If you are interested in online graduate education, during your researches, you may find out that there are both certificate programs and degree programs that you can get online. These graduate education types may offer somewhat similar content and skills to learn. So, for many people, the differences between these two education types are not quite clear.
To help our readers to understand what are the differences and the actual effects of these differences, here we are comparing online graduate certificate versus online graduate degree programs.
Online Graduate Certificate versus Online Graduate Degree Programs
When you look at these two education program types, of course, there are some clear differences that we should mention. These start with the time difference.
First of all, most online certificate programs can be completed under a year. It is often light enough to take on while you are studying in another program. But online graduate degrees are generally heavier and longer, they are mostly around 2 years worth of thorough education.
Usually, during their curriculum, online certificates programs can only feature 4 to 6 courses. These courses give you the condensed training you would need for developing the desired skills. Online graduate degrees, on the other hand, can give you 12 courses or even more.
This difference allows you to choose either get a certificate while you are busy with another education program or a work-life in a short time or to put more time to learn more and get a degree. As they take a shorter time to get, you may gather multiple certificates in the time that you would get one online degree.
As you may notice, most certificate programs offer you a certificate that would allow you to pursue a certain career or a set of careers. Degrees offer a richer education that may help you in more than just a single career path.
While certificate programs focus more on particular skills and understanding regarding a niche topic, degree programs offer a wider perspective around a subject including skills and knowledge to become an expert in this subject.
So, if your goal is just to be able to do a certain job, an online certificate education might be a faster and easier way for you. But if you want to open yourself more opportunities, a graduate degree would offer you more while taking more time to get in turn.
The differences between online graduate certificate programs and degree programs also include the costs of these educations.
As they take longer to complete and they offer you more content, online degree programs are relatively more expensive. They offer you more lessons, videos, textbooks, and other tuition services.
Just like the skills and information you get, the cost of enrolling in certificate programs is also not as much as degree programs. So, while you will learn less, it will cost less too.
So, you should decide if you want the benefits of having a graduate degree enough to pay the higher tuition fees. If you do not need these benefits and a certificate is enough for your goal, you may save some money.
Effects in Job Applications
Most people consider having a degree more beneficial for future job applications as a degree would look more impressive in your resume. While this may have been true in the past, this is not so simple these days.
Having more skills and knowledge may give you a better perspective on some jobs. And some employers give high importance to this factor. But most employers are interested in seeing that you have the skill they need more than seeing that you have more skills than they need.
If the job you apply for can be done with the fundamental knowledge and a certificate as the proof of this knowledge, having a degree that is more than what you need can make you ‘overqualified’, and the employer may think that you will expect a higher salary than someone with a certificate for a lower salary, which you may very well do.
So, if you want to pursue job positions with higher salaries, degrees may be a better option for you. But if you want to focus on the essentials, or you want to gather more than one certificate to open different doors in professional life.