Short-Term Certificates May Offer Alternative to Graduate School

By Kelsey Sheehy for U.S. News

March 18, 2015

A graduate degree is a great way for students to add to their skills and advance in, or even change, their career – but it’s not the only way.

Professional certifications and short-term certificate programs, like those offered at community colleges, allow students to add specific skills and specializations to their resume for a fraction of the time and tuition required for grad school.

“Certifications, as you progress in your career, are all about making you more employable,” says Tom Darling, national director of workforce education at Pearson, an education services company.

This is especially true in fields such as information technology, which is increasingly certification-driven, he says.

“There are literally hundreds of certifications you can get, whether it is networking, security, maintenance, programming,” says Darling. “Employers want someone with those skill sets.”

Aviation and electronics are two other fields where adding a certificate can give employees a boost, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

There’s a premium on certificates in these fields because employers tend to first look for work experience in job seekers.

“The further you get from graduation from college, more and more the college degree is a check box,” he says. “‘Do you have a degree? Yes.’ The box is checked. They’re going to increasingly look at your experience.”

Certificates and industry certifications also show employers that a candidate is continuously improving their skills, says Maureen Crawford Hentz, director of talent management for A.W. Chesterton Co., a global manufacturing corporation headquartered in Massachusetts.

“I love to see achievement of certificates and industry certifications,” Hentz says. “As a recruiter, these are things I know to look for.”

Graduate degrees are still “very valuable,” she stresses, noting that they show a candidate has in-depth knowledge in a particular area.

While doctors and lawyers have a clear path that requires graduate school, the path for others is less clear – and can get even muddier when students want to switch careers entirely.

“If students with a degree in political science or chemical engineering decide that they want to move to a career in business and become a financial analyst, they’ll be better served by going to graduate school and doing an MBA,” says Elaine Vincent, an admissions coach at My College Planning Team, which counsels students on finding a college and funding their education. Vincent previously served as a college and graduate student adviser and admissions and enrollment professional at several colleges and universities.

“Take those same political science or chemical engineering graduates and imagine that they would like to move to careers in renewable energy or as game designers. A 12-month certificate would be the best choice,” Vincent says.

When the path isn’t so clear, prospective students should start with their end goal in mind, says Eric Flottmann, chief operating officer of Higher Ed Growth, a marketing agency that helps community colleges and universities recruit students.

“In my mind, the most important question is ‘What career do you want to end up in?’” he says. “Then figure out the best tactical way to achieve that.”

Don’t try to figure it out on your own, though, says Darling, from Pearson. Instead, network with people who have the job you aspire to hold in the next five to 10 years, he says.

Even better: talk to someone who hires for the job your hope to have.

“Those who hire in that field will be able to give you good guidance of what is preferred and what actually gets someone hired,” he says.

Prospective students considering a certificate program should also research whether that program meets the requirements of their employer, says Eric Allen, president of Admit.me, an online community for college applicants, and founder of the admissions counseling firm Admit Advantage.

Allen also advises students to look at total return on investment, rather than just cost.

“Cost is only one side of the equation, so the candidate needs to determine what the potential return is on the time and money invested,” he says, adding that this will help them determine whether a certificate program or graduate degree is the best move.

If students choose the certificate route, there’s nothing stopping them from pursuing a graduate degree down the road, or vice versa, says Hentz, with A.W. Chesterton Co.

“I’ll take a great MSME-PE all day long,” she says, referring to a candidate with a master’s in mechanical engineering and a professional engineer industry certification.

“From an employer’s perspective – this one at least – graduate degrees and certificates are apples and oranges. But what I really love to see is a nice fruit salad.”

Trying to fund your education? Get tips, news and more in the U.S. News Paying for Community College center.

 

Article Link: http://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/articles/2015/03/18/short-term-certificates-may-offer-alternative-to-graduate-school?page=2

LeadsCon 2015 Recap

Every year, LeadsCon brings people and companies together to attend the premier lead generation conference. Hosted in Las Vegas with more than 3,000 attendees, LeadsCon provides unlimited opportunities to network and connect with the best in the industry, and Higher Ed Growth (HEG) was among them.

