In a world of many opportunities and choices, one of the issues facing fresh graduates who want to advance their education for a postgraduate programme is ‘which way?’ A Masters degree, which gives you an in-depth knowledge of a specilization of your first degree, or A Professional certificate- which gives you the edge a career and make you seen as a professional. Your choice should depend on life goals and your definition of success in life. The following would serve as a broad guideline on whether you should take a Master degree or a Professional course.
Choice of Master’s or Professional Certificate
- Career Goals: Your career and life goals should determine if you are interested in a Masters degree of a Professional certificate. When purpose is defeated, abused becomes inevitable. Ask your self, ‘what do i want to make a career in?’ If you want to become a revered I.T consultant, or a lawyer who is a senior advocate, would a Master’s degree take you closer? 10-15 years down the career, how do you want people to see you, or what defines your fulfillment? You don’t just enroll into a Masters programme simple because you finished NYSC and there is not job, rather do something that you would be proud of later.
- Employability: By this, i mean the ease of getting a job after acquiring either an Master degree or a Professional Certificate. In the Nigerian setting, some courses continue to be ‘hot cakes’ and having a Masters degree or a Professional Certificate would stand you out amidst the hoards of job seekers. A graduate with a Master degree is a prime candidate for a lecturing position, an employment which a first degree with a professional certificate would not earn you. Likewise, a graduate who is chartered in accounting, a professional requirement for accountants would easily get a job in auditing firms, banks e.t.c. Make your choices based on how easy the extra certificate would get you a decent job. People really don’t care about your master degree/professional certificate if it dose not bring home a pay check.
- First Degree Course: At first degree, many courses graduate you into a professional, without any necessary extra requirement. Courses like law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, architecture are all professional courses. Except you desire to become an academic, you do not need a master’s degree. Moreover, there are courses that still need extra certification to be called a professional, examples are Accountancy, Engineering, Insurance, Public Relations, Education, Computer science e.t.c.
While a Master’s degree can be earned in the average Nigerian university, there is a plethora of professional certification, usually organized by professional bodies. Some of the popular professional bodies in Nigeria and abroad are ICAN, ACCA,CIPM, CISA, CIBN (Accounting related), NEBOSH, OSHA (Safety/oil&gas), CCNA, CCNP, e.t.c (Computing), TRCN (Teaching) COREN, AutoCAD. PDMS (Engineering) e.t.c. While making your choice, depend on God, and ask counsel from experienced people, success definitely is yours. Drop question and suggestions in the comment box.