Value of a Graduate Certificate

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Bruce, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    Anyone who has done a graduate certificate, have you found them useful? Along with their semi-regular solicitation for donations, UMass-Lowell sent me a flyer about their graduate programs. I realized that if I take one more course, I can get a graduate certificate in Domestic Violence Prevention, and with 2 more, another in Forensic Criminology.

    These are graduate certificates in that you have to have a Bachelor's degree to qualify, but they're not post-Master's, they would be in addition to my already earned M.A. in Criminal Justice. I did my Master's at UML for free thanks to a Veteran's waiver, but I think that ship has sailed (I have a message in to double check), so each course would be $1710.00, well over double what it was 10-12 years ago.

    If the waiver (or a significant discount) is still in place, I might do it, I'm just wondering what the practical value (if any) would be of having one or two more pieces of paper from the same school where I did my Master's.
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    My experience with this is limited but here's what I think I know. A person might earn a grad cert in order to qualify for a job. For example, a friend has a BA in History and they then earn a grad cert in Historical Archeology in order to be seen as a more attractive candidate for a museum job. In another scenario, a person interested in shifting fields might earn one. A person with an English Lit degree might earn some sort of psychology grad cert in order to bolster their application to a Masters in Psych program. Those are the two sorts of scenarios that I'm familiar with. In both cases the cert helps to move a person along in whatever plan they have. Clearly it could be done just for "personal enrichment" but in the era of MOOCs there's no need to spend money for that kind of enrichment.
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I did the graduate certificate in Healthcare Risk Management from UF. It cost me $2,400 in total and was a great resume enhancer. It helps to show a focus in a single discipline that may have been covered in broad strokes in a masters or not at all in a masters.

    It certainly was worth the effort and was very helpful in my career.
  4. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I have a certificate in Failure Analysis from Cal Poly; I had completely forgotten about until I read this post. My company paid for and sent a bunch of engineers to earn this certificate.
  5. JP007

    JP007 Member

    I did a graduate certificate from a well known program early in my career (and just after my undergrad degree) and it was well received. I still get a positive response when it's discussed.
  6. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    I did a graduate certificate in Finance as a way to round out my MBA studies, mostly for personal enrichment. It hasn't enhanced my career in any way, and there is actually a grammatical error on the certificate the university sent ("[Name] has completed all requirements of a course of study in the Finance"), so I don't even have an attractive credential to hang on the wall, but it was a more productive way to spend my evenings than drinking and playing video games. If you can do it for low/no cost, go for it. If you didn't enjoy learning for its own sake, you wouldn't be on this board.
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I would go so far as to say that any academic certificate can really be a nice resume booster, regardless of the level.

    I have a Master Certificate in Human Resource Management from Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. It was non-credit. It was also expensive as heck (work paid for it). Consider that neither of my degrees are actually in HR. So this coupled with my PHR is a nice way to show I didn't just wander into the wrong part of the building.
    Cornell also has one of the best HR programs (at the ILR school) in the country, so the name on the certificate matters a bit more than the type of certificate, generally speaking.

    I've been approached by recruiters (who, ironically enough, are trying to recruit recruiters) who tell me they came across my profile while searching for Cornell. I'm certainly not saying they give me the same weight as someone with a degree from Cornell ILR, but it has resulted in a few approaches by recruiters who almost certainly would not have found me otherwise.

    That isn't to say that a graduate certificate is useless, mind you, just that any certificate can successfully enhance an academic degree. I think a non-credit certificate from NYU may very well carry more weight than a grad cert from Kaplan (in certain circles and certainly not in every situation). Most people don't have coursework requirements to meet an employment objective. So an undergrad or non-credit certificate might do the trick nicely. But, for others, there is a need for the credit (and sometimes at a specific level). For example, I could (but won't) get an accounting certificate to help me meet the requirements to take the CPA exam. My state would determine the number of credits (and which level) I need to achieve that goal.

    So, can certificates help your career? Of course. Will one or two help yours? You know that answer best.

    Forensic Criminology sounds like it would look really cool beside an MACJ. If, however, you are working as a probation officer, will it really help you advance through the ranks the same way it might help an NYPD Patrolman? Even if the certificate doesn't directly apply to your intended career path it can still help you in terms of bringing more recruiters to your LinkedIn profile or even just being an interesting conversation piece during an interview. But I think you will see the greatest ROI when it directly applies to your work and seems to enhance (that is, showing you are qualified to do something that is not evident by your degree) your degree(s).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2015
  8. DouglasHannah

    DouglasHannah New Member

    I did a certificate in construction course. This type of Course is a class made to provide Website Managers the abilities needed to recognize, track preventing injuries at work place.

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