Graduate certificates are taking off as a great way to accelerate your career. The Washington Post reported that employees who earn a graduate certificate enjoy an estimated 25% salary increase. The job market continues to evolve, and in today’s competitive workforce getting your online grad certificate helps you distinguish yourself in your field. Even if you’ve considered a graduate degree, there are still many benefits to going through a certificate program. If you’re thinking about get your grade certificate, here are some of the benefits of this option that make it a great choice.
Benefit #1 – Enjoy a Faster Return on Investment
Getting a graduate degree can take a several years, depending on the degree. When you go with a certificate program, you can earn your certificate quickly. In fact, most certificates take you less than a year to earn. This means you can see a return on your education investment quickly. If you’re just out of college, it can improve your ability to get a job, and if you’re already a part of the work force, it can increase your salary and ability to advance within a short time.
Benefit #2 – Generally Less Costly than a Graduate Degree
Going with an online graduate certificate generally costs far less than pursuing a master’s degree — something that can be attractive to students who aren’t able to fund graduate studies yet. According to Bankrate, you’ll pay just $5,000 for a UCLA Extension certificate in business administration, while earning your MBA at the same school will cost you $90,000. Some students already feel buried in student debt and adding another $90,000 in debt simply seems imprudent at the moment. Going with a certificate offers a less costly option that can still help them advance their career.
Benefit #3 – Gain Specialized Knowledge
With a graduate certificate, you will gain specialized knowledge, making you even more competitive in your workforce … and making you a more valuable employee. Your specialized knowledge may help you transition into managerial positions. In some cases, certain fields may require certain certificates for promotions or certain jobs.
Benefit #4 – Keep Up with Relevant Industry Knowledge
The workforce continues to grow, which means you need to stay competitive in your field. A graduate certificate helps keep your skills updated so you remain relevant as an employee. Your current skills and capabilities are great, but industries are constantly changing. Expanding your industry knowledge, gaining new skills, and building on your current capabilities can help you stay competitive, move up in your organization, or even transition into a new field if you desire.
Benefit #5 – Continue Growing Your Network
When you go through an online certificate program, you’ll have the benefit of continuing to grow your professional network. You’ll be exposed to new people, including your professors, other online students, and advisors. As you make more connections and expand your network, you may open the door to some exciting new opportunities. Many professors who teach certificate courses have extensive professional networks, making them a valuable resource to you.
Benefit #6 – Prepare for an Advanced Degree
Just because you decide on a graduate certificate now does not mean you can’t go on and earn your master’s degree later. In fact, your certificate can be a great stepping stone, especially if you’re just out of college and you want to look at other fields before you make a big commitment in time and money to a master’s program. If a master’s degree is currently out of reach financially, a certificate can make you more employable and increase your salary, making it well worth your investment.
At Abilene Christian University, we offer several graduate certificate programs in multiple areas of study to help our students further their career goals. We make it easy for you to earn the certificate you want with online options that let you further your education with a Christian university without relocating, quitting your job, or hampering your family responsibilities.
If you are interested in earning a graduate certificate in a Christ-centered environment, check out our online graduate certificate programs and contact ACU today to learn how we can help you pursue your passion and achieve your goals for the future.