Success Plan

After completing undergraduate studies, there are several paths that can be taken towards furthering education.  One such path is earning a post-baccalaureate certificate. Students may have various reasons for choosing to opt for a certificate rather than degree, such as seeking more preparation for a graduate degree. A post-baccalaureate certificate is not the equivalent of a degree, however it is beneficial because it allows students to build relevant field experience and cultivate knowledge in a particular discipline.

What Exactly is a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate?

The Washington Post defines post-baccalaureate certificates as follows; “Usually a four-to seven-course, self-contained credential, the certificate provides specialized academic study, or job-specific skills training, with a minimum investment of time and money, and potentially significant payback.” These programs serve the purpose of expanding on material learned throughout undergraduate education and are typically shorter than degree programs. Thus, students can build on prior knowledge in a relatively short period of time before advancing to a graduate degree. Certificates vary in subject matter depending on institution, however they are available at community colleges and universities alike. When students choose a certificate program, not only are they able to gauge how well they would fit in a graduate program, they also may create employment opportunities.

Benefits of Earning a Certificate

Earning a certificate can benefit students in numerous ways, because although it is not a degree, it is a higher level of academic achievement. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, certificates, “boost skills, show employers your commitment, and act as a stepping stone to further training.” The article also notes that a certificate highlights specialized knowledge in a particular job candidate. In addition to these benefits, certificates are also cost efficient, allowing students to prepare themselves for graduate programs at a lower cost than the programs themselves. As certificates are available at the community college level, it may be a financially wise decision for many students. Additional benefits of earning a certificate include the networking opportunities and guidance gained from professionals. Per an article by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), a benefit of certificate programs is the, “Extended access to advisors.” Receiving guidance before entering graduate school may allow for students to feel more prepared and confident not only in furthering their education, but becoming active in the workforce. The AAMC article also mentions how a certificate can strengthen an application for graduate school. By earning a certificate, students are demonstrating their initiative to universities and employers which can prove to be a competitive edge.

Certificates at Stevenson

Stevenson University currently offers certificates in Community-Based Education & Leadership, Literacy Education, Population-Based Care Coordination, as well as Secondary STEM Teaching & Learning. With all four of these certificate options, there are corresponding master’s degrees, allowing students to be well-equipped with the tools to successfully earn a master’s degree after completing a certificate program. The current certificates offered can be completed in under two years and are delivered entirely online. The accessibility of these programs is an added benefit, as students are able to balance time and attention between many different factors within their lives while advancing academically and career wise.

To learn more about our certificates, please contact Amanda Millar, Enrollment Counselor, at amillar@stevenson.edu