Graduate Certificate Programs

A graduate certificate is a set of 4 to 5 courses that help you develop career competency in a specific area of study, and can be earned by individuals holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning graduate certificates.

Why is the NEA Academy offering graduate certificate programs?

  • Whether you have a bachelor’s degree or have also earned a master’s degree, a graduate certificate enables you to develop and document an area of specialized expertise to assist you in advancing your career and moving up the salary schedule.
  • Graduate certificate programs each consist of 12 to 15 credits and can usually be completed within 12 to 18 months, less time than it typically takes to earn a graduate degree. And if you decide it’s time to earn a first or additional advanced degree, most of these certificates can be applied toward graduate degree programs at the same institution. Always check with the institution prior to starting any program to verify courses will apply toward a graduate degree.
  • Professional development helps you update your skills and knowledge to make you a more effective educator and/or leader. Additionally, professional development is required to maintain your licensure as well as advance your career. Developing expertise in a specific area of study provides value-added benefits that are highly visible to your school or district.

Why should I consider a graduate certificate program?
These programs offer a directed course of study in a specific area. If you have a bachelor’s and aren’t ready to undertake a master’s degree program, the certificate program provides you graduate credit in a specific discipline. If you do have a master’s degree and aren’t ready or interested in embarking on another advanced degree, these programs allow you to develop additional skills and expertise in a specific area.

Is there an advantage to a graduate certificate program over a degree program?
There is no single answer regarding this decision, because it depends on the career path that you feel is right for you personally. Generally speaking, the advantages of a graduate certificate program are that it provides the opportunity for you to concentrate on and develop skills and expertise in a specific specialty area, and that it enables you to earn graduate credits in that specialty area. The programs are offered by accredited institutions in specific content areas where master’s degrees are also offered, and your graduate certificate(s) can be applied later toward an advanced degree. (Always verify with each institution – prior to registration – the admission rules and any time requirements that are applicable to your situation.)

Do graduate certificates lead to licensure?
No, but most can be applied toward a master’s degree at the same university. Check with the institution for additional questions about articulation with degree programs or additional licensures. Licensure is a state issue, so you should always check with your state’s department of education as well.

Do NEA discounts still apply?
Yes. For specifics, please check with the institution offering the certificate program you are considering.

How do I get the member discount?
You need to Register and Login to the NEA Academy website. At the top of the page, click on the University Programs tab to find the university partner name and click the link. You can then select your desired program of study and click "Enroll" to be sure to get the NEA discount. This allows you to learn more about the program through a special NEA member page on the partner website. If you don't go through the NEA Academy site to inquire about or enroll in a program, you may not automatically get special member discounts.

What is the application process?
Once you click "Enroll" from the NEA Academy site, the process is outlined on the website for each partner institution. You must apply for admission to the institution to enroll in its graduate certificate programs.

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