What Is a Graduate Certificate?

Do you need additional education to advance in your career, but don't have the time to complete a full degree program? Have you always wanted to earn a graduate-level education, but life keeps getting in the way? If so, a graduate certificate might be the answer you've been looking for.

Graduate Certificate Definition

Many colleges and universities offer graduate certificate programs. These programs generally address a focus area of a particular discipline and are composed of at least four graduate-level courses. Certificate programs may include required courses and electives. They may be part of a degree program or offered independently. The number of credits needed to complete the certificate is determined by the institution, generally ranging from nine to 21 credit hours.

Graduate certificates may be offered in any discipline. To enroll in a graduate certificate program, you generally need a bachelor's degree and acceptance into graduate school. You don't need to be seeking a graduate degree. In addition, you must typically meet a specific grade in each course in order to graduate.

Reasons to Earn a Graduate Certificate

You may choose to earn a graduate certificate to meet continuing education requirements for certification or licensure, maximize career prospects, learn new skills or keep up-to-date in your field. Often, credits earned in a certificate program can be transferred to a master's degree later if you so choose. In addition, earning a graduate certificate adds to your credentials in a particular field. Graduate certificates can be taken for professional development or personal reasons.

Comparison to a Graduate Degree

Graduate certificate programs are shorter and more specifically focused than master's degree programs. A master's degree program generally takes two years to complete. Just as with graduate programs, you usually need to complete a graduate certificate programs within a specific time frame, generally between three and five years.

Advantages

Because graduate certificate programs are shorter than graduate degree programs, they tend to be less expensive. You gain experience in graduate-level coursework, so if you decide to pursue a graduate degree, you will have some familiarity with graduate school. Graduate certificate programs also provide a quicker way to change careers than graduate degree programs.

Popular Schools

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Master

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Illinois: Naperville
    • Indiana: Naperville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Online Campus, Merrillville
    • Kentucky: Naperville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Online Campus, Merrillville, Louisville
    • Ohio: Naperville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Online Campus, Merrillville, Louisville, Cleveland, Independence, Mayfield Heights
  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Rockies

    University of the Rockies responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Rockies:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Colorado: Online Campus, Colorado Springs
  • ITT Technical Institute

    ITT Technical Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at ITT Technical Institute:

    • Master

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Alabama: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile
    • Arizona: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix
    • California: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova
    • Florida: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach
    • Idaho: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise
    • Kansas: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita
    • Kentucky: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville
    • Michigan: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton
    • Missouri: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City
    • Ohio: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown
    • Oklahoma: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown, Oklahoma City, Tulsa
    • Oregon: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Portland
    • Tennessee: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Portland, Nashville
    • Texas: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Portland, Nashville, Richardson
    • Virginia: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Portland, Nashville, Richardson, Chantilly, Norfolk, Richmond, Salem, Springfield
    • West Virginia: Online Campus, Bessemer, Madison, Mobile, Phoenix, Rancho Cordova, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lake Mary, Miami, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Boise, Wichita, Lexington, Louisville, Canton, Earth City, Akron, Dayton, Hilliard, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Portland, Nashville, Richardson, Chantilly, Norfolk, Richmond, Salem, Springfield, Huntington
  • Trevecca Nazarene University

    Trevecca Nazarene University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trevecca Nazarene University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Medaille College

    Medaille College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Medaille College:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »