They've been billed the new way to learn, an alternative path to job success, and Forbes lists three reasons why the "small but mighty" microcredential will make "a huge impact on the future of work":

1. Scalable and cost-effective training

2. On-demand, individualized learning

3. Business needs aligned with career aspirations

Also known as digital badges, nano degrees and micro-certifications, micro-credentials are becoming an increasingly popular way to boost your not only your education, but your skills, resume and career.

Explore a range graduate program options, from business and data science to healthcare and counselling. Whether you prefer learning online, in-person or after work, you'll advance your skills and career with ULethbridge.

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Succeed in a competitive job market

Whatever you call them, the University of Lethbridge is taking the trend seriously, offering graduate-level certificates that provide the foundation students need to succeed in a competitive job market.

“There’s not one definition of micro-credentials,” says Dr. Carla Carnaghan, director of the Dhillon School of Business Graduate Programs.

“It ranges from workshops and courses all the way up to what the University of Lethbridge offers, which is a recognized credential that falls within the provincial government’s provincial framework as a graduate certificate,” she says.

“There’s so much confusion in the market about just what a micro-credential is. For us, it’s worth emphasizing that it is indeed part of the School of Graduate Studies. This is not a continuing education program or a diploma. You do get a parchment at the end of it, not just a digital badge of completion.”

What's the difference between a graduate certificate or diploma and a master's degree?

Carnaghan says graduate certificates differ from master’s programs in that they’re completed a little more quickly and have less of a course load – 15 credit hours over 20 months part time versus 36 credit hours over 24 months part time.

The graduate certificate is a lighter course load every month, so if you’re a busy professional and would love to upgrade your education, even two courses a term might be a little too much for you, especially if you have a young family or parents to look after.” ~ Dr. Carla Carnaghan

Try Before You Buy

In addition to the flexibility the certificate offers, Carnaghan says it also provides an excellent testing ground for students unable or unwilling to commit to a more demanding master’s program.

“It’s almost like a try-before-you-buy,” says Carnaghan.

That’s because you can put credits earned from the graduate certificate toward a master’s degree, or even apply to transfer part-way through if you decide to want to pursue the master’s program instead.

“For example, our graduate certificate in Health Services Management ladders to the HSM master's. You successfully complete the additional course work and you come out with a grad degree,” says Carnaghan, adding that credits earned during the certificate need to be applied within a few years of completion in order to ladder to the master’s program.

Interested in levelling-up your skills, education and salary? Check out the range of online or in-person graduate certificates and diplomas, either as stand-alone programs or a step toward your master's or PhD, at ULethbridge.