HEG had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring the event, and its team members were active throughout the conference that represents the future of lead generation. As the show came to an end, HEG was excited to return and share the latest in trends and discussions that were highlighted throughout the conference.

The industry continues to focus on the latest within accountability, compliance and technology, but the future is in consolidating partnerships based on common goals. The team at Higher Ed Growth enjoyed an overall informative and productive show, and is looking forward to next year’s conference.

Strategic Partnerships

In the past, relationships between clients and vendors were focused solely on buying and selling leads. This has shifted in recent years as companies, lead generators and service providers work closer together. These connections are creating strategic partnerships built on trust, transparency and shared goals. Finding a balanced, open partnership can increasingly improve your company’s overall performance.

Eric Flottmann, our CFO appreciated the collaborations he experienced while attending the conference: “I am excited to see this trend continue, because it elevates the work we do as a company and as an industry. One thing I noticed is a new spirit of cooperation among the various organizations that operate in lead generation in general and in higher education specifically.”

Quality & Compliance

Within the lead generation industry, compliance will continue to be a priority. In response to increased standards, companies have shifted to focus more on quality over quantity. To succeed today, vendors must work smarter and more efficiently. In 2014 for example, fewer prospects were generated overall but at a higher average price point and with better conversions.

Meghan Prudencio, director of media, explains, “Lead generation companies care more than ever about providing quality inquiries to their clients. They are eager to learn what methods convert, what data sources perform and what traits valuable prospects share.” The companies that are pushing for more data and optimizing accordingly are seeing improvements in revenue, conversions and reputation.

Technology

Technological advances are constant in the lead generation industry as companies adapt the way they reach and communicate with prospects. This continuous improvement is vital to remaining competitive. At LeadsCon, there was an increased focus on discovering the best-in-class technologies that companies had to offer.

Kolin Porter, director of product innovation said, “Schools, aggregators and vendors were all searching for technology solutions in order to improve the quality of their products and services.” During LeadsCon, Porter shared HEG’s new proprietary products that their clients and partners will be able to leverage in order to facilitate a more efficient and compliant inquiry generation process.

The industry continues to focus on the latest within accountability, compliance and technology, but the future is in consolidating partnerships based on common goals. The team at HEG enjoyed an overall informative and productive show and is looking forward to next year’s conference.

 

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/leadscon-2015-recap/

Upcoming 2015 Events for Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth is excited to partake in a number of conferences and exhibitions this year. Check out the event details below:

Sun Devil Select Class of 2015
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ
March 20, 2015

Leadscon East
The New York Hilton
New York, NY
August 25-26, 2015

Ad Tech West
Moscone Center West
San Fransisco, CA
May 20-21, 2015

APSCU Annual Convention & Exposition
The Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO
June 2-4, 2015

Call Center Week
Mirage Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
June 15-19, 2015

Affiliate Summit East
New York Marriott Marquis
New York, NY
August 2-4, 2015

BMO Capital EDU Conference
Interactive Insight Summit
San Fransisco, CA
September 2015

Higher Ed Growth Video

What HEG is Looking Forward to at LeadsCon

The Higher Ed Growth (HEG) team is heading to Las Vegas next week for the 2015 LeadsCon Conference and Expo, and we’re excited to announce we’ll be a show sponsor. Our team members will be at booth #1001 and we were asked to share what we’re most looking forward to at this year’s conference. Take a look at what some of the team had to say:

“Despite having an increasingly connected society, nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting with a client. LeadsCon provides a great venue for catching up with customers and industry thought leaders.” – Frank Healy, president & chief executive officer

“LeadsCon is a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues from our industry in person and to establish new strategic partnerships. I look forward to learning about the state of the industry, best practices and new technologies that we can leverage in our organization.” – Eric Flottmann, chief operating officer

“I am most looking forward to seeing the faces of the great people I work with everyday via phone and email. Getting to meet and socialize with these people makes everyone feel real.” – Sarah French, client services manager

