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Old 12-06-2011, 06:30 PM
39 posts, read 69,930 times
Reputation: 23


I'm looking to make a career transition, currently, I'm unemployed and want to further my education. I have some experience in nonprofit and would like to return to that, but the job market is competitive. Two local universities offer programs I'm interested in, one is a Professional Certificate in nonprofit management, this is a noncredit certificate. The other is a Graduate Certificate in nonprofit management. This a 12 credit graduate level program.

I understand the graduate program will look better on my resume, but how much better? The graduate program costs several thousand dollars more. I can finish the professional certificate much faster, and for much cheaper.

My life goal is to own my own business, this is why I'm not currently investing in a full graduate degree or MBA.

I have a 4.0 Undergrad degree from a decent school. is there a major difference between the two if I want a quick career transition?
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:36 PM
Location: 20 years from now
6,196 posts, read 6,223,745 times
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After working as an admissions advisor, the lines are pretty blurred, but Professional certificates generally do not require any academic background whatsoever. They are generally geared more towards developing skills. Plus a lot of people tend to use them to advance careers that they are already in, and quite a few employers are even willing to foot the bill for that reason. Some people use them for career transitions as well.

Graduate certificates are generally more academic, and people normally use them to fulfill some type of requirement to either prove their aptitude for graduate admissions or to meet class requirements that will qualify them for certain jobs. You also earn college credits which are applicable towards a degree which is why they are more expensive. Professional certs/diplomas are usually a few hundred dollars and non-credit courses.

The cost is generally a product of the faculty who are teaching the classes. Graduate certificate classes are usually taught by the same staff as the degree seeking ones. Where as professional certificates usually hire field knowledge based instructors (there are exceptions though) without the pedigree of actual academic credentials to be considered Professors.

But I personally believe tha if your goal is to go into business for yourself, and never attain a graduate degree, then a Professional certificate may make the most sense all around.

Congrats on the 4.0 btw.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:40 PM
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I would consider the professional cert to be like a seminar, while the academic cert is formal college education. If the job market is difficult to break into, I would assume the cert that is more difficult to get would be looked on more favorably. You want to work for yourself, but realistically, how far down the road is that? Five years? Ten years? Twent years? What I'm getting at is don't say, "I'm not going to bother getting an MPA because I'm going to own my own business in twenty years."
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:11 PM
243 posts, read 1,567,771 times
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If you would like to find work now, getting certified may be the better and lease expensive option.
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