New! Professional Development Certificates

“Extended and professional education is needed more than ever as we evolve into the ‘new normal’. I can think of no better investment than UPCEA to ensure staff and leaders within my organization are ready, willing, and able to serve those that look to us and those that need us the most.”

-Jenni Murphy, Ed.D., M.B.A., SPHR
Dean, College of Continuing Education
Sacramento State

The field of Professional, Continuing, and Online Education (PCO) has truly come of age in the 21st century – and our importance and sophistication continues to expand exponentially as our members play an increasingly critical role in the success and survival of their institutions. This reality has prompted UPCEA to elevate the profession itself with the most significant initiative ever undertaken by the association: the creation of industry standards for what it means to be a professional in the PCO field, with certificate programs designed around those standards.


Get the essential skills and knowledge you need with UPCEA’s new online Professional Development programs! Taught by leading experts in the field of professional, continuing, and online education, these programs offer high-value content for practitioners at all levels. Study and learn from the location of your choice—all you need is internet access. The online courses in UPCEA's Learning Center cover a wide variety of topics and skillsets, and afford you the opportunity to network with your peers.

There has never been a more opportune time to reskill and learn more about today’s dynamic world of higher education. Visit the Learning Center to:

The PCO Professional Development Programs At a Glance

UPCEA’s PCO Professional Development programs encompass three distinct certificates: PCO Foundations Certificate, PCO Professional Certificate, and PCO Leader Certificate—as well as stand-alone courses on special, timely topics. Each certificate requires the successful completion of five courses designed and facilitated by leading faculty and professionals in PCO education. Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate from UPCEA substantiating demonstrated proficiency in a specific set of competencies articulated in our certificates.

Designed for All 

Courses are designed to offer high-value content for learners at various professional levels. Current PCO professionals, individuals pursuing careers in academic administration, and seasoned leaders will all find value, purpose, and new insights through our carefully constructed curricula. We know you have many demands on your time; the work of each course is designed to take approximately five hours per week. 


Built by Experts

UPCEA is proud to have partnered with highly respected leaders in the field to develop and implement the PCO Professional Development programs. Using the perspective of practical application, the Founding Faculty helped determine the competencies and skills to cover within the PCO Professional Development programs.

Founding Faculty Strip

"Already signed up! This is going to be indispensable, not only for what my Global Campus team will learn, but for morale. We will be working harder (and differently) than ever before. Helping my team (and my campus) adjust is much easier when providing support and skill-building like this."

Steve VandenAvond, Ph.D.
Vice President for Extended Learning and Community Engagement
Northern Michigan University

Designed for individuals pursuing a career in academic administration in PCO, this foundational certificate provides an opportunity for participants to appreciate the context and breadth of institutions beyond their personal and professional experience.

The Foundations Certificate is meant for new higher education professionals (less than two years of experience); higher education professionals new to a PCO unit; and more experienced higher education professionals (2-5 years of experience) from other institutional areas (like advising, financial aid, and academic departments) whose work intersects with PCO operations.

  • PCO 101: The Nature of American Higher Education*
  • PCO 102: The Language and Culture of Higher Learning*
  • PCO 103: Orientation to Professional, Continuing, and Online Education (PCO)**
  • PCO 104: Understanding the Adult Learner and Other PCO Constituencies in Professional, Continuing, and Online Education***
  • PCO 105: Program Planning and Oversight in Professional, Continuing, and Online Education***

UPCEA member rate: $459 per course 

*Course begins Summer 2020

**Course begins Fall 2020

***Course begins Winter 2021

Ideal for individuals who are current practitioners within the online, continuing, and professional education landscape, the PCO Professional Certificate allows participants to further explore and refine their capabilities. This certificate path explores academic strategies, financial management, leadership, innovation, and how to define and capitalize on market needs.

The Professional Certificate is meant for mid-level higher education professionals (2-5 years of experience) working in or with PCO units; PCO professionals in operational roles possessing an interest in expanding knowledge and skills in strategic planning, budgeting, and marketing; and experienced higher education professionals from other institutional areas tapped to fill roles in PCO operations. 

  • PCO 201: Academic Strategic Planning in a Constantly Changing Environment*
  • PCO 202: Forecasting, Budgeting, and Managing Money in an Environment of Uncertainty and Risk*
  • PCO 203: Creating and Motivating PCO Enterprises**
  • PCO 204: The Entrepreneurial Imperative***
  • PCO 205: Markets, Marketing, and Managing the Cycle from Prospects to Learners***

UPCEA member rate: $459 per course

*Course begins Summer 2020

**Course begins Fall 2020

***Course begins Winter 2021

Explore leadership within higher education at a new level by focusing on how to responsibly manage people, data, and ideas with the PCO Leader Certificate. Participants will learn how PCO leaders identify and explore opportunities in the context of, and through collaboration with, other professionals throughout their institutions.

The Leader Certificate is meant for current PCO professionals with extensive (8+ years) and increasingly responsible experience in the field seeking senior leadership roles (e.g. Dean of PCO, Vice Provost, Vice President), and current PCO leaders with an interest in peer-to-peer learning with fellow leaders.  

  • PCO 301: Leading with Diplomacy, Data, and Drive: the Unique Imperative of the Professional, Continuing, and Online Leader ***
  • PCO 302: The Role of Educator: Expanding Academic Horizons ***
  • PCO 303: The Role of  Ambassador:  Connecting Academic and Real Worlds by Engaging Those in Business, Community, and Government ^
  • PCO 304: The Role of Innovator: Managing An Adaptive, Agile Organization ^
  • PCO 305: The Responsible Professional: Managing Through Transparency, Integrity, Quality, and Accountability ^

UPCEA member rate: $459 per course 

***Course begins Winter 2021

^Course begins Spring 2021

The Special Topics courses feature deep dives into timely topics of interest to the field and are often shorter than those in the certificate programs. 

UPCEA member rate: $169 per course 

For questions about a specific certificate program or general information, please contact or (202) 659-3130. We’re here for support as you elevate your career!