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What are the benefits of doing a graduate certificate?

By Emilly Parris | 06 March 2019

A graduate certificate can be a great way to improve your employment opportunities and fast track your career. But how exactly do they work, who is eligible and what are the benefits?

If you’re considering completing a graduate certificate, it’s important to understand what you can get from a certificate and how it can work for you and your career.

What is a graduate certificate?

Graduate certificates are the shortest possible course of study, and the least costly of all academic credentials.

A graduate certificate can provide you with the opportunity to take the next step in your career by improving your knowledge, or even helping you switch careers.

Certificate programs tend to fall into the following categories:
  • Those that build a specific skill set in your current field
  • Those that build skills in a new or growing specialty
  • Specific job training
  • Academic programs
Most graduate certificates can lead to higher pay and more opportunities. 

Who is eligible to do a graduate certificate?

In order to qualify for a graduate certificate, you must hold a bachelor's degree. 

What are the main benefits of a graduate certificate?

  1. You can build your credentials faster.
  2. It is less costly.
  3. You will be able to specialise.
  4. You will have room to negotiate.
  5. It can lead to opportunities you hadn’t considered.

1. You can build your credentials faster.


A graduate certificate offers the quickest pathway to acquire skills needed to start your career or make a career change. If you’re eager to start work and want to fast-track your studies, a graduate certificate is a great option. Most graduate certificates can be completed within a year or a year and a half. 

As a graduate, you may not have the time to dedicate too many years of study, which is why a graduate certificate can be a convenient way to learn quickly and focus your time on one area.

2. It is less costly.

money jar

Completing a degree is not only time-consuming, but also expensive. Cost is one of the biggest considerations when deciding whether or not to pursue your studies. Graduate certificates are much less of a financial commitment, which can be a significant drawback of other qualifications.

3. You will be able to specialise.

IT security specialist

A graduate certificate can add a specialisation to your current degree, and give you the advanced skills you need in order to develop competency in a specific subject. Specialisation in itself has many benefits, including improving your competitiveness in the industry as well as allowing you to work in an area that you’re interested in.

4. You will have room to negotiate.

african american woman negotiating

Studies have shown that more education typically leads to higher income potential. A graduate certificate can not only give you a competitive edge against a growing pool of candidates — it is one of the best ways to negotiate your salary. Negotiating your salary can be a challenge, which is why you have to be strategic about how you do it.

By offering more to your employer, you can ask for more and feel justified in doing so. So, while there may be an initial investment into your education, in the long term it will certainly pay off as you work your way up in your career.

5. It can lead to opportunities you hadn’t considered.

opportunities concept

A graduate certificate can also help you grow your network, as you meet new people through your studies (such as tutors and other students). You can connect with more people in your industry and learn from their experiences. Having a larger network of connections can lead to numerous career and personal opportunities such as finding work and improving your interpersonal skills.

When considering a postgraduate degree, there are many more options available beyond a master’s degree or a PhD, that can help put you on the career path of your choice. You can even use a graduate certificate as a stepping stone towards furthering your studies and pursuing a graduate degree.

Interested in further study?

Upskilled offer graduate certificates in Information Technology and in Management—two growing areas where new skills can broaden your career options and increase your earning potential.

To find out more, visit our graduate courses page or consult with one of our advisors about your career goals today!
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