“With so much disruption in the higher education ecosystem, I am eager to collaborate with clients and strategic partners about the new opportunities that will develop in 2015”. – Ryan Evans, director of client services

“This event brings together companies that represent all areas of education. It’s the perfect opportunity to share ideas, connect with current partners and establish new relationships, all in an environment that is buzzing with energy!” – Joe Laskowski, chief marketing officer

“I am excited to meet with current and future partners to discuss opportunities for growth, as well as share insights on the industry as a whole.” – Meghan Prudencio, director of media

“I am eager to introduce several of our technological solutions we have recently launched to our partners and clients that will create a more compliant and efficient inquiry generation process.” –Kolin Porter, director of product innovation
As you can see, we’re all looking forward to the great connections that happen during LeadsCon. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/heg-looking-forward-leadscon/

Higher Education Enrollments Show Increase In Medical Assisting Certificates

Tempe, Ariz. (PRWEB) February 23, 2015

Certificate programs continue to be a popular choice among students pursuing higher education opportunities, according to an annual report by Higher Ed Growth (HEG), a leader in post-secondary education and generating enrollment leads.
The annual Enrollment Pursuit Report, issued by HEG’s data of more than 3,000 schools, shows medical assisting is the No. 1 choice in certificate-based enrollments. Management/business administration, health care administration, legal studies and medical billing round out the top five list, showing a large interest among today’s students in niche educational opportunities.

“Our data shows that students see a large demand in the marketplace for a very specialized focus,” said Eric Flottmann, chief operating officer for HEG. “Specialized certificates like medical assisting prove to be popular among nontraditional students, and they tend to see the opportunity for a significant salary in these fields upon completion.”

Among the other findings in the Enrollment Pursuit Report include:

  • HVAC has surged over the last 18 months, and experts believe this program will continue to grow. Dental programs are also experiencing a boom in 2014.
  • Economics programs have fallen from being in the top five degrees to not even making the top 10.
  • Assisted living programs increased to a top 15 program in 2014.
  • Electrical programs surged in late 2014, and mechanical engineering and welding programs also received a boost during this time period as well. This could be an early indicator that these programs will continue to grow

Each year, HEG examines data from the previous year to understand trends and emerging degrees and certificates across the nation. Last year’s Enrollment Pursuit Report showed health care and medical enrollments grew more than 15 percent while business degree enrollments decreased approximately 10 percent. Vocational program enrollments, like automotive and massage therapy, were also on a steady increase.

For more information about the HEG 2015 Educational Pursuit Report, visit http://www.higheredgrowth.com.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG uses propriety technology to deliver targeted enrollment leads to for-profit and nonprofit education clients. In addition to lead generation, HEG offers nurture marketing, creative services, enrollment consulting, search engine optimization and in-house printing services – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients.

Article Link: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12534229.htm

5 Questions Clients are Asking in 2015

The lead generation industry has changed over the past decade, and clients have growing concerns as a result. Companies should take note of recent trends in the industry to predict client apprehensions and learn how to address them. Below are questions we are hearing from our clients this year, along with some helpful tips on how to ensure you can respond to these with confidence.

Are you able to support LeadiD or scoring models like Ebureau?
If your company doesn’t already have technology in place to accommodate scoring and audit systems, start finding a solution now. This question has been among the most common from our clients this year and will increase as new scoring services come to the market. Ensure your client that these services are easily implemented in your inquiry generation process.

Can you support a custom TCPA consent on web and call verified leads?
Be committed to understanding the ever-changing marketplace to ensure you provide the most compliant solutions. Your web forms and call centers should be easily adaptable to client needs, including TCPA verbiage. Let your clients know that you fully understand the importance of delivering 100 percent TCPA-compliant leads.

Can you allocate, target and pace my traffic at a granular level?
Have technology in place to allocate based on programs, campuses and media type. Being detail-oriented in every step is the most important and effective metric to follow to increase quality and reduce return rates. Confirm that you can customize all client descriptions and information as needed to make sure that the client’s product or service is represented properly.

