US colleges offer credit for Google's online IT support certificate
Source: AFP/Josh Edelson

More than 25 community colleges and Northeastern University are now offering credit for people who complete Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate.

Google officials said colleges can tweak the certificate’s content easily to create a customised certificate or stackable pathway towards a degree, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Senior product manager for Grow With Google, Natalie Van Kleef Conley, said: “We built the curriculum to be modularized.”

“It’s very flexible for them to use it as they see fit.”

Source: AFP/Getty Images North America/Justin Sullivan

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate spans five-courses and includes a curriculum that prepares participants for an entry-level role in IT support, such as in-person or remote help desk work in a small business or a global company like Google.

Most IT support roles require prior experience, but not a college degree. Having trouble finding qualified candidates for IT support positions, Google designed this online programme to produce a group of learners with the training and experience needed to solve this problem.

It’s part of Grow with Google – an initiative produced by the tech giant to create economic opportunities for Americans – and targeted at those new to the field or with a little experience.

A mix of medium – video lectures, quizzes, hand-on labs and widgets – introduces course-takers to troubleshooting and customer service, networking, operating systems, system administration and security. More than 40,000 learners have enrolled in the programme since its launch January this year, with 1,200 completing.

At Northeastern University – the first institution in the country to incorporate this certificate in their course offerings – completion of the certificate earns 12 credits toward a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology. The university said this lessens the time taken to complete the degree and students stand to save more than US$6,000 in tuition.

“The Google IT Support Professional Certificate provides a low-risk, low-cost way for people to gain the skills they need to get a well-paying entry-level job in the IT support field, where there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs nationwide,” said Kemi Jona, Associate Dean for Digital Innovation and Enterprise Learning at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies.

“By recognizing the Google certificate for credit towards our Bachelor of Science in information technology degree, we help people get the degree they need to move beyond that entry-level job and advance their IT career into more senior, higher-paying positions.”

There are around 150,000 IT support-related open positions in the US, data from Burning Glass Technologies, which analyses labour trends, shows. Government data portrays an average starting salary of US$52,000.

Learners who complete the certificate can share their résumé directly with employers who have cosigned the Google certificate and are looking to hire IT support talent such as Cognizant, Bank of America, GE Digital, Hulu, Infosys, Intel, Kforce, MCPc, PNC Bank, RICOH USA, Sprint, TEKSystems, UPMC, Veterans United Home Loans, and 10 members of the Walmart family: Sam’s Club,, Jet, Allswell, Bonobos, Hayneedle, Modcloth, Moosejaw, Store No. 8, Vudu and, of course, Google.

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