventing how you can upskill or reskill to stay ahead of the curve in the workplace. Rather than being confined to a full-time or part-time program that may take months or years to complete, microcredentials are abridged offerings that let you add recognizable digital badges to your resumé and LinkedIn profile as soon as you complete the program.
Certificates, diplomas, and degrees remain as relevant as ever, but microcredentials have proven to be a great new addition—enabling new graduates, professionals, and job seekers to get the in-demand skills they need to find gainful employment in today’s digital and sustainable economy.
What are microcredentials?
By definition, microcredentials meet three criteria:
- They’re short: By providing high-quality, just-in-time programming, microcredentials enable you to hone the skills needed in today’s job market at an accelerated pace.
- They’re modular: You can customize your education by taking microcredentials on a one-off basis or bundling them together. BCIT microcredentials are for-credit and ladder towards a degree or diploma program.
- They’re relevant: Within a matter of weeks, you can add a digital badge to your resumé or LinkedIn profile to show organizations that you have relevant, of the moment, and specialized skills ’re ready to work.
There’s already plenty of precedent for the success of microcredential programs. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario reports that 60% of employers have more confidence in a prospective employee who’s obtained one or more of these highly specialized, highly applicable competencies.
How are microcredentials offered at BCIT?
Much like all the other courses and programs at BCIT, microcredentials are designed with industry input, and led by instructors who are also real-world professionals—and because class sizes tend to be smaller, there are lots of opportunities for one-on-one learning. These programs are also streamlined, building expertise in a single area over a handful of sessions and ending with an assessment that awards you with credit.
In 2021, BCIT launched three microcredentials programs:
- Digital Transformation acquaints students with key business technologies.
- Essentials of Natural Resource and Environmental Protection (MENREP) helps students in the natural resources sector navigate the impacts of climate change.
- Introductory Studies in Mass Timber Construction teaches a specific mode of modelling and building.
Now, 10 new microcredentials at BCIT have received the provincial government’s stamp of approval:
- Advanced Forensic Nurse Examiner provides medical practitioners with the legal know-how to be consulted for expert testimony in court cases.
- Applied Circular Economy: Zero Waste Buildings equips you with a unique understanding of how to eliminate carbon emissions from construction.
- Breast Sonography is a great way for certified registered general sonographers to support and specialize in women’s health.
- Communication for Team-based Collaboration positions you to champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace through collaborative group work.
- Cybersecurity Analysis for Network Administrators lets you take your IT skills to the next level by spotting, analyzing, and stopping security threats.
- Developing Preventive Controls and HACCP Plans prepares you for broader health-based, strategic decision making in the food processing industry.
- Essential Field Skills for Environmental Professionals helps anyone working in the wilderness learn identification, sampling, and safety techniques.
- Intro to Forest Health Quantification Using RPAS trains you as a drone operator so you can assess ecological health by collecting data in the sky.
- Musculoskeletal Sonography offers an opportunity to learn a specific type of imaging—and take your learnings to the workplace.
- Supervising Net-Zero and Passive House Buildings Construction differentiates you in the construction space as the world strives for energy efficiency.
Who are microcredentials for?
The people who benefit most from microcredentials are those who want to enhance their education and professional experience in a way that’s affordable, flexible, and quickly shareable. That could be anybody—from students and recent post-secondary graduates who are eager to join the workforce, to current employees who want to future-proof their careers, to job seekers who want to upskill or reskill in order to embark on a new career path.
But microcredentials aren’t limited to those groups. You can’t go wrong with a digital badge that shows organizations you have unique knowledge, competency, and understanding in a certain area. And because most microcredentials are modular, any credits you acquire can ladder up to a larger certificate, degree, or diploma if that’s the direction you choose to go.
Making the most of microcredentials
The world is changing rapidly as organizations adopt new technologies and adapt to new environmental risks—and that means the Canadian economy and job market are changing too. Microcredentials give you the ability and the agility to stay current.
It’s estimated that 80% of all job openings in BC will require some post-secondary education over the next decade. If you’re looking for robust, competitive credits from a reputable institution, but aren’t sure about investing substantial time and money on a full-time or part-time program, microcredentials might be your best—and next—move.