Where are my leads coming from?
Be transparent with your lead generation process. You should be more than ready to provide information about where leads came from – whether short forms, landing pages or call recordings. Make 100 percent of call recordings available for your clients, so they can audit for compliance as needed. Leverage the right web analytics technology to ensure all lead data is captured and tracked through the lifecycle. Provide URLs or screen-shots of web forms; utilize solutions such as LeadiD to provide an extra level of compliance.

Why aren’t my leads converting?
If you are having trouble converting your leads, try reevaluating your process. Has the client been sending conversion data on a consistent basis? If not, ask them to start. Without conversion data, you will have no idea how you’re stacking up to expectations or how to make adjustments. After receiving conversion data, analyze sources and determine whom the top media performers and underperformers are. Put together an optimization plan that gives real numbers and information to the client, to show that you care about the quality of your leads as much as they do. Act on your plan, and continue to evaluate and optimize your process frequently.

Higher Ed Growth is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. Higher Ed Growth has a long history of understanding and evolving to provide compliant solutions. Visit www.higheredgrowth.com to learn more about our services and how quality prospects lead to successful students.

 

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/5-questions-clients-asking-2015/

Expanding Client Relationships Beyond Leads

Here’s the scenario: your company has been working with a client for years, providing quality leads and producing amazing results. The relationship is rock solid, and you see the opportunity to expand your service offerings to drive additional results. How do you ask the question?

For Higher Ed Growth, we have had great success expanding client relationship beyond lead generation and management – some clients have even starting using our team as its agency of record.

Do Your Research

In the inquiry generation industry, the first step to expand products and services is to conduct marketing analysis. This includes finding out what markets already exist, what they need and seek, what products they currently offer and what can be developed and improved. Figure out what the problem is, find a solution and utilize company strengths to execute it. Companies have an innovative technological platform have the upper hand because it gives the opportunity to revolutionize lead management.

Be Detail Oriented

When creating and expanding solutions, ensure there is a detail-oriented precision in every step taken. Put in the extra effort to make sure that the solution is effective, compliant and easy to use. The big picture is made up of small details, and that attention to detail will be what really amazes clients. Use research to understand the client’s process and tailor the solution to not only fit current clients, but to also predict future client needs as well.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Stay in constant communication with the team on the development of the solution, and involve people from all parts of the company, which can gain insight into problems and improvements. Ask questions to understand what is working and learn about opportunities to improve. This two-way dialogue will also encourage clients to report back, allowing you to adjust the campaign as you go.

Being an exemplary partner means going beyond performing with excellence. Creating innovative ways to strengthen a client’s marketing efforts and improving inquiry quality is key. Take the time to broaden the relationship with the client into a trusted and respected partnership by having open discussions about their needs, and over time, strong products and innovative services can improve the client’s business processes to reach their goals.

The bottom line is that it is vital to not only maintain relationships with clients, but to also build them into successful partnerships. Companies that strive to improve the effectiveness of its services, including creative services, accountability, compliance and detailed data, often have the best marketing strategies and approaches – and reap the benefits of retaining long-term, satisfied clients.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/expanding-client-relationships-beyond-leads/

Industry Trends Forecast for 2015

With 2015 just around the corner, organizations are starting to look into upcoming trends and insights that they can expect in the new year. Lead generators have begun developing new and innovative lead generation strategies, and some topics from 2014 are still trending hot.

So what can we anticipate for 2015? Below are Higher Ed Growth’s predictions for the coming year:

Redefining and Investing in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing will join forces with digital selling in a very meaningful way. We will see a more conscious effort to bring back the basics within digital marketing and selling. This change will come from reevaluations of the target audience to determine what is and isn’t working – making sure that both the service and the message is relevant to the customer. Many companies are also reprioritizing allocation and investments to improve on content distribution, with a focus on personalized, rich media that engages the audience.

