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Online Post-Baccalaureate Programs

Education Beyond a Bachelor's.

What is a post-baccalaureate degree?

It is any degree that you earn after you earn your Bachelor’s degree.

Earning a higher level degree can cost more in tuition and time out of the workforce, but the payoff can be worth it.

According to a study by the US Census Bureau, those with a Master’s earn $400,000 more over their lifetimes than someone with a Bachelor’s. A person with a PhD will earn $2.2 million more, and someone with a professional Doctorate such a medical degree will earn $3.2 million more.

Although tuition at some top schools may be as much as $50,000 per year or more, there is federal grant and subsidized loan aid available for graduate students. While the number of grants and loans isn’t as high as those available for undergraduate degree students, the federal government generally doesn’t consider parents’ earnings when assessing financial eligibility for need-based aid—so you might be eligible for more.

In addition, it’s not unusual for graduate students to get stipends and tuition assistance from their colleges in exchange for work as research or teaching assistants. Some graduate students get tuition reimbursement from an employer if the degree they’re pursuing is work-related.

What are the types of Post Baccalaureate degrees?

Here’s an overview of the most common types of programs:

Masters degree: These programs take approximately two years to complete, and usually requires applicants to hold an undergraduate degree before admission. However, some schools offer Bachelors-to-Masters programs in some subjects which allow students to earn both degrees within a period of four or five years.

This level of degree is required for some careers, including public school teaching in some states, as well as some academic research and teaching positions. A Master’s degree can be an asset to your qualifications, even in a field that doesn’t require them—as it demonstrates advanced knowledge in your subject.

Doctoral degree: Considered a “terminal” degree—meaning there is no other types of education ranked higher. It may take you as few as three or as many as ten years to earn a this level degree, depending on the school and subject. 

There are two types of Doctorates in the United States: Research Degrees and Professional Degrees. Research, usually referred to as PhD’s, are granted to those who have completed original research, usually in the form of a thesis or dissertation, that has contributed to the field. A professional degree is given to those who wish to practice a profession, such as medicine or law, that requires highly advanced education.

A PhD is required for most academic teaching and research positions, and a professional doctorate—as well as a state license in many cases—is required for many fields, including medicine and law.

Post baccalaureate certificate: Is a course of study undertaken after a Bachelor’s degree is earned. There are many certificates available, including: 

  • Nursing certifications

  • Psychology certifications

  • Teaching certifications

For many certification programs, such as teaching, a Bachelor’s is required—and the certification is required to teach or practice the profession.

Certifications often take a year to complete. They may also require hands-on work experience, passing of a standardized test, a portfolio of work or demonstration of expertise, and other criteria, in addition to classes.

Some schools offer certification courses that can be transferred to a Masters or doctorate. In these instances, credits can be transferred to a postgraduate degree program within the same school. In some cases, students may be able to save money on tuition by combining a certificate program with other requirements or combining two related certificate programs and then transferring the credits toward a more advanced degree.

Post baccalaureate education can take hard work—and sometimes a lot of money, but the results can be worth it. Graduates of advanced degree programs can earn thousands—even millions—more in their lifetimes than those who hold an undergraduate degree. Earning your advanced-degree can be an excellent investment in your career—and your future.