Master’s Degree or Certifications? When do they help? 

Hand holding a Masters Degree towards camera, the person is dressed in their cap and gown.

Master’s Degree or Certifications? When do they help? 

As you continue to challenge yourself and grow in your career, you may wonder if pursuing a Master’s Degree or professional certification will help you reach your career goals. But which one is the right choice? We’re defining and discussing how a Master’s Degree and Certification can help you attain your goals.  


Defined Terms 

A master’s degree is in-depth program that provide a mastering of a field of study through two to three years’ worth of graduate-level course work. This may be a good course of action if you are hoping to gain an overarching and more in depth understanding of your field. Depending on your industry or field of study, a master’s degree can be more beneficial to growing your career and reaching leadership positions- should that be your goal.  

On the other hand, certifications are generally shorter programs of study in a very focused and specific subject area. Typically, certificates can be completed in a year or less and only require four to seven courses. Many certifications can be completed online and will help you learn in depth about a specific part of your desired field.  


Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree 

There are many master’s degrees that can be completed in one year. These are generally full-time and require rigorous time and work. A master’s degree can give you a leg up when interviewing for certain positions and can earn you a higher starting salary than candidates who may not have a master’s degree.  


Benefits of a Obtaining a Certification   

Certifications are almost always more cost effective than a master’s degree. They are less time consuming as well and can be helpful if you want to learn more about a specific industry. Additionally, certification programs are growing in popularity and more are becoming available in many industries and disciplines.  


The Final Word 

 Do you research! Have informational interviews and ask others in your field who have completed one of these degrees.  


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