10 Social Media Certifications and Classes to Advance Your Career

While some social media masters may have learned their trade on the streets, formal training and education is a safer bet for the rest of us. To help you stay on course, here are some of the top certification programs and classes to advance your career in social media today.

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While some of the mavens, superstars and self-described ninjas of social media may have taught themselves everything they know, formal training and education is a necessity for almost everyone else. The best programs and certificates in social media are constantly building and revising curriculum based on trends in the industry and job openings that indicate where opportunities are growing. Whether you're pursuing social media training on an individual or company-wide basis, there's a wide variety of single courses and detailed certification programs to meet your every need. These are some of the top certification programs and classes to advance your career in social media today.

Hootsuite University
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Hootsuite University

Since 2011 more than 60,000 people have enrolled in on-demand training, educational classes and social media certification programs run by Hootsuite University. The social media training, courseware and lecture series is included for all Hootsuite Enterprise clients or available for $21 per month. Featured courses include "Introduction to Social Networks" and "Storytelling on Tumblr." Professionals who are either just getting started in social media or seeking to expand their knowledge take on-demand courses and exams, view more than 200 instructional videos or attain new skills through a series of webinars featuring best practices and tips from brands, platforms and educators. More than 11,000 students have earned their Hootsuite Certification to date.

Newhouse Hootsuite Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate
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Newhouse Hootsuite Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate

For marketing or communications managers with three to five years of experience in social media, Hootsuite and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications offer an advanced social media strategy certificate. The program, which costs $2,200, includes 15 modules that cover the entire social media ecosystem. Students will explore the social media landscape at a strategic level and understand the role of social media in their organization. The professional certification from an accredited university has been earned by digital marketers and social media specialists at Coors Light, KPMG Canada, Sony Pictures, the U.S. Small Business Administration and others.

Hootsuite Corporate Certification and Custom Education Programs
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Hootsuite Corporate Certification and Custom Education Programs

Hootsuite rounds out its individual offerings in social media training with custom, tailored education programs for business looking to scale social media efforts across their organization. Hootsuite's corporate certification programs can include lessons off the shelf from Hootsuite's library of educational content or focus on customized lessons developed by experts based on your company's top objectives. The customized offering for enterprise is intended to empower employees to become brand advocates while mitigating social media risks. The global publishing company Wiley recently trained 250 employees through the program, ensuring that its workforce now understands the fundamentals of social media and advanced marketing.

Mediabistro Social Media Strategy Boot Camp
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Mediabistro Social Media Strategy Boot Camp

Mediabistro's introductory course to social media strategy includes a week of webcasts and an additional four weeks of classroom workshopping and interaction. All access registration for the social media strategy boot camp costs $449 and culminates with students creating a social media strategy presentation that will receive personalized feedback from social media consultants. Attendees will learn how to integrate social media into their overall marketing efforts and develop a plan to manage content across multiple platforms. Interested parties can also enroll for a day pass or week pass at a lower fee.

Mediabistro Social Media Marketing Master Class
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Mediabistro Social Media Marketing Master Class

Mediabistro also offers a more intensive class that will help students refine their social media marketing efforts, measure success and plan ahead for new campaigns with the support of a social media expert. The $445 class, which is limited to 12 people, is entirely workshop-based enabling students to evaluate their recent efforts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and other platforms. Before the class concludes students should have a comprehensive social media strategy including a competitive analysis and action plan for future success in hand.

Mediabistro Social Media Certificate Program
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Mediabistro Social Media Certificate Program

Mediabistro's social media certificate program includes everything from soup to nuts for $1,650. The program has four required courses, including Mediabistro's aforementioned master class and boot camp, and students get to choose two electives ranging from digital project management and social media metrics to Tumblr or Instagram marketing. Students learns about measurement tools, techniques for driving engagement and how to develop and execute a social media strategy for personal or professional use. About 100 people have earned the certificate since Mediabistro began the program in 2012.

Market Motive Social Media Certification Course
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Market Motive Social Media Certification Course

Market Motive's social media certification course is a detailed program consisting of 12 educational sections comprised of multiple modules with streaming video lessons, workbooks with recommended exercises, quizzes and a final test to earn your certification. Training modules include intro to social media, viral marketing, microblogging and Twitter, social media measurement and more. Market Motives offers a flexible cost structure, ranging from $299 per month for access to its complete course catalog to 90-day coached courses that are offered once every quarter for $3,500.

Rutgers Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing
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Rutgers Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing

Rutgers' business school offers a nine-module certificate program in social media marketing taught by industry experts for $4,995. The Mini-MBA certificate focuses on the design, management and tracking of social media campaigns. Enrollees will learn about the levers that influence the effectiveness of social media and gain practical skills through in-class exercise and hands-on projects. All participants are supplied with an Apple iPad that includes a proprietary mobile application Rutgers uses to deliver the course content.

UC Irvine Social Media Program
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UC Irvine Social Media Program

The extended education department at the University of California, Irvine, offers a specialized studies award in social media. To receive the award in social media, students must complete a minimum of 9 units (90 hours) of core courses within a five-year period. Attendees can choose from 10 approved courses, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 units at an average cost of $625 each. Throughout the program, students will learn how to design and implement a social media strategy and how to integrate social media tools into marketing and other strategic business initiatives.

UCLA Marketing Certificate: Social Media & Web Analytics
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UCLA Marketing Certificate: Social Media & Web Analytics

A marketing certificate with concentration in social media and Web analytics from the University of California, Los Angeles, won't come cheap at a total estimated cost of $6,025. A full-time commitment to UCLA's program will last 3 quarters, consisting of 7 required courses (20 units total) and 12 units in electives courses. UCLA Extension also allows students who have been awarded a marketing certificate within the past five years to take additional courses to receive this added designation.