Not Quite Ready for a Master's Degree?

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By: AJ Lemheney, Ed.D., Vice President and Executive Director  Friday, October 9, 2020 02:19 PM

An advanced degree will almost always improve your job prospects and earning potential. However, the prospect of going to graduate school can seem daunting, whether you have years of experience as a working professional, or are a recent college graduate. An economy in flux presents new opportunities to get ahead, even if you aren’t sure about a master’s degree.

Are you looking for a meaningful way to advance your career, but don’t feel ready to make a long-term commitment all at once? A graduate certificate (in a growing field such as applied analytics or organizational leadership) is an excellent investment. Here are four key reasons why a graduate certificate is a good choice if you’re not quite ready to commit to a master’s degree program.

Wise Use of Your Time

It can take two or three years to earn an M.B.A. or similar business degree, and even longer if you have to disrupt your education due to personal or professional reasons.  In contrast, a graduate certificate requires less than half the time commitment; most students complete these programs in a year. For example, Muhlenberg’s graduate certificate programs in applied analytics and organizational leadership consist of courses taken during a fall, spring, and summer term, reasonably paced for the working professional so you can maintain your personal and professional life, while getting the maximum from your faculty,  so you are able to position yourself for a promotion with confidence in far less time

Your next career move doesn’t need to take years of additional education. According to U.S. News & World Report, a business-oriented graduate certificate is a targeted use of your time, particularly if you want to acquire the specialized skills that are needed to land a desirable job in a growing field, such as data analytics.  

Affordable Next Step

A graduate certificate is an affordable option, getting you the specialized training you need to advance your career. Muhlenberg’s business-focused certificate programs are offered at very competitive tuition rates which include books and fees. If your short term goal is to gain the skills and competencies needed for a better-paying position, a graduate certificate can be an affordable route.

Better Job Options

The single biggest way to land a higher-paying job is to make a serious commitment to graduate-level education, and a business certificate packs a big punch on your resume. In fact, Forbes reports that a graduate certificate will improve your salary by an average of 13% - 25%. That’s a compelling reason to take the next step in your education.

Employers recognize the value of advanced training in a specialized field of business. Despite changing economic conditions, skills in data analytics and organizational leadership continue to be in demand. For example, jobs requiring applied analytics training have grown at a faster rate than almost any other technology position, according to the Dice 2020 Tech Jobs Report. This trend is expected to continue, with a projected industry growth rate of almost 40% during the next ten years. Professionals with advanced training in organizational leadership and data science are able to adapt to changing job market conditions because these skills can be applied to such a wide variety of industries and projects.

Stepping Stone to Master’s Degree

Some business certificate programs, such as Muhlenberg’s, offer an additional benefit: the credits you earn for your graduate certificate comprise half of the required courses for a master’s degree, and you can apply all of those credits toward the master’s program when you are ready.

“Your certificate credits are transferred seamlessly into the master’s program,” said Richard Glejzer, Ph.D., Interim Dean of Muhlenberg College’s School of Graduate Studies. “That’s a major advantage of our programs: you can ‘level up’ easily when you are ready to take the next step in your professional development.” Muhlenberg’s programs protect your investment by banking those credits for your future professional development, which makes your initial investment of time and money even more valuable.

If you’re ready to improve your job prospects substantially while managing your time and money, we invite you to contact us. We’re ready to answer all your questions about how our graduate certificates can set you up for success.

About the Muhlenberg College School of Graduate Studies
The Muhlenberg College School of Graduate Studies offers a variety of post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees aimed at enhancing intellectual and career development through challenging coursework grounded in the liberal arts. With a mix of graduate certificate pathways and master’s degrees aligned with workforce and economic trends, the Muhlenberg College School of Graduate Studies enables students to prepare for professional work and career advancement, with a focus on leadership and innovation.