Can you use a graduate certificate to get ahead in your career?
How Graduate Certificates Fit Into Today’s Fast-Moving Workplace

How Graduate Certificates Fit Into Today’s Fast-Moving Workplace

With advances in technology, workflow and business priorities, the pace of the workplace is faster than ever—and so is the need for employees to get new skills to keep pace.

This is part of the reason why someone considering going back to school may opt to earn a graduate certificate instead of committing to a two-to-four-year degree program.

With a graduate certificate in the right field, students can quickly demonstrate competency in a specialized area—without breaking the bank. At least according to Stephen Rose, professor and senior economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, who recently completed research on the relevance of certificates in the workplace, both right now and in the future.

Graduate certificates offer the opportunity to get a recognized credential in a wide variety of fields.

Graduate certificates offer the opportunity to get a recognized credential in a wide variety of fields.

“Certificates are the first rung in postsecondary education and the most occupationally oriented; such that students can go through a program, usually in about one year, and will have gained a lot of skills in a very specific field,” he told Evollution.

In Rose’s’s research, Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees, he writes that certificates are are cost-effective, partly because they are the quickest education and job training awards offered by American higher education.

“They often pay off more than two-year degrees and sometimes pay off more than four-year degrees,” the report says.

Kelly Otter, PhD, associate dean for Graduate Academic and Faculty Affairs here at the College of Professional Studies, agrees with Rose’s argument, saying that graduate certificates offer a number of possible benefits to people looking to advance their careers. “In today’s competitive job market, specialized knowledge and skills are at a premium—the more you know and the more you can do, the more attractive you are to an employer,” she says.

Have you been considering obtaining a graduate certificate in lieu of a longer degree program? Share your thoughts.

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