Committing to an online degree program means finding the balance between your career, life, and coursework.

So why would you want to add a certificate program on top of all that?

If you’re considering a degree from Capella University, there are three reasons to also consider a certificate. And it may not be as much extra work as you think.


1. Get a credential to move your career forward.

Certificates often take less time than a degree program to complete—usually less than a year. A new credential and fresh knowledge may speed up your ability to advance your career. Whether that means taking on more challenging projects, going for a promotion, or seeking a new position in another company, earning a certificate may help act as stepping stone between your current job and your goal career.


2. Round out your career with a certificate outside of your degree program.

Sometimes a degree program won’t provide the specialized education you need to meet your specific career goals. You may need a complementary certificate to round out your skills and credentials. Think of the certificate as your “minor” and your degree program as your “major.”

For example, say you’re thinking about getting a doctoral degree in business with the end goal of teaching. A college teaching post-master’s certificate could help get you there. Or, if your dream is to open up a community mental health center or teach and supervise other counselors, consider earning a business management graduate certificate while pursuing a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision (CES).


3. Dive more quickly into your specialization.

Some students find it frustrating to take the more general courses of a degree program when they have a strong desire to learn the “meat” of the subject. A certificate can jump you into your desired specialized topics more quickly, while also counting towards your degree program.

For example, Capella’s nursing informatics graduate certificate is comprised entirely of courses from the MSN in Nursing Informatics program. The certificate offers an opportunity to earn a marketable credential and at the same time accumulate credits that can be transferred into the MSN program.


How to Earn a Certificate with Your Degree

Now that you know why it might be a good idea, how do you do it?

Here are a couple of options:

  • In many of Capella’s doctoral programs, certificate courses are part of the program curriculum. All you have to do is say you want the certificate too.
  • If your degree program doesn’t have a certificate built in, you can still get more bang for your buck (and time) by adding on a certificate program that also counts as an elective for your degree.


In either case, note that you’ll need to apply for the certificate program separately from the degree program.

If you’re interested, talking with an enrollment counselor can help you find and add a certificate program that meets your career goals.


Learn more about Capella’s online certificate programs.