TIP – Get Thee to School

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire – – William Butler Yeats

Whether we like it or not, more and more positions require formal education above the high school level. Many people pursue Bachelors and Masters degrees to move their careers and personal goals forward. A college degree can improve your chance at professional success and give you a great feeling of accomplishment.

The Best Use of Masters Certificate Programs

I am a strong believer and proponent of advancing education for everyone. For HR professionals, some of the best education options include degree pursuant programs focusing on
business and HR related majors. In addition to the traditional education experience with matriculated institutions, there are certificate programs that offer a similar experience but don’t require all the attributes of a degree program. These certificates are not professional certifications (i.e. PHR, SPHR, GPHR, CCP, etc) but rather are awarded by an educational institution for the successful completion of classes and coursework. I am sure you have heard of schools that offer certificate programs and may even be familiar with the coursework. These certificates provide valuable learning experiences but lack the rigor of a traditional degree seeking program.

From a recruiting standpoint, certificate programs are best used in conjunction with a degree program. Ideally, a certificate should accompany an existing degree to enhance it. For example, after achieving a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) a certificate program could be used to enhance a specific area (like HR) to enrich the degree. Another option is to use Masters Certificate programs to update an existing degree that might need some polishing. Perhaps you achieved a Masters in HR a decade ago and want to update your skills; this is an ideal profile for a certificate program.

A certificate on its own has relatively minimal value when it comes to career development and advancement. Certificate programs do not require acceptance to a college or university and are not under the same scrutiny as a course of study in traditional degree programs. If you have a choice of pursuing a Masters Certificate or a full-fledged Masters degree, I highly recommend going for the degree. The monetary investment in a Masters degree program is usually a great investment.

Don’t forget to CELEBRATE!



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