How a Graduate Certificate Benefits Your Professional Career

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Business professionals analyzing financial data

Business professionals interested in gaining a competitive advantage in their field can choose from a variety of educational offerings. One such option, a graduate certificate program, is designed to help students fill gaps in their professional knowledge or experience. Enrollment can also serve as an educational investment, as credit hours can often be applied toward a graduate business degree should students choose to pursue a master’s degree in the future.

What Is a Graduate Certificate?

Graduate certificate curriculums are designed to provide students with advanced knowledge in a specific area. Each certificate focuses on a specific subject, such as business analytics, finance, or human resource management. A graduate certificate can often be earned in as few as 21 weeks and can be stacked, meaning that students can complete as few or as many as they want. Upon completion, graduates often find they’ve gained valuable, relevant skill sets that can help them advance in their careers.

Why Pursue an Online Graduate Certificate?

There are a variety of benefits associated with completing a graduate business certificate. For example, while the average master’s degree program requires students to fulfill between 32-36 credit hours, graduate certificates can be completed in as few as nine credit hours.

Financial savings are also a factor. In July 2018, Forbes reported that the median debt for graduate students was $57,600, with one in four borrowers owing $100,000 or more. Graduate certificates, on the other hand, can be completed at a fraction of that cost. As such, this type of program is ideal for students who do not have the time or financial resources to complete a master’s degree.

Benefits of Online Graduate Business Certificates for Professional Development

Professionals interested in learning more about what a graduate certificate is should know there are dozens of programs available. For example, the Online Graduate Business Certificates at Ohio University offers seven certificate options, including business analytics, business venturing and entrepreneurship, finance, human resource management, management and leadership, operations and supply chain management, and strategic sales and leadership.

Business Analytics Certificate: This certificate program is designed to help students who are interested in pursuing business analytics roles but have no prior knowledge of business analytics, computer programming, or statistics. The coursework centers around helping students develop the ability to interpret, summarize, and communicate insights learned from data analysis. It also teaches students how to use data analytics to make informed business decisions, such as which type of marketing campaign is most likely to resonate with a specific consumer audience.

Business Venturing & Entrepreneurship Certificate: Upon completion of this certificate, graduates often find they have a better understanding of the details that go into creating a business or entrepreneurial venture. This skill set goes a long way to helping qualify them for roles in business venturing. In this track, students are taught how to construct a viable business model based on a business idea, and how to effectively develop and launch a new business or product line.

Finance Certificate: This certificate program is designed for students who are interested in pursuing roles in finance, as the curriculum focuses on corporate finance, financial markets, and investments. Upon completion, graduates understand how to describe and implement the capital budgeting process, apply valuation techniques to projects, and explain how numeric techniques and capital budgeting can help drive financial decision-making.

Human Resources (HR) Management Certificate: This certificate is designed for those who want to enter the HR field as well as for HR professionals who want to advance in their careers. Coursework provides students with a comprehensive understanding of human resources processes, such as hiring, training, and the implementation of employee health plans. Upon completion, graduates often find they’re able to align human resources processes to achieve synergy within an organization.

Management and Leadership Certificate: Coursework in this program explores practical applications that help students understand how to lead people and projects in an effective manner. In addition to teaching students how to play both leadership and follower roles in a team setting, the program teaches how to use various sets of information to make administrative, operational, and strategic business decisions. Graduates who attain this certificate often find they’re well qualified to pursue management and leadership jobs.

Operations and Supply Chain Management Certificate: Professionals who are drawn to careers in operations and supply chain management are likely to find this coursework highly practical to real-world challenges in the field. Upon completion, graduates will understand how to manage the consequences of disruptive events, such as learning a supplier is unable to fulfill an order on time. Students also gain an understanding of key supply chain risks, such as outsourcing and global logistics, and resources that can be used to help mitigate problems.

Strategic Sales and Sales Leadership Certificate: This certificate program is designed for professionals who want to pursue management roles in strategic selling. In this track, students gain enhanced knowledge and understanding of key sales functions, such as how to determine customer needs, interpersonal communication, and negotiation methods. Upon completion of the program, graduates are able to identify selling concepts, use sales analytics, and evaluate and apply sales management techniques to real-world selling situations.

Begin Your Professional Rise

Completing a graduate certificate can be especially beneficial for professionals who are seeking to advance in their careers, but aren’t ready or able to commit to a full-time master’s degree program. Discover how the Online Graduate Business Certificates from Ohio University can help distinguish you as a rising professional in your field.


Recommended Reading

What Does an MBA Curriculum Look Like?

MBA vs MAcc: Which Is Right for Me?

Why Ohio University?


American Express, “6 Business Certificates to Help Your Employees (and Company) Grow”

Forbes, “2 Reasons Why A Certificate Is Better Than an Expensive Graduate Degree” 

Forbes, “Is Taking Student Loans for Graduate School Worth It?”

Money Under 30, “Grad School ROI Calculator: Is Graduate School Worth the Cost?”

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Business and Financial Occupations” 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Business Careers With High Pay”

US News, “How Long Does it Take to Get a Master’s Degree?”

US News, “Weigh the Cost, Benefits of Graduate School”

US News, “What Employers Think of Your Online Graduate Certificate”