This is a sponsored article which was not produced by The Silhouette Staff
By: Izabela Szydlo
What do updating your skills, launching a brand new career, or obtaining industry-specific designations have in common? Besides requiring additional education, all of these endeavours can be achieved through graduate certificate education. Defined by short length, affordability and hands-on learning, this type of college courses are a quick and effective way to enhance your resume.
What is the difference between a graduate certificate and a Master’s degree?
Both graduate certificates and master’s are forms of postgraduate education. But while master’s programs are intensive academic commitments involving the study of various areas in a field, a graduate certificate program zeroes in on a more defined field of study. For that reason, a master’s of business administration (MBA), for example, encompasses numerous areas of leadership. A graduate certificate, meanwhile, might focus just on human resources management or financial planning or marketing management. Another big difference is the cost. While costs range according to the institution and program, according to Top Universities, a Canadian citizen wanting to study at postgraduate level is looking at about $7,000 in tuition per year. For an international student, that per-year cost can rise to more than $17,000. A graduate certificate, meanwhile, can be as cost effective as $2,000 to $6,000 for an entire program for domestic students, and roughly $14,000 for international students, based on Centennial College’s offerings.
Is a graduate certificate worth it?
With automation, robotics and artificial intelligence continuously causing disruptions, Pew Research Centre reports that, “a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demand.” Graduates certificate programs, with their focus on immersive experiential training and specialized knowledge, fall perfectly into the skills-building program category. In fact, the popularity of these college courses has been steadily increasing since as far back as 2012 when certificates were reported to be “the fastest growing form of postsecondary credentials in the United States, surpassing associate and master’s degrees as the second most common award in higher education after the Bachelor of Arts.” At Centennial College, there are more than 40 graduate certificate program options in areas as wide ranging as hospitality, applied science, communications, media and business.
What do the experts say about graduate certificates?
Nate Horowitz is the Dean of Centennial’s School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design. When it comes to graduate certificate programs, he previously stated, “We look at industry trends, where things are now and where they are going. We’re always examining how to keep our offerings fresh and add programs with great possibility of employment, so we are very conscious of industry changes.” The college’s responsive but equally forward-thinking approach to adding graduate certificate programs makes them very relevant. At The Business School at Centennial, meanwhile, Dean Barry O’Brien says these college courses are a wise investment. “The job market is changing and employers are looking for graduates who are job-ready because they don’t have as much time to invest in corporate training, so these programs are effective in offering students specific skills to navigate that,” he says.
In fact, Keystone Academic Solutions, which provides higher education marketing, lists a number of Centennial College’s graduate certificate programs among its 63 Top Graduate Certificates in Canada 2021.