Are you interested in going back to school for a graduate degree? Earning a graduate degree can help you differentiate yourself to potential employers during the pandemic when applying for a job, seeking a promotion, or changing careers. Considering the time, money and effort required, returning to school can be quite the investment and this may deter a few people from pursuing a full degree. If you want to advance your career with less commitment than a master’s degree, there is another option available to you. You can develop a competitive advantage with MBU graduate certificates.
“What is a graduate certificate?”
A graduate certificate is designed to be shorter in time than a masters degree and supplement your knowledge in specific areas. Generally, graduate certificates focus on a particular industry, and its courses are designed to expand your knowledge and skills.
“What is the main difference between a graduate certificate and a master’s degree?”
One of the main differences is going to be time. Master’s degrees typically take about two years to be completed and graduate certificates can be completed in just one year. More time means more credit hours, which means a bigger financial investment. But if your goal is to earn a master’s degree in the future you could use some of your graduate certificate credit hours toward a master’s degree. Many of MBU’s graduate certificates work cohesively with our master’s degrees, allowing you to have a head start in your master’s degree.
Graduate certificates have become the fastest-growing form of post-secondary credentials in recent years. That is because they offer a vast number of benefits that can help you advance your career.
- Pay increase
To most people, the number one motivator for earning a graduate degree is the opportunity for a higher pay. If this is you, then I have good news for you. According to Forbes, earning a graduate certificate could increase your salary up to 25 percent.
- Expand your knowledge and skills
Earning a graduate certificate helps you stay competitive by allowing you to build upon your skills. A graduate certificate can help you transition into a position with more responsibility or even switch industries by teaching you new, valuable skills.
A graduate certificate offers a quick return on your investment. As we discussed earlier, a master’s degree takes on average 2 years to be completed, and while they offer their own benefits, sometimes time is of the essence. A graduate certificate can be completed in less than a year, depending on the program. Most MBU graduate certificates require just 12 credits, allowing you to complete them in 2 consecutive semesters.
- Prepares you for a Master’s degree
A graduate certificate can allow you to “test the waters” of post-secondary education. If your goal is to earn a master's degree, a graduate certificate can serve as a stepping stone toward your end goal. It is also important to note that many graduate certificate programs, like some of those at MBU, are designed to work cohesively with a master’s degree. Meaning, if you do decide to pursue a graduate degree at a later date, you’ll already have a number of credits hours that you won’t need to retake.
“Should I earn a graduate certificate?”
It depends. This is one of those questions in which you need to assess your goals. Many people see a master’s degree as the next logical step to take after completing their undergraduate degree, but depending where you are in life, a graduate certificate could be of most benefit to you. A graduate certificate might be just what you need to reach your personal and career goals. In addition to providing a boost in pay, they offer a faster degree with quicker payoff, all while potentially preparing you for a full graduate degree in the future.
MBU offers graduate certificates in different areas that will help you expand your knowledge and skills to advance your education and career. If you are looking to get ahead, consider earning a graduate certificate to build upon your skills.
Are you wondering if a graduate certificate is right for you? We would love to help, get in contact with a graduate counselor.