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Advancing Your Nonprofit Career Through Continuing Education

imageGraduate degrees and professional certifications can provide nonprofit jobseekers with a leg up in their careers; in some cases, a degree or certification in a specific field may even be required for certain positions. Even if not required, post-bachelor’s education provides the opportunity to establish professional contacts, experience an internship, and increase knowledge about a specialized function or field within the nonprofit sector.

How do you decide if a graduate degree or professional certification is necessary to reach your career goals? Here are some ideas.

To Go or Not to Go?

The decision to invest in a graduate or continuing education program is an important one. These programs typically require a substantial financial and time investment. According to Cassie Brown, Vice President of Commongood Careers, knowing what you’ll get out of a particular program can inform your decision.

“Generally, there are two reasons to go to graduate school, ” Cassie says. “The first reason is to acquire job-specific, vocational training as required for positions in certain fields. For example, if you want to be a public school teacher, you get a Master’s in Teaching with certification.”

“The second reason is to gain experiential or environmental knowledge, such as pursuing a Master’s of Education in order to work as an administrator in a nonprofit or school setting. While this type of training is more theoretical, it provides the intellectual knowledge needed to operate in a particular professional environment or arena, ” Cassie adds.

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