You can never learn too much, but does that mean you should go ahead and pursue that master’s degree? Depending on your career goals and financial status, maybe—or maybe not.
This is where graduate certificates come in. These nifty forms of advanced education offer some of the same benefits of graduate degrees with less of the costly downsides.
Here are five major benefits of graduate certificates:
1. You Can Gain Specialized Knowledge in Less Time than a Graduate Degree
Yes, you read that correctly. Less time. Also, less money out of your bank account (or loans in your name). While most graduate degree programs take at least two years to complete, a graduate certificate can take just 12 months to earn. And instead of spending your valuable time taking ancillary courses for your degree that might not be applicable in your current career, you’ll spend that year only taking courses that directly relate to your certificate.
2. You Can Develop Expertise for Your Current Job
You may have pursued an undergraduate degree in business, but as your career has progressed, you’ve increasingly found yourself in roles dealing with environmental and business sustainability. A graduate certificate in Sustainability Management and Analytics could provide the extra bit of knowledge and expertise you need to fill your role confidently and do your job even better than you already do.
Graduate certificates enable you to gain a focused understanding of things you may not have known about in undergrad—without requiring the time or financial commitment of pursuing a graduate degree. They can also be a way for you to meet state or federal licensing requirements, depending on your career or industry.
3. You Can Prepare for a Career Shift
You’ve wanted to leave your business communications job and start your own nonprofit, but you’re not exactly sure what running a nonprofit might entail. A graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership could help pave the way for you to set out on your own—start that nonprofit and succeed. You already have the smarts; you just need that extra foundation of knowledge. A graduate certificate can set you up for a smooth career shift, helping you develop the skills and understanding you need to enter a work world different from the one you’re in right now.
4. You Can Broaden Your Professional Network
Similar to a master’s degree program, graduate certificates connect you with professors and other students who you probably wouldn’t meet otherwise. These same connections could become valuable mentors or peers in your current or future field, and could open the door to additional employment or business opportunities. Don’t take any interaction for granted. Should you decide to pursue a graduate certificate, do so with a mindset that values every person the program places you in contact with.
5. You Can Use the Graduate Certificate to Test the Waters for a Full Graduate Program
You’ve been thinking of pursuing an MBA, but you’re not sure if it’s the right program for you. A graduate certificate in Business Administration allows you to try the program out and get the benefit of a certificate (slap that on your resume!). The best part? If you end up deciding to continue beyond your graduate certificate to a master’s degree, Concordia University allows you to roll those certificate credits into our MBA program.
In fact, any of Concordia School of Business’s 15 graduate certificate programs can count toward an MBA. Graduate certificates enable you to further your education without the upfront commitment to a master’s degree—while allowing room for you to change your mind later on and get the advanced degree without having to retake classes or pay for them twice.
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