How to Get into Short-Term Graduate Certificate Programs

If you don't want to go to grad school forever but you want to take a few graduate courses, you can earn a certification in a shorter period of time. Short-term graduate certificates may take a couple months to a year, depending on what you want to do with your education and how it applies to your career. Different topics also require more study, but you can get certified in all types of fields, including subjects like medical billing, information technology and web design. Certification is best when a student needs more education but doesn't necessarily want to pay for graduate courses or spend years to get a master's degree. There are also certification programs for international students and technicians. These certificates are best used as ways to learn newer, practical skills that can enhance your career or move you into a new direction.

Finding Certificate Programs

Every college has a graduate certificate program. The field of study is the only thing that changes. You find a lot of certificates related to information technology and business administration, because many students who are in master's programs or who just graduated with a bachelor's degree want to specialize and learn the advanced topics that are just coming out. However, you can find certificate programs in almost every field of study, including art, music, and general studies. International students frequently earn certification in English as a second language so they can teach or provide bilingual services. There are also non-credit certificate programs that are available for a short period of time. These are focused on a few specific skills or one topic that relates to a subject, such as Microsoft Systems or Adobe. The certifications are mainly for professionals who need to show their expertise to an employer or to get a job in a certain field.

Certification While You Work

Students are often juggling a variety of schedules. Between work and family, fitting school into the mix can be troublesome. Certification courses are often available online. That's what makes it so easy to get certified, and it provides some other benefits as well, such as smaller classrooms, more flexible study hours and one-on-one time with teachers. Online programs are better for professions who want to get ahead in their careers and need to learn the latest technologies and techniques that relate to their fields, such as Cisco, IBM-Lotus, Linux, RSA Security and Unix—just to name a few major ones for information technology students. You can find all of these programs offered through accredited universities online.

Certificate programs are often overlooked because they're not degrees. Students who decide on graduate school don't often consider the value of a certificate while working towards a master's degree. Likewise, bachelor degree graduates think that the programs are a lot of work without the prestigious degree title. It's actually a shorter option and doesn't cost as much. Doing some research on these short term certificates could provide you with more options after you finish your undergraduate studies or even while you're still in school.

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