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What is a Graduate Certificate?

The benefits of education and continuing education in pursuit of a professional career are clear. Most professional positions require a minimum of specialized vocational training and are much more likely to require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. For career advancement and movement into management positions, earning a post-baccalaureate or post-master’s degree are excellent options for professionals.

Post-baccalaureate and post-master’s graduate certificates provide specialized training and coursework in specific areas of a discipline or field for the development of more specific skills and knowledge. The number of required credits varies by institution or organization, but typically the certificates require completion of 12 to 15 credits with some programs requiring completion of up to 40 credit hours.

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Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Overview
Criminal justice post-baccalaureate certificates are beneficial for anyone interested in a career working in corrections, the court system, juvenile justice, parole and probation, and law enforcement. Programs and curriculum are designed for graduates of a bachelor’s level degree program in criminal justice or a related field, and some programs are also designed for individuals with extensive experience in the criminal justice field.

Post-baccalaureate certificates at accredited higher learning institutions are master’s level courses, and are often transferable into a master’s degree program after completion. Examples of courses in certificate programs include ethics, liability, research methods in criminal justice, criminology, justice policies, jurisprudence, crime theory, crime control strategies, criminal law, criminal justice research, juvenile offenders, offender rehabilitation, geographic criminology, criminal behavior, crime mapping, crime analysis, and profiling.

Post-Master’s Certificate Overview
Post-master’s certificates offer continuing education for graduates who have earned a master’s degree. At most post-secondary institutions, certificate programs have the same requirements for admission as master’s degree programs. Some possible graduate certificates in the criminal justice field include criminal justice administration, corrections, probation and parole, federal law enforcement, intelligence and crime analysis, behavioral analysis, justice management, executive police managements and administration.

Post-master’s certificates are helpful in career advancement and can often be applied to master’s degrees at many universities. Requirements for completion are typically between 12 and 36 credits. In some cases, the certificate is referred to as a specialist certificate.

Possible courses in a post-master’s certificate include delinquency, law enforcement techniques and methodologies, restorative justice, criminal justice management and administration, strategic planning, law and public policy, public management techniques, public sector employee relations, administrative ethics, and criminal justice leadership. Many programs also require a written project to be completed at the end of the coursework before certificates are conferred

For criminal justice professionals interested in career advancement or moving toward completion of a master’s degree in criminal justice, a post-baccalaureate or post-master’s graduate certificate is an option to consider for gaining the specializations needed for more professional opportunities.

Check out our Top Online Criminal Justice Degree Programs for 2015

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