Common Searches

Frequently Asked Questions

For Existing Students Prior to May 1

Welcome back to the Skills Lab (formerly the Computer Education and Training Center, or CETC)! For 41 years, we have provided our learners with best-in-class, relevant professional development and training in coding and computer skills, wherever they are. Our mission remains the same, and our new model will help more learners like you quickly attain the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their career and learning goals.

What Changed?

Over the last several decades, the Skills Lab has offered Chancellor’s Certificates – prestigious credentials that signal to you and employers that you have done significant learning in a particular field related to computer technology. The Chancellor’s Certificates, on average, require about nine workshops to complete. While any of our Chancellor’s Certificates can be completed in three months or less, most learners take about two years to complete them.

You may have heard of “stackable” certificates. “Stackable” certificates are those that, in combination, lead to a bigger credential. Think of them as puzzle pieces, or steps along a pyramid. We will continue to offer our Chancellor’s Certificates. Each of our new, smaller certificates “stack” into at least one Chancellor’s Certificate. Completing individual “stackable” certificates allows you to gain credentials sooner as you continue your journey to a Chancellor’s Certificate. 

What is the difference between a stackable certificate and the Chancellor’s Certificate? 

  • Stackable certificates can be completed in 3 or 4 days, while Chancellor’s Certificates take 9-11 days to complete.
  • Stackable certificates are digital: they include badges that can be added to your email signature, resume, and LinkedIn profile. Chancellor’s Certificates also include badges, but also include a printed certificate from UMSL signed by the Chancellor.
  • Stackable certificates can be applied to multiple Chancellor’s Certificates. For example, SQL I: Fundamental Database Querying folds into both the Data Analysis and Database Technology Chancellor’s Certificates.
  • Stackable certificates reflect the attainment of skills with one software or programming language. Chancellor’s Certificates signal significant expertise in a particular subject matter area, inclusive of more advanced skills in that area and across multiple programs and/or languages.
  • Stackable certificates are pre-determined course plans, and Chancellor’s Certificates allow for more elective credit. However, all Chancellor’s Certificates can be earned by completing a series of predetermined stackable certificates.

I’m currently enrolled in a Chancellor’s Certificate. Did my plan of study just change?

No – Anyone currently enrolled in a Chancellor’s Certificate can continue their course of study and complete their certificate as outlined in your student account. The requirements have not changed. 

What is a badge?

A badge is an illustrated credential that links back to UMSL and showcases that you have earned a particular certificate. The badge is tied to our information systems, so it verifies that you have in fact completed the program of study. Your badge will show employers and colleagues the skills you have attained during your learning and professional development here at the UMSL Skills Lab. The information lends itself well to your resume, so feel free to borrow our language for that purpose!

I think I completed the requirements for one or more of the stackable certificates. I’d like to have a badge issued – is this possible?

If you completed the requirements for the certificate between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024, yes, we can issue the badge. The skills attached to the badge are only current as of our most recent curriculum revisions. Technology changes fast! You can also take the final course or courses to complete the badge now. Which brings us to our next point:

I’m interested in a certificate that includes a note about an Industry Exam. What is this?

Industry exams are skills-based assessments from providers other than UMSL. They have industry-wide recognition as indicators that you have obtained pertinent skills. Industry exams can be proctored by UMSL’s Testing Center, but they are not UMSL exams – we do not write them. However, we teach to those exams and regularly review our curriculum to be sure that we cover the skills assessed. Successfully passing an industry exam results in yet another certificate earned, this time from the body that created the exam.

Where indicated, our stackable certificate aligns particularly well with an available industry-based exam. We can help you with paying for and scheduling an industry-based exam, as well as provide test space at the UMSL Testing Center.

If you have completed the courses already but feel a bit rusty on a particular skill assessed in the industry exam, please reach out to us and we would be glad to meet with you.

What future changes can I expect from the Skills Lab?

We are looking to expand our portfolio of offerings beyond Computer Technology. We also have significant demand for new courses that build upon skills attained, so our current projects include cloud computing, mastery of formulas and functions of Excel, and a portfolio-based capstone course in Power BI. Stay tuned!