If you have already completed a Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma, a Graduate Certificate is a great way to continue your studies without committing to a three or four year university degree.
What is a Graduate Certificate?
In many ways a Graduate Certificate is similar to a university Master’s degree. It is designed to give you very specific high-level skills and knowledge.
When you study a Graduate Certificate, it shows employers that you’re serious about improving your skills and that you are capable of working at a leadership level.
The other exciting thing about a Graduate Certificate, is that you don’t need to have completed a Bachelor’s degree to be be eligible to study it. Instead, you can apply if you have completed a Certificate IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Associate degree or Bachelor’s degree.
Where it sits in the tertiary qualification scale
Tertiary qualifications sit in a progressive scale (shown below).
- Associate degree
- Bachelor’s degree
- Graduate certificate
- Master’s degree
To help you understand more about these qualifications and what they offer, we’ll have a brief look at each of them.
- Associate degree
An Associate degree is a two-year undergraduate qualification that provides students with a broad, foundational understanding of a general area of study.
To qualify for an Associate degree you must have competed Year 12, or a Certificate III or IV.
Associate degrees are generally a stepping stone into further study.
- Bachelor’s degree
A Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate qualification that usually involves three to five years’ full-time study.
Bachelor’s programs are geared to give students a set of skills and knowledge in a particular field (arts, science, accounting etc.). They are designed to prepare students for professional careers or further study.
Students who complete Bachelor degrees will often move into graduate and entry-level professional jobs.
- Graduate Certificate
A Graduate Certificate is a more specialised qualification than a Bachelor’s degree. It is designed for people already working in their field or who have qualifications in that particular area, and who want to get more in-depth knowledge and advanced leadership skills.
People who successfully complete a Graduate Certificate use their qualification to advance their career, get a promotion or take on leadership roles. A Graduate Certificate can also serve as a pathway into a Master’s degree.
- Master’s degree
A Master’s degree gives students next-level skills and comprehensive knowledge across a specialised area of study. It takes around two years to complete, and involves a combination of course work and research.
People generally undertake a Master’s program to get a better or higher paying job, as a pathway into academia or as a stepping stone into a Doctorate degree.
A Doctorate is the highest level tertiary degree offered in Australia. It is a highly-specialised degree that usually involves in-depth research into a particular area, as well as a thesis project.
People who complete doctorate programs generally move into academia and teach at university, or work in high-level positions in the professional world.
3 reasons to study a Graduate Certificate
1. High-level skills and advanced knowledge
If you really enjoy learning and you want to challenge yourself and hone advanced knowledge and skills without signing up to a full-time university degree, a Graduate Certificate is your solution!
2. Get ahead in your career
Have you been dreaming of stepping up into senior roles, getting a pay rise or taking on more leadership responsibility in your job? A Graduate Certificate takes you into specialist territory and gives you the knowledge, training and qualification that you need to turn your career dreams into a daily reality. It also shows potential employers that you are dedicated to improving your skills and are capable of high-level work.
3. Advanced skills in less time
Simply put, Graduate Certificates are shorter than degrees. Most tertiary qualifications require 2+ years of full-time study. Generally, Graduate Certificates can be fully completed in under 24 months.
The benefits of studying a Graduate Certificate online
A busy life shouldn’t stop you from getting ahead in your career. If you have been putting off learning because you don’t think you can fit it into your schedule, studying online is your perfect solution.
When you study a Graduate Certificate with Open Colleges, you do it 100% online. There are no classrooms or lecture halls to attend. You access all your learning materials through OpenSpace, your online campus.
You also get to study wherever you want. In your lounge room, on your commute, in the park during your lunch break. Whenever you want. Early morning, on weekends or after the kids go to sleep! So studying around family or other commitments becomes a much simpler process. For hints on how to plan study around family, read our article here. And if you’ll be working while you study, check out this post.
You also choose the pace that you want to learn at. So in those weeks when you are swamped, you don’t have to stress about attending lectures. And when things settle down, you can pick up right where you left off.
With some planning and commitment, you can study to get ahead without giving up the life you love.
Make it happen
A Graduate Certificate really can change your life. It will give you specialist skills in your professional field, and can open the doors to new and exciting career opportunities. Best of all, with Open Colleges’ online study, you don’t have to sacrifice your job, family time or lifestyle for the hassle of attending full time university. Your study materials are ready when you are, wherever and whenever you want!
Get your Graduate Certificate with Open Colleges – online in your own time
If you are interested in learning more about Graduate Certificate study, check out Open Colleges’ Graduate Certificate in Management (Learning).