6 Benefits to Earning a Certificate after a Grad Degree

Getting a diploma is a milestone in American life. No matter if it’s a bachelor’s, a master’s, or a doctorate, receiving your sheepskin is a big deal. It represents hours of study, immense amounts of work, and a substantial commitment. When you finally have your degree in hand, you feel as though you can heave a sigh of relief. The very thought of earning a certificate after degree completion likely seems superfluous — and maybe even a little silly. However, earning a professional certificate can provide you with multiple benefits, and in this article, we will detail six of them. 

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Specialize in a specific area

It’s true that escalating levels of education also typically lead to heightened specialization. However, general degree programs rarely provide the kind of specialization that will prepare you for a particular job. A master’s degree may provide you with the prerequisites for a professional position, but it likely will lack the kind of specificity that your employers will require. Earning a grad certificate, though, will often provide exactly the kind of knowledge that you need to work in a specific area. In the environmental professional field, this is one of the main benefits of certification. 

Tests your previous coursework and serves as a refresher

Even though certificate of completion benefits typically include new knowledge, it’s the rare student that finds everything taught completely fresh. Any professional certification will necessarily include repetition of previously known information — and that’s actually a good thing. “Why?” you may ask. Such repetition benefits students because of a simple concept known as the forgetting curve. 

In 1885, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus published Über das Gedächtnis, a landmark work in the field of memory. Among Ebbinghaus’ many insights was a concept that came to be known as the memory curve. Ebbinghaus hypothesized that memory tends to fade most precipitously immediately after the knowledge is encountered, but still continues to fade at a lesser rate over time. He also stated that one effective way to boost recall was through spaced repetition of knowledge. That’s exactly what you’re getting when you take a certification program in your field. 

Can help with job searching and career advancement

Not only will you have advanced knowledge once you have completed a certificate program, but you will also have insights into what kind of jobs would work best with your new skill set. In addition to helping focus your job search, a certificate also helps you stand out from the proverbial crowd when applying for a position. Employers notice when a job prospect has a certification in addition to a degree, and it lets them know just how serious you are about your work. 

Grow your academic network and references

Certifications do more than merely impart knowledge. They also provide you with all sorts of connections. By completing a certification, you gain access to instructing academics who possess the necessary knowledge to aid you in every facet of your career. You’ll also encounter like-minded professionals who have the same training you’ve also acquired, face the same challenges that you face, and have the same victories that you pursue. In short, you’ll gain a new peer group. One old aphorism states, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” We’d say that proverb isn’t entirely correct, although it acknowledges an important truth: People are important, and they play a major role in the success of any environmental professional.  

Provides proof of completion

Some people like to say that we live in a certificate society, and they have a point. You may possess immense technical wisdom and have solid insights into your particular environmental disciplines. However, credentials of some kind help a potential employer or clients parse your professionalism. There’s not a crystal ball that allows one to peer perfectly into the past, and interested parties lack the requisite omniscience to discern your competence apropos of nothing. Certifications are concrete ways to show that you’ve completed a course of study, know certain things, and can perform certain tasks.  

It may be required for your desired position

Our final point is a pragmatic one: The job you desire may require you to have a certification. More and more organizations in the environmental field are recognizing the importance of certifications, and having one is often a deciding factor in whether or not someone gets hired. If you’re interested in becoming an environmental professional, check out the certifications offered by NREPSM. In addition to having thousands of credentialed members, we’re also officially recognized by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).