10 social media certifications for marketing pros

Social media skills don't always come easy, and specialized social training can mean the difference between ascending the corporate hierarchy and being left behind. These social media certification programs and online classes are all available today, and some cost as little as $129.

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Top social media certifications in 2016

Social media savvy is now one of the most sought-after skills among certain types of employers. With demand for such skills both academic and other organizations have developed and enhanced specialized training and certification programs to help professionals boost their social know-how. The following 10 certification classes and programs are available from accredited universities and online learning institutions and range in price from $129 to more than $6,000.

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UCI: Social Media Specialized Studies Award

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) offers a Social Media Specialized Studies Award through its extended learning program. Students must successfully complete courses totaling at least nine units (or 90 hours of instruction) within five years of enrollment. Courses range from 1.5 to 2.5 units each, and topics include and "Social Media Measurement and Evaluation," "Developing a Social Media Strategy" and "Transmedia Marketing Through Storytelling." The program costs a minimum of $2,590.

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Hootsuite and Newhouse: Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification

Hootsuite and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications offer an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification program that costs $2,200. The curriculum typically takes three months to complete and includes 15 courses that cover the social media landscape at strategic and procedural levels. Program graduates went on to become professional marketers and social media specialists at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, Safeway, Sony Pictures and other notable companies.

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Georgetown University: Social Media Management Certification

Georgetown University's school of continuing studies offers a program for Social Media Management that costs $4,165. Students must have bachelor's degrees (or equivalent) and at least one year of professional work experience in communications, marketing or media prior to enrollment. The requisite seven courses can all be completed on Georgetown's campus or via the university's online course management platform.

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Pepperdine University: Social Media Professional Certification

Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management offers a program for Social Media Professional Certification that is only available online. The program, which costs $1,999, is designed to demonstrate and teach the many potential business uses of social media communications in a practical way. The certification is comprised of two courses, "Understanding Social Media" and "Planning and Implementing Digital Media Campaigns," both take six weeks to complete.

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UCLA: Marketing Certificate with Concentration in Social Media and Web Analytics

The University of California, Los Angeles offers an extended-learning program in social media and analytics that costs a minimum of $6,575 and requires students to complete at least 10 specialized courses. The Marketing Certificate with Concentration in Social Media and Web Analytics includes topics such as "Integrated Marketing Communications" and "Ethics in Marketing and Advertising."

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Rutgers: Social Media Marketing 'mini MBA'

Students can earn a "mini MBA" in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School, the program costs $3,995. The curriculum is available online, in the form of 10 courses that run a duration of 12 weeks total. The entire certification program, which features an in-depth exploration of social media effectiveness in business, typically takes about 35 to 40 hours to complete.

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Online Marketing Institute: Social Media Marketing Certification

The Online Marketing Institute offers a Social Media Marketing Certification program for $859. The curriculum is designed to familiarize students with the fundamentals of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+, via 13 video classes and about six hours of online instruction. Students get six months to complete the coursework and take the final exam.

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Mayo Clinic and Hootsuite: Social Media Basics for Healthcare Certification

Mayo Clinic and Hootsuite partnered to offer a Social Media Basics for Healthcare Certification that costs $400. Healthcare professionals learn the fundamentals of social media monitoring, analytics and best practices at their own pace. All of the requisite seven lessons, and a final exam, can be completed in roughly 4 hours.

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Southern New Hampshire University: Social Media Graduate Certification

Southern New Hampshire University, a school with about 3,000 students on campus and 60,000 more online, offers a Social Media Graduate Certification that costs at least $2,071. Students create and implement social media marketing campaigns as part of courses that focus on history, theory, technology impact and the strategic use of social media.

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Mediabistro: Specialized classes for platform-specific goals

Mediabistro offer a series of short, specialized social media training courses tailored for specific goals and platforms. Online courses range from $129 to $385, and they cover topics including social media analytics, and marketing and strategy, as well as platform-specific curriculum for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.