Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Mike_UCD, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Mike_UCD

    Mike_UCD New Member

    Ok... So, I'm looking into the various certificate programs out there to supplement my MBA (e.g., finance, project management, etc.) and wanted to get some perspective on the actual value of a certificate. From what I see, some are of academic value (i.e., they have credits that may be offered toward a degree) while others are simply more instructional or non academic in nature.

    Does one generally receive an actual diploma noting completion of a certificate program (looks like eCornell does something like this - ?), a document suitable for the recycle bin or just acknowlegement that can be added as a bullet point to the resume?

    I assume it depends on the institution, but wanted to get some perspective from others.
  2. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    There is nearly always a piece of paper -- as in parchment, suitable for framing -- issued to one who completes a diploma or certificate program.

    Diplomas and certificates come in many flavors: Undergraduate, graduate, for-credit, not-for-credit, etc. They are usually used to round-out a given degree in an area which the degree holder deems to have been inadequately covered in said degree, but which said degree holder believes s/he will need in order to get the job or promotion, etc., that s/he wantes. For example, if one has a generalized MBA, and if one wants to use it as a credential for a finance or project management job, then one may -- sometimes even if the MBA has a concentration in one of those areas -- decide that s/he really needs more coursework in whatever area it is that s/he feels s/he needs to really master, and/or in which s/he wishes to evidence inordinate learning.

    But their best purpose, I think, is to provide the holder of a degree on one area with evidence of additional learning in yet another, sometime unrelated area, but without him/her having to go get another degree in that other area.

    A certificate or diploma tends to be highly specialized; and contains coursework pretty much in the area suggested by its title, and little or nothing else. A degree, on the other hand, tends to be more well-rounded with a variety of coursework types. A person wishing to evidence coursework in two different areas covered by two different degrees -- both of which contain approximately the same coursework that isn't related to the titles of said degrees -- would not want to get two degrees and repeat the common coursework. So s/he gets a degree in one of them, and a certificate or diploma in the other.

    Regardless why it's earned, one should try to make sure that his/her certificates/diplomas are from accredited institutions. Whether the certificate/diploma's courseword can subsequently be applied to a degree is not terribly important when used as I have described, above; but making sure that not just any ol' unaccredited entity issued it probably is.
  3. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member

    Here is my 2 cents: If you have an MBA, and want some credential to reflect competency in a specific area (such as project management or finance) go for a “professional certification”, not a certificate.

    My opinion--I think people may opt for certificates in lieu of a graduate degree. (I had a job applicant tell me he had a "Master's in Government Contracting from George Washington Univ.--his resume showed he had a "master's certificate" in contracting from GWU, not a master's degree.) So some may perceive--in my opinion, a certificate as a step down after the MBA.

    In my experience, most people go for a professional certification after a graduate degree, thus maybe professional certifications are considered a step up after a graduate degree? Professional certifications may be more marketable than a certificate. In my profession (project management, contract management, supply management) I typically see professional certifications hanging on the wall in colleagues’ offices, but I have not seen a certificate on display in any office. Just my opinion.
  4. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    I myself have been looking at completing a certificate program after I complete a masters degree in computer science. I have to admit as to not knowing the relative value of different types of certificates such as the original poster. For instance, eCornell offers certificates that carry no academic credit but they do have the prestigious name of Cornell attached -- the same with Stanford. Some certificate programs offer CEU or ACE credits whatever those are. An finally, some certificate programs offer academic credit which in some cases could be applied to an actual degree.

    So let's say I wanted to learning something about project management and human resource management. I could complete an entire program (11-12 courses) at eCornel over 24 weeks to earn a certificate in human resource management. Would this certificate have more utility than a gradate certificate in human resource management from Golden Gate University which also awards academic credit?

