Professional Certificate Transition FAQ

As of March 2021, NTEN is changing the Professional Certificates model as part of efforts to continuously improve program offerings for participants. The following is an explanation of the key changes.

If you have additional questions or would like to speak to a member of the Program team to get more information, please reach out to us at, and we will be happy to get you the information you need.

1.Why The Change in Program Model #

Since starting the Professional Certificate program in 2016, NTEN made numerous changes to our systems, program flow, and overall processes. Each iteration a small shift, largely based on participant feedback, to make improvements within the existing model.

After nearly five years of offering the program within the existing model, flexibility is a critical factor for participants. With this as a central focus of the overall program design, we wanted to create significant changes for participants in the following areas in particular.

  • Provide participants increased control over the topics they engage with to complete a Professional Certificate
  • Improve participants opportunity to complete elements on their schedule

2.The New Model & Certificate Requirements #

To earn either of the professional certificates, participants need to complete courses from various categories to meet the following criteria. Participants are free to choose the courses in each category that are most relevant to their interest areas.

Nonprofit Technology Professional Certificate Requirements

  • 2 IT Courses
  • 2 Leadership Courses
  • 2 Program Courses
  • 2 Communications Courses
  • 5 Additional Courses (any category qualifies)
  • 1 Final Assignment

Digital Equity Professional Certificate Requirements

  • 6 Digital Inclusion Courses
  • 2 Leadership Courses
  • 5 Additional Courses (any category qualifies)
  • 1 Final Assignment

Review the full Course Catalogue here


A key part of the new model is that participants no longer need to wait for a 10-Week core event that only happens every six months. Participants can start completing requirements at any time and register for courses at their own pace.

Previously Purchased 10-Week Core

For those who registered for the upcoming 10-Week Core events, we have already converted those registrations over to prepaid credits. Everything is in place for you to begin working in the new model immediately and use those credits towards courses immediately.

  • Full Prepaid Registration = 13 Prepaid Credits
  • Core Only Registration = 8 Prepaid Credits

Questions or Concerns

This transition to a new model aims to create programming that better meets the needs of participants and offers greater flexibility. However, we fully understand that it is a significant shift and may differ in various ways from the previous model that participants have already registered for.

If you have previously registered for a 10-Week core and have any questions or concerns about the new model, please reach out directly to Ash Shepherd, NTEN’s Chief Program Officer (, who will work with you directly to resolve any issues.

3.10-Week Core - No Longer Required #

As part of the full shift to a self-direct model, there is no longer a 10-week core requirement to NTEN’s Professional Certificates. Participants pick which courses they want to take to meet the requirements.

However, all courses that were part of 10-Week Cores are now available as stand-alone courses. So participants interested in those courses can still engage with those topics.

4.Learning Dashboard Updates #

The Learning Dashboard will continue to be your go-to resource for keeping track of your overall progress towards your professional certificate. With our new model come a whole new setup, updates, and improvements there as well.

We are currently finishing up the final development and testing of the improved Learning Dashboard, and it will launch within the next few weeks. However, you can get started taking courses at any time, and progress will seamlessly transition into the new dashboard. 

So don’t wait; head on over to the course catalog and start registering for courses today.

5.Prepaid Option & Using Prepaid Credits #

Previously Purchased Prepaid Option

Participants who previously purchased the prepaid option and did not participate in a 10-week core will have the additional prepaid credits added to their account to ensure they have enough on their account to complete the requirements for a certificate.

Using Prepaid Credits

Using prepaid credits is the same process as previously. There are no extra steps required. The system should recognize you have credits on an account when registering and update the fee to $0.00.

A way to keep track of how many prepaid credits remain on an account will be coming in updates to the learning Dashboard.

Purchasing Additional Credits

The new model will also allow ways for purchase additional prepaid credits in varying amounts. So as to offer those with some existing credits ways to find additional savings without needing to purchase a full prepaid option.

6.Final Assignment #

The 10-week Core included a week focused on a final assignment. This element will continue to be a part of the requirements. This will be a self-paced course that becomes available for participants to enroll in once they have completed the other requirements of their professional certificate.

This course will also be matched with a quarterly opportunity for professional certificate earners to share with the larger NTEN community and recognition for completing the program.

7.Accessing Additional Suport #

If you need additional support or would like to schedule a call to discuss the new professional certificate model, please reach out directly to Ash Shepherd, NTEN’s Chief Program Officer (

For general questions, please reach out to the program team at

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