A short-term program can be a good way to boost your skills or to stay up to date with the latest advancements in your field. Minnesotans can choose from a wide variety of online options for short-term college programs, including programs offered by state colleges and universities, technical and community colleges, or fully online schools. Some programs are designed for working professionals; others are geared to those looking to enter a field of work for the first time.

Universities with Short-Term Programs

The University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education offers a number of short-term programs online. Some programs are term-based, meaning they have a specific start date, and other programs are self-paced. In 2013, the school was offering nearly 150 courses in popular areas such as business, marketing, management, psychology and philosophy. A number of language courses, including French, Spanish and Swedish, are also offered online. Programs are appropriate for those looking to advance select skills or to complete a degree program. Credits from all of the online courses can be applied toward a short-term certificate program or toward a degree.

Online-Only Colleges

Though their courses are available anywhere, several online colleges make their home in Minnesota, including Capella University and Walden University. These programs are often suited for working professionals interested in advancing their skills. Capella University, for example, focuses on advanced programs for practicing professionals. The university offers a number of short-term certificate programs at the post-baccalaureate level. Programs are offered in areas such as business, technology, counseling, education, health care and public service. Walden University also offers a number of post-baccalaureate certificate programs in areas such as information technology, nursing and health sciences. In addition, Walden offers short-term endorsement programs for educators. Programs require an average of 16 credit hours to complete.

Community Colleges

Minnesota State Community and Technical College offers a wide range of programs online including many short-term certificate programs. Some programs, such as the Fire Department Company Officer and Health Information Technology Specialist programs, are designed for professionals already in the field. Other programs, including Web development, help students entering the field for the first time. In addition, programs such as Cisco Networking prepare students for certification in a specific skill.

Other Technical Colleges

Technical colleges, such as Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount and Southeast Technical in Red Wing and Winona, are great resources for short-term online programs. These colleges offer certificate programs in a number of fields, preparing students for new careers. Dakota offers a wide selection of short-term programs ranging from 17 to 28 credit hours. The school offers online programs in human resource development, meeting and event management, quality improvement and social media. Southeast Technical offers certificate programs in administrative support, early childhood development, legal assisting and medical support. Program lengths range from nine to 29 credit hours.

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