    What about comparing Stanford's project management certificate with a graduate certificate in project management from Stevens Institute of Technology? Can anyone give me a rule of thumb for comparing different kinds of programs?
  5. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    I think the University of London diplomas and graduate entry certificates would be worthwhile. They're inexpensive, the subjects and courses seem interesting and it would dress up a resume as well.
  6. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    A professional certification is not a substitute for university coursework... and should not be used that way. If a generalized MBA holder wants to be PMI certified as a project manager, fine. Getting certified doesn't negate the value of nor need for the degree. But unless his/her MBA had a project management concentration, s/he almost certainly needs to obtain a graduate project management certificate, too -- at least if s/he is to appear most credible. A certificate, like a degree, is the learning part. The professional certification is the proving part -- or at least some of it. The two shouldn't be confused... any more than med school should be confused with a state license to practice medicine.

    And, by the way, I've seen all kinds of certificates on people's walls... usually next to their degrees to which said certificates are intended to be appurtenant.

    Which kinda' brings us to another point begged by JoAnn's posting: The value of a certificate without there first being a degree that it is intended to supplement probably does have questionable value and/or utility. Adjunct to a degree, however, most any certificate -- whether or not for academic credit -- will have value and utility. Absent a degree, it just looks like a shortcut.

    Or so it is my opinion.
  7. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    That's partly because of the way they structure them. Take about a third of a degree's worth of credits, get a certificate. Take half to maybe two-thirds of a degree's worth of credits, get a diploma. Take the whole enchilada, get the degree. There's logic to it, and those who understand how it works can instantly see how much education the candidate has... and can act accordingly.

    Adjunct to a degree, that is. Again, absent the degree, it just feels -- to most Americans, at any rate -- like a shortcut.
  8. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck


    if the search function is working try PMP or project management for some info regarding your question or search on my user name.

    Both Six Sigma and CISSP certifications have been discussed as well.

    The PMP is supported by the PMBOK which is an ANSI standard. The CISSP was headed that way but I am not sure if they succeeded.

    My MBA has a PM concentration and these courses were well suited for the career field.

    My recommendation to folks pursuing certifications is to find THE certification for the career field, i.e. PE, PMP, CPA, RA (Registered Architect) etc...

    My opinion is that academic certifications carry more weight than non academic certifications with the exception of the industry certifications. The question is why do I believe this to be true. Aspen University awards 9 graduate level credits for the PMP, UW-Plattville awards 6, and Boston University just sent me a notice saying that they would give me 3 credits for the PMP. I have yet to find anyone that would accept the SCPM for credit. By this I mean that the Stanford Certified Project Manager certification enables you to have Stanford after your name but does not meet the level of having a PMP for credit purposes. Even Stanford won't give you credit for the certificate towards a degree. But you can get CEUs or PDUs.

    "CEUs and PDUs

    Completion of each SAPM course automatically includes eligibility for 20 PDU credits with PMI at no additional charge. The appropriate PDU numbers are listed in small print on each course completion certificate.

    Participants may request Stanford University CEU credit for SAPM courses at $75 per course. Two CEUs are issued per course. CEUs are usually requested by the participant at the time of course registration, and are earned at the completion of each course. The SAPM program office will process CEU requests at the end of each Stanford academic quarter, approximately December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30."

    PDUs and CEUs are methods to achieve continuing education and can be submitted to the respective industry certification authority to maintain a certification.

    The only way I would pursue a graduate certificate is if it was awarded along the way to a degree. Industry just doesn't seem to understand the value any differently that a non academic certificate. Academia should but I believe others can address that aspect better than I.

  9. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck

    I also wanted to add this program:


    "The George Washington University (GW) offers a Master of Science Degree in Project Management within its School of Business. The program allows both full- and part-time options and is ideal for working professionals. Students are required to complete 13 courses for a total of 36 credit hours. Also, a distance learning option is available for the master’s degree.
    The University will award advanced standing toward its Master of Science in Project Management to those students who earn an ESI/GW Master’s certificate within five years of starting the master's program. All master’s certificate holders (project management, information technology project management or advanced) may receive credit for up to three core courses, for a total of up to nine credit hours (which represents 25 percent of the credit required for the GW degree). The GW Project Management Program faculty will determine which degree program courses will be waived on the basis of the student's background and the comparable certificate courses taken."

