What Is an Online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate?

If you're interested in advancing your career with a graduate-level education but don't want to undertake a full master's degree program, you may be interested in an online post-baccalaureate certificate. Certificates are available in diverse subject areas, and in some cases, they may be earned from the comfort of your own home through an online program.

Online Post-Baccalaureate Certificates Defined

An online post-baccalaureate certificate program helps you to acquire advanced knowledge and skills to supplement a previously earned bachelor's degree. Earning a post-baccalaureate certificate can enable you to change careers or advance within your current career. Online certificate programs allow you to receive your education without having to make regular campus visits or sacrifice important occupational or familial obligations. Online post-baccalaureate certificates are available in many subjects, including:

  • Accounting
  • Autism
  • Criminology and criminal justice
  • Educational technology integration
  • Environmental policy
  • Family literacy
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Health information management
  • Information systems security
  • Writing

Differences in Graduate Certificates

A post-baccalaureate certificate program is very similar to a graduate certificate program in that both require you to have previously completed a bachelor's program. However, a graduate certificate program also requires you to be admitted to a college's graduate school, but this is not always the case with post-baccalaureate certificates. Additionally, at least 50% of a graduate certificate program is made up of graduate-level courses, while a post-baccalaureate certificate program may contain few or no graduate-level classes.

Post-baccalaureate certificates often feature much of the same material covered by master's degree programs but in a condensed format containing fewer classes and lacking a final research thesis project. A post-baccalaureate certificate program also provides you with a taste of what to expect in a graduate degree program, so you can decide if you'd like to continue your education with a master's degree. Often, you can easily transfer courses taken through a post-baccalaureate certificate program to a master's degree program if you should choose to go in that direction.

Program Curriculum and Duration Info

An online post-baccalaureate certificate program may require as little as ten or as many as 40 credit hours depending on the subject and the administering school. The curriculum may consist of a small amount of required courses supplemented by additional electives, though some schools require no electives. The online course material is presented through Internet videos, lectures and assignments. You can interact with your professors and peers through Web-based discussion boards and e-mail. Many of the programs can be completed in as little as one year, though some schools may require you to complete it within a three-year period.

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