October 24, 2017

 

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What is the Difference Between a Graduate Certificate and a Master’s Degree?

Master’s degrees and graduate certifications in Healthcare Management are the two most common graduate training programs pursued. Master’s degrees and graduate certificates make sense depending on the candidate and their specific career objectives. A master’s degree program leads to the conferring of an academic degree. A graduate certificate requires completion of a non-degree graduate level program in a specific area of study. Students pursue graduate certificates for both professional and academic reasons. A wide range of graduate certification programs are offered by accredited colleges and universities and are often available both on campus and as an online only basis.

A Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management

A master’s degree is generally a two-year, full-time program beyond a bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study. A master’s degree is aimed at a broader career or field, offering a professional greater flexibility in their career paths. Most master’s degrees require completion of 30 to 36 credits in their chosen area of specialization. Professional programs, including an MBA, typically require 40 to 50 credits for completion. Requirements vary depending on the program, but most require students to complete a certain number of foundation courses in their chosen area of specialization and a certain number of electives.

A Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management

Graduate certifications have become an essential part of professional education. In today’s economy, graduate certificates area an excellent match for those professionals looking for a specific skill. A graduate certificate is a short program of study in a particular subject. It consists of three to seven courses that can be completed in as little as a year or less. In order to earn a graduate certificate, the candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree (some programs will waive this requirement if you have relevant work experience). Graduate certifications allow students to pursue continuing education credit, enter a new field, or gain skills in a specific area. Graduate certificates do not lead to an academic degree.

These programs are varied depending on the school, but can include accounting, finance, business, psychology, public policy, healthcare management, biotechnology, international studies and other areas of study. Each graduate certification program determines the number of credits needed for completion, however most graduate program requires nine to fifteen credits. Often graduate certification is granted only through an exam or other performance assessment. Coursework may help prepare students for the certification, however does not lead directly to it. These certifications are best suited for those individuals who have a specific career track. In some cases employers will pay for employees to pursue a graduate certification. For mid-career professionals, completing a certificate program can advance their career if you are looking for work in the same field where you have experience with the certificate providing additional training. A certificate on the resume of someone with experience can boost career opportunities and job capabilities.

Many universities and colleges allow students to be enrolled in a graduate certificate program and a master’s or doctoral degree program at the same time. Credits from the graduate certificate may also count toward the graduate degree program. When deciding between a graduate certificate and a master’s degree, it is important to look at the demand in the marketplace to judge which would best work.