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What is the difference between getting a certification and obtaining an M.A?

This question has always seemed to bother me. Maybe it's just because I don't even know what a certification is. But overall, I would like to know the difference between the both and is one better to have than the other? Also, How many years of schooling does going for a certification require? Can you even receive both? I've only heard of one of my friends going for her certification in the field of psychology but never bothered to ask about it. #masters #masters-degree #certifications #certification


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Ann’s Answer

This is a really great question, and I get this question a lot. When you get a certification it means you are certified or qualified to do that one specific thing the certification is for. For example, a teacher's certification means you are qualified to teach. A Master's degree on the other hand earns you the title Master of a specific field. For example, a MA in Psychology means you have mastered the knowledge of the Psychology field. So fields require both, and some are and not the other. Also, some certifications don't require any degree, like a medical billing and coding certification. You don't need a degree to receive one. Just the coursework of the certification. Other certifications can only be completed after you have completed a degree. These certifications are usually just exams that test your knowledge in the specific area. This would be knowledge you learned in your degree. An example of the would be a CPA or Certified Public Accountant. In order to take the exam to be a CPA, you need a degree in accounting, or similar field. You also can't get far as an accountant without the certification.

The truth is that the time to complete a certificate or a Master's will vary on the school and the program. There are masters that take as little as a year and as long as 4 years depending on the major and the school. The other thing with a Master's is that in most cases you need to have a Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. That will take approximately 4 years to complete. I am going to give you some steps to help you out, but I know that this is a lot to take in, so feel free to reach out to me with further questions.

Ann recommends the following next steps:

Narrow down what careers you are interested in.
Go to the website onetonline.org and search these careers. This site will tell you how much people are making in that job, what types of things you will do in that role, and most importantly the type of education people have in those jobs.
Once you know what is required and you rule at some careers, go online to further search what schools have the programs you need to go into that field.
Good luck!

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Wayne’s Answer

There is not a simple answer to this question that I am aware of. Basically, in your proposed profession of psychology, you can get a degree without doing a thesis. The thesis is written at the graduate level and is the culmination of what has been studied during that time. Having a degree in a subject as broad as psychology basically means you have a general understanding of the field but nothing specific. The certification process provides proof that you know about a specific topic within that field. there are several different certifications within psychology and those help employers or potential patients understand if you have the knowledge to perform in that particular area. The MA states that you are an expert in a particular area but is more specific than a certification. Others may have other views but I hope this helps.


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