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Getting Started with a Noncredit Certificate Program

Noncredit professional development certificate programs are designed for students seeking to elevate their career and pursue new opportunities. An FIT/SUNY certificate is an excellent addition to a resume, setting you apart from other candidates. Upon successful completion of all required courses, students will receive an official FIT certificate and may request a formal transcript from the college. 

How to Enter a Noncredit Certificate Program

Entering a noncredit certificate program at FIT is a three-step process:

1. Register for Classes

In order to enter a noncredit certificate program, students must register, attend, and complete the first course in their chosen program.  There is no application or admissions process for the noncredit classes, so students need only follow the link to our website to register. You can register for as many classes as you like, just be advised that courses with pre-requisites must be completed in order. 

2. File Your Affidavit

Once you have completed your first course with a passing grade then you can file an affidavit, which is an official certificate declaration form. This document states your commitment to completing the entire program and entitles you to an official student ID card with the college and access to the library. If you submit this form without completing and passing a course in your chosen program, your affidavit will be denied as you are not eligible. Students are permitted a maximum of 24 months to complete all requirements for their noncredit certificate. 

3. Submit Your Audit Form

When you have completed all of your courses, you must submit an audit form either electronically or in the office at 236 West 27th storefront. If you do not submit an audit you will not receive a certificate- please don’t forget this final step! This form notifies us of your completion and we will verify passing grades on your transcript in order to issue a formal certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions about Noncredit Certificate Programs

How do I start a certificate program?
Just follow the steps above.  There is no application process and no portfolio required for noncredit certificate programs. Note that you must complete 1 course in the program with a passing grade before you will be permitted to file an affidavit and officially declare your certificate.

Do I need previous experience?
Our programs are open to adults 18 years of age and up and prior experience is not required for most of our programs. We highly recommend that students interested in any of the Product Development certificates have industry experience: knowledge of construction techniques and sewing is crucial as the courses involve a high level of technical information. For students without this experience we recommend contacting the office to discuss preparatory course options.

Do I need to apply to FIT to pursue a noncredit certificate?
No, our programs are open to the general public. You are welcome to contact the office for any specific questions or concerns. Also consider attending one of our Advisement & Registration Sessions to learn more about program options.

What is the difference between credit and noncredit?
Credit and noncredit courses differ in terms of length, cost, and subject matter.

Credit classes are a full 15 week semester long course. These classes receive college credit that may be applied towards a degree or credit certificate. The credits can also potentially be transferred to another institution. Credit courses receive letter grades: A, B, C, etc. Certain credit classes at the college may be taken as a nondegree student.

The noncredit programs are unique offerings that focus on a specific area or skill set not traditionally offered in a formal degree program. These are short intensive programs, typically between 1-8 sessions per course, and are graded on a pass/fail basis. These classes do not carry college credits, meaning they cannot be transferred to another college or counted towards a degree program at FIT. Noncredit classes may be applied to one of our many noncredit certificates, but only if the course is part of the curriculum for a given program.

When are courses offered?
You can view current and upcoming courses offerings on our site.  Courses are typically offered on evenings and weekends or online. Note that in the summer term and on occasion classes will be offered during the daytime hours. Our courses are designed for working professionals in mind, so we make every effort to accommodate scheduling conflicts or issues. Not every course is offered every semester and some final capstone classes run only once or twice a year.

Is financial aid available?
No, the federal government requires that a student be in their first degree granting program to receive financial aid, and a certificate is not considered a degree program. Noncredit courses are not eligible for any type of financial aid and payment is due in full at the time of registration.

How long does it take to complete a certificate program?
This depends on several factors, including the rate at which you take the classes and when they are offered as well as the particular program of choice. Most certificates of completion are designed to be taken in a fairly sequential manner, so the average student can expect a minimum of 6-12 months. Some of the certificates of achievement or special programs can be completed in as little as 2-3 months. The maximum time permitted to complete any certificate is 24 months. Note that some programs have courses with prerequisites, which require the student to complete courses in a specific order. 

Should I do a degree program or a certificate program?
A non-credit certificate is not a substitute for a degree program, it is an additional credential that demonstrates expertise in a given field.  However, some students may do a certificate program instead of a degree, depending on their personal goals and interests.

How much will it cost?
Take a look at the website for your certificate program of choice to determine how many classes you will need to take. Because non-credit classes vary in length and content, you will notice that cost per class varies as well. Cost per class can be found on our registration website. Noncredit courses are the same price regardless of residency.

Can I get a student visa by doing a noncredit certificate program?  Do I need a visa? What type?
At FIT students in B-1/B-2 (tourist/visitor) status may only register for the noncredit Hot Topics courses and seminars, as long as the classes begin and end within the period of stay authorized by the immigration service. These courses do not carry college credits and are only graded on a pass/fail basis.

FIT is only able to assist a student in obtaining a visa if they apply and are accepted to a full-time degree program.  Noncredit certificate programs are not degree programs and also are not a course of full-time study, so students in this program are not eligible for a student visa or an I-20.

Read more about International Students and visas.

What if I only take a few noncredit classes at FIT? Can I still get a certificate or can I design my own course of study?For students who take individual classes outside a certificate program we are happy to issue a letter of completion. This is an official FIT document that verifies that a student has completed coursework in the noncredit programs. Please note that in order to be eligible for a letter of completion all courses must be completed with a passing grade. You can request a letter of completion here. Students are also welcome to request a formal transcript from the Registrar’s office.

Students cannot design their own certificate programs and FIT will not issue any type of certificate until all program requirements have been met.

 **Note that students must complete all assignments and attend all sessions of a course in order to receive a passing grade. All noncredit courses are graded on a pass/fail basis and only courses completed with a passing grade can be counted towards completion of a chosen program.