What Are the Prerequisites for a Graduate Certificate in Financial Management
With as much demand as there is for skilled financial professionals in today's market, the value of a graduate certificate in financial management is continuing to increase, and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future. Similar to a bachelor's degree in its subjective clout, a graduate certificate takes about one-third to two-thirds of a full-time academic year, or the equivalent thereof, to complete; the student sacrifices a well-rounded degree program for a much narrower focus on the subject at hand. Along with a wide variety of other fields, many financial specialties have graduate certificate programs available.
What is needed to earn this kind of accreditation, and how will it hold up in the job market?
Individual University Entry Requirements
A prospective graduate student seeking a certificate in financial management will have to meet all normal entry requirements for their university of choice. In addition, they will be required to meet the entry requirements of the certificate program faculty within that university. With a program such as financial management, specific department guidelines within that certificate faculty may also apply, particularly at a major university. These requirements vary, but will often include a strong background in the subject, as well as the existence of well-rounded qualifications to date, showing that the applicant is not going to suffer excessively from their lack of a more broadly-based graduate degree.
A minimum GPA is often required of graduate certificate students up to the point where they are being considered for their graduate program of choice. This number may vary from one institution to another, but a minimum GPA of 3.0 is a common benchmark. The idea is to reassure the administration that the student will receive the greatest possible retention and overall benefit from a condensed approach to the subject as is possible, as the demands placed on a student pursuing a graduate certificate are considerable. Along similar lines, the existence of any grades lower than a "C" in the student's academic history may be a disqualifying factor. Some universities accept a limited number of C's.
Graduate Credits Required
In order to receive their financial management graduate certificate, the student must accumulate a minimum number of graduate credits, and must focus entirely on graduate courses related to their intended subject matter. Often, they will not be allowed to take additional, irrelevant coursework while pursuing their certificate, or coursework that does not meet graduate program standards, even if they are able to maintain appropriate academic standards in all that is otherwise required. Transfer credits for graduate certificate programs are often highly restricted: for example, a student may not be allowed to transfer more than 3 graduate credits from another institution, regardless of how much relevant coursework they may have completed there. Graduate certificate programs are very tightly regimented in terms of the quality of the coursework associated with them; if you want a graduate certificate from a given institution, you must complete that institution's courses to earn it.
The stiff requirements and intensive education which underly a graduate certificate in financial management make it a worthwhile investment for those who are qualified, and employment opportunities for holders of graduate certificates are on the rise. Many students view graduate certificates as being one part of a solution to the rising costs of securing an education. More information about graduate certificates is available, while Forbes offers this advice on common financial management mistakes to avoid.