Mobile-Friendly Forms and Sites

As the number of people using their mobile phones to research and purchase continues to increase, mobile-friendly and responsive websites and forms will continue to be vital. Users want devices to match their contextual environment, so expect to see a demand for highly customized experiences that give the user exactly what they want when they want it. Today, mobile device users expect a high performing, mobile friendly website. Not only does your site need to display and function properly, it also needs to have a layout presented in an eye-catching and attractive format.

Consumer Retention

It’s no secret that big data is changing the way marketers learn and measure success in the consumer lifecycle. This year saw the start of a push to focus on retention as the main success event. Companies will approach customer retention as a priority to ensure they are meeting the needs of consumers and keeping those customers satisfied. As a result, retention will start to become a metric of success for lead generators, instead of the traditional focus on acquisition.

From technology trends to changes in business processes, there is much to consider as we enter the new year. These trends will be a topic of conversation among all industries and companies.

As lead generators, be sure to evaluate and consider trends in your specific industry to prepare for changes in 2015, and use the year as an opportunity to test new ideas and make improvements within your organization. We look forward to another year of great strides and advancements.

LeadsCon Article link: http://www.leadscon.com/industry-trends-forecast-2015/

Industry Trend Recap for 2014

The higher education sector had multiple trends arise in 2014. TCPA regulations, compliance, transparency, online education and technology were hot topics throughout the year that made significant impressions on the marketplace.

TCPA

In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission ruled to issue new rules and regulations within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The new changes, effective October 2013, required companies to obtain prior express written consent before making autodialed telemarketing calls or sending text messages for marketing purposes. This new ruling presented some obstacles for companies within the higher education industry, as the lead generation process had to be revised from top to bottom. Some corporations saw fallout over the past year from an inability to comply with the new regulations, but many companies saw the changes as an opportunity to improve current business practices and increase transparency in the industry.

Transparency

In periods of new legislation, such as the TCPA revisions, transparency becomes a central part of daily conversations. While many viewed transparency as another buzzword, we know that it can be improved upon by providing accurate information to consumers, clients and partners. When everyone is transparent, problems are solved faster, campaigns are easier to manage and higher performance levels emerge. In the higher education industry specifically, schools and inquiry generation partners need to work together to ensure that potential students are fully aware of the process of finding and enrolling in a school.

Compliance

Regulations have increased over the past year, and the higher education industry has seen multiple companies face legal consequences as a result of non-compliance. Organizations are learning to adapt and apply new procedures quickly in order to avoid legal action and maintain trusting business relationships. Compliance also goes beyond cooperating with the law – it includes being proactive and staying aware of the constantly changing regulations. Compliance will continue to be a concern and priority for the industry.

Online Education & Technology

Although online education is not a new industry topic, it has remained a topic trend throughout 2014. Online education, along with its technical advances, has been recognized for its continued growth and improvement over the past years. It has completely transformed how students learn and interact, and the emergence of MOOCs (massive open online courses) has altered how students think about higher education. More and more schools are rebuilding their websites and creating apps in order to make technology student friendly. As education and technology continue to merge together, there will continue to be advances in the academic sphere.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/industry-trend-recap-2014/

Short-Term Certificates May Offer Alternative to Graduate School

By Kelsey Sheehy for U.S. News March 18, 2015 A graduate degree is a great way for students to add to their skills and advance in, or even change, their career – but it’s not the only way. Professional certifications and short-term certificate programs, like those offered at community colleges, allow students to add specific […]

LeadsCon 2015 Recap

Every year, LeadsCon brings people and companies together to attend the premier lead generation conference. Hosted in Las Vegas with more than 3,000 attendees, LeadsCon provides unlimited opportunities to network and connect with the best in the industry, and Higher Ed Growth (HEG) was among them. HEG had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring the […]

Upcoming 2015 Events for Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth is excited to partake in a number of conferences and exhibitions this year. Check out the event details below: Sun Devil Select Class of 2015 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ March 20, 2015 Leadscon East The New York Hilton New York, NY August 25-26, 2015 Ad Tech West Moscone Center West San […]