Certificate and Degree in the same field?

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In summary: Option B is the most sensible course of action, assuming you're intending to eventually pursue a masters.
  • #1
YoshiMoshi
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Hello friends,

Is it a waste of time to get both a degree and certificate in the same field? If for example I received a graduate certificate and a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, does having a flow blown masters degree sort of overwrite the certificate credential?
While it's nice to have both credentials listed on a resume, I'm wondering if it makes little to no sense to say pursue a graduate certificate in a certain field, with the full intention of eventually getting a masters in the same field? For example, if I just left the graduate certificate off my resume, and left only the maters degree, would it make any difference over listing both? Like I don't think anyone would care about me earning a certificate if I also have a masters in the same field?

If say for example:
Graduate Certificate in Mechanical Engineering = 4 Graduate Mechanical Engineering Courses
Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering = 8 Graduate Mechanical Engineering Courses + 1 Graduate Math Course + 1 Project Management Course

Option A
If I earned the graduate certificate first, and applied those same four courses towards the masters degree, I would have taken a total of 10 classes, 8 of which are Mechanical Engineering. The same work had I just earned the masters to begin with without the certificate.

Option B
If however, I choose NOT to apply the graduate certificate courses to the masters degree, but still earned both, I would have taken a total of 14 classes, 12 of which are Mechanical Engineering. Seems to me like earning both a graduate certificate and a masters degree in the same field, would make me more knowledgeable of the field, if I don't apply the courses from the certificate towards the masters.

Seems like Option B would make me a more knowledgeable engineer in my field of study. However, I'm not so sure employers would see it this way or even care?
 
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  • #2
YoshiMoshi said:
Is it a waste of time to get both a degree and certificate in the same field?
NO, it is not a waste.

(I only read that first sentence in your first post in the topic, and decided to respond immediately just to it.)
 
  • #3
YoshiMoshi said:
example I received a graduate certificate and a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, does having a flow blown masters degree sort of overwrite the certificate credential?
I cannot imagine any reason for that to be a problem.

(Say, "full-blown"; not "flow blown".)
(I have now read all of post #1.)
 
  • #4
YoshiMoshi said:
Hello friends,

Is it a waste of time to get both a degree and certificate in the same field? If for example I received a graduate certificate and a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, does having a flow blown masters degree sort of overwrite the certificate credential?
While it's nice to have both credentials listed on a resume, I'm wondering if it makes little to no sense to say pursue a graduate certificate in a certain field, with the full intention of eventually getting a masters in the same field? For example, if I just left the graduate certificate off my resume, and left only the maters degree, would it make any difference over listing both? Like I don't think anyone would care about me earning a certificate if I also have a masters in the same field?

If say for example:
Graduate Certificate in Mechanical Engineering = 4 Graduate Mechanical Engineering Courses
Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering = 8 Graduate Mechanical Engineering Courses + 1 Graduate Math Course + 1 Project Management Course

Option A
If I earned the graduate certificate first, and applied those same four courses towards the masters degree, I would have taken a total of 10 classes, 8 of which are Mechanical Engineering. The same work had I just earned the masters to begin with without the certificate.

Option B
If however, I choose NOT to apply the graduate certificate courses to the masters degree, but still earned both, I would have taken a total of 14 classes, 12 of which are Mechanical Engineering. Seems to me like earning both a graduate certificate and a masters degree in the same field, would make me more knowledgeable of the field, if I don't apply the courses from the certificate towards the masters.

Seems like Option B would make me a more knowledgeable engineer in my field of study. However, I'm not so sure employers would see it this way or even care?
* With respect to your Option B, it's highly unlikely that any employer will carefully scrutinize your transcripts to uncover that your graduate certificate + master's included more coursework than a master's alone (or certificate + master's under Option A). Even if they did, the number of courses per se will not be dispositive in a hiring decision at that level (the extra courses may help if they are focussed on a topic of special interest to the employer).

* You've got a distorted perspective here. It's the progression of education and the highest education level attained that matters; not whether an advanced education level "overwrites" a lower education level.

One example. I don't know what country you're in. But in the US, upon graduating from high school, you can enroll in a community college for a two-years associate's degree. If you choose, you can stop there. In many (not all) instances, you can also choose to transfer credits earned in the community college to a 4-year college for a bachelor's degree. If you choose the second route, in your resume, would you list both the associate's degree and the bachelor's degree? Yes. Would the associate's degree affect a hiring decision? No.

Another example. Suppose you complete the following sequence: bachelor's, master's, PhD (all in mechanical engineering). Would you include the bachelor's and master's on your resume? Yes. Would the
bachelor's and master's degree affect a hiring decision? No (as long as they are all in the same field as the PhD). [If they are in different fields, that could be a plus or a minus depending on the position and hiring manager.]
 
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  • #5
For what it's worth, if a CV came to me that looks like this:

EDUCATION
Master of Science: Mechanical Engineering 2020 - 2022
- coursework includes advanced fluid dynamics, heat transfer and mathematical modelling
- C.M. Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence

Graduate Certificate: Mechanical Engineering 2020
- coursework in advanced finite element methods

My presumption would be that the candidate had completed the master's degree and along the way had taken some additional specialized courses in a particular sub-field that led to an independent certificate.

If the master's certificate was earned during and as a component of the master's degree, I would expect the CV to look more like this:

EDUCATION
Master of Science: Mechanical Engineering 2020 - 2022
- coursework includes advanced fluid dynamics, heat transfer, mathematical modelling and
advanced finite element methods
- C.M. Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence
- completed Graduate Certificate (2020)

Either way it would likely be discussed in detail in an interview, at which point you can clarify. But it would be best not to come across as looking like you're presenting yourself like you've done more work than you actually have.
 
  • #6
Choppy said:
C.M. Burns Award
Capital!
 
  • #7
Choppy said:
C.M. Burns Award

Vanadium 50 said:
Capital!
I worked in a power plant where everyone called the Assistant Plant Manager "Smithers"
 
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Related to Certificate and Degree in the same field?

1. What is the difference between a certificate and a degree in the same field?

A certificate program typically focuses on a specific skill or set of skills within a particular field, while a degree program offers a broader education in that field. Certificate programs are usually shorter in duration and may not require as many general education courses as a degree program.

2. Can I get a certificate and a degree in the same field at the same time?

Yes, it is possible to pursue both a certificate and a degree in the same field simultaneously. However, it may require careful planning and coordination with your academic advisor to ensure that the courses from both programs do not overlap.

3. Will having a certificate and a degree in the same field give me an advantage in the job market?

Having both a certificate and a degree in the same field can demonstrate a strong commitment to that field and a diverse range of skills. This may give you an advantage in the job market, as employers may see you as a well-rounded candidate with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

4. Are certificate programs and degree programs equally respected by employers?

It ultimately depends on the employer and the specific field. In some industries, a certificate may hold the same weight as a degree, while in others a degree may be preferred. It is important to research the expectations and requirements of your desired career path to determine which option may be best for you.

5. Can I use my certificate credits towards a degree in the same field in the future?

In many cases, yes. Some universities may allow you to transfer credits from a certificate program towards a degree program in the same field. However, this may vary depending on the institution and program, so it is best to check with your academic advisor for specific details.

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