Graduate certificates fill a number of educational gaps in the traditional degree structure. Short-term programs typically lasting a year, graduate certificates are available to those who have already completed a four-year degree. If you are considering changing fields, need to add specialized knowledge to help deal with changing job demands, are unable to commit to a master’s degree or already hold an advanced degree and need foundational understanding in another field, various kinds of graduate certificate programs exist to meet your needs.
If you already have a strong educational background or work history and find yourself falling into a knowledge or skills gap that the traditional degree structure just does not have a place for, a graduate certificate may be the perfect way to get the educational boost you need at a price and time commitment you can handle.
Some of the reasons to enroll in Graduate Certificate Programs
1.) Switching Career Tracks
Many students study a field they love only to find there’s no job waiting at the end of the road or find a field they want to work in only after they have completed a substantial portion of their studies. Post-baccalaureate programs are often designed to help students move towards in-depth study of an unfamiliar field. For students with a significant gap in their educations, graduate certificate program also offer an important chance to test the waters of advanced degree programs. Some post-bachelor programs are tailored in a pre-professional direction, especially premed, and graduate certification is also a viable option for aspiring teachers who need a credential, but cannot invest the cost of a Master degree. Certification through a post-bachelor premed program can both help you change your field of expertise and overcome earlier weaknesses in your academic record.
2.) Adding to Your Business Skill-Set
Many senior workers and managers find themselves in need of business skills but do not require a full-fledged MBA, MSF or MCCA. A small business owner, for instance, does not need a heavy credential to shop around the job market, but might really need to understand how marketing has changed over the last 20 years in order to rethink his business strategy. For these professionals and entrepreneurs, a graduate certificate in business or a related field may be a perfect way to fill this knowledge gap. In addition, like an associate’s degree for students considering eventual continuation at the bachelor’s level, graduate certificates in business can often be extended later into full-blown MBA studies.
3.) Keeping-Up With Career Demands
A third category of potential candidates for graduate certificates are current holders of advanced degrees in other fields whose jobs are now making additional demands of them. The classic example here is healthcare administration. As nurses, technologists, and even doctors rise through the ranks, they inevitably take on administrative responsibilities for which their professional degrees and experience in care have not adequately prepared them – managing human resources, drafting budgets, and connecting bureaucracies. For people who need to pick up these skills fast and need the skills to match their new responsibilities, graduate certification, can be a lifesaver.