> ... Articles > Tips

4 Common Misconceptions About Choosing a Certificate

Learn what these four misconceptions can teach about employers, certificates, and your future

Joseph Smith loved learning. He taught, “Knowledge does away with darkness, [anxiety], and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is.” 1
“Gaining Knowledge of Eternal Truths,” in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2011), 266
Knowledge has the power to bring light and truth to our lives. With many online certificates and degrees from BYU-Idaho and Ensign College to choose from, deciding which area you want to specialize in is no small feat.

As you choose, a good first step is to learn more about what a certificate is and what it is not. There are five common thinking errors students fall into when they are choosing a certificate that can deter them from making a wise choice. Learn what they are and how to overcome them.

woman typing on computer
There are many certificates to choose from to help you reach your goal.

1. “I must find the perfect certificate.”

Falling into the trap of wanting something to be perfect can immobilize you from making decisions because you fear you will make the wrong choice. Yes, you want to feel confident about your choice, but don’t let fear keep you from choosing a certificate. There are many certificates you can choose from that will help you reach your goals. A certificate will help you learn many skills that can be applied to different careers. Look at the outcomes and skills you could gain from each one. Find which skills interest you and will help you in your current situation.

2. “Employers won’t recognize the value of my certificate.”

Jobs aren’t only obtained by showing employers that you have a certificate or degree. Certificates don’t always tie directly into a specific job offering. Rather, employers are more interested in the skills and experience you gained from your certificate to enrich their company. One way to show your skills is to highlight them on your resume. If you’re not sure which skills would be valuable to an employer, consider conducting an informational interview .

3. “I will finish my introductory certificate when I complete PathwayConnect.”

man studying with headphones on
Finish your certificate through BYU-Idaho.

At the end of PathwayConnect, you will receive a completion certificate. A completion certificate signifies that you completed PC 101, 102, and 103. This is different from an introductory certificate , which students begin alongside PC 103 and have the option to complete through an online degree program from BYU-Idaho or Ensign College. A certificate generally takes five courses to complete.

4. “I can’t change my certificate choice after I start PC 103.”

There are many certificates to choose from to help you learn new skills and continue your academic journey. However, experience is often the best way to determine if your certificate choice is a good fit or not. If you decide you want to change your certificate after finishing the first course, you can! You do not have to keep your first certificate choice after continuing to an online degree program, and that course will still count as elective credit — so no effort is lost! If you would like to change certificates, please contact BYU-Pathway Support .