    Read the last paragraph closely.
  10. blaketots

    blaketots New Member

    I have a Graduate Certificate in Accounting. I also have an MBA. I'm a college instructor, so in order to teach accounting, I must have 18 graduate hours in accounting in addition to a master's degree.

    I could've just taken the graduate courses in accounting without trying for a certificate program and in fact, I considered taking 2 classes at one university, 2 at another, etc. However, after further thought, I thought it would be more practical to list a Graduate Certificate on my resume along with my MBA, because otherwise, how would I notate that I actually had the 18 hours of accounting coursework??

    Most all of the regional accrediting bodies require 18 hours of graduate courses in the subject that an instructor will teach. I thin certificates are an easy way to take care of that requirement, so I’d say that there are many instructors out there with certificates.

    I did receive a certificate appropriate for framing with the university’s seal. I've filed it away in my cabinet.
  11. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member

    My wife was in a similar situation. She has an MBA, worked as an accountant for a federal agency, and wanted to teach college accounting courses, as well, and maybe as a future career. So in pursuit of the 18 hours of accounting which she needed for college teaching, she figured if she was going to take these additional accounting courses, she might as well have a more directed focus, so she pursued the 18 hours as a preparation for the CPA exam, which she passed last year. So now she is a MBA and CPA and is teaching on-line accounting courses. Her latest project is starting the Argosy DBA program in accounting, which she started last year. She is definitely having way too much fun!
  12. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    With an MBA I would recomend a Certificate in Project management that also leeds to Certification as PMP.

    e worked with George Washington University to train our

    Employees as Business Analysts they got Graduate Certificate from George Washington University and Certified Business Analyst

    I also found that just like with degrees school name recognition
    is very valuble even for certificates especially if you are looking in to expending your career marketablity.

    MBA with PMP - ( PMI) and Certificate in Project Management.

    There is a Master Certificate in PM but I don't recall who the provider - Kaplan is?

    We also have an HR Director with MBA and Certificate in HR Management from Rochester University.
  13. Mike_UCD

    Mike_UCD New Member

    Great information. It's obvious that others have the same or similar questions.

    From my perspective, it certainly makes sense to supplement my MBA with a certificate to reinforce or broaden my education in a particular discipline. The weight or value of each certficate certainly varies from program to program (academic vs. non, professional designation preparation, etc.).

    I suppose it really comes down to the value of the program to one's career or educational goal. I certainly see the perspective on a certificate, without the proper basis, as being perceived as a "shortcut." Naturally a professional designation would be just as good if not better (assuming there is a professional designation of interest - it certainly would be interesting to see the many that are offered).

    One of my major concerns with Certificate programs has been the level of recognition associated with it. Perhaps I am driven more by actually seeing a certificate or diploma rather than the satisfaction that I had completed the program. For example, I participated in a 6 month intensive course in Business Administration through a UC extension. At the end, I received a letter of acknowledgement that I had participated in the program. Perhaps it's just my type 'a' personality looking for a sense of accomplishment.

    Thanks all for the input.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2005
  14. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    SInce my Degree in IT from Fromer Soviet Union was earned in the 80's.

    I suplemented my education with Certificate from One of the Institutes Of Technology. This was Graduate level 15 units certificate.

    At the most, you will need to complete five courses. However, based on your certification, career track, and your choice of certificate, the number of courses required may be fewer than 5.
    I took

    Management of Software Systems 3
    Database Systems Management 3
    Computer Systems Administration 3
    Telecommunications Systems Management 3
    Advanced Management Information Systems 3

    Beatiful Diploma in my office
  15. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I'm assuming that since you have not mentioned the university that issues your certificate that this certificate is not generally available to others through distance learning.
  16. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    I'm guess that this certificate is the Information Systems Management certificate from Florida Instititue of Technology. If it is, then yes it is available online.

  17. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I'm a privet person.

    yes its FIT.

  18. qvatlanta

    qvatlanta New Member

    Such a widespread funny term... I'd love to see a "certificate inappropriate for framing".
  19. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    What is FIT? Say it clearly. Surely your English goes that far.
  20. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    For a moderate fee I'd be happy to make you a certificate that was inappropriate for framing.

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