General studies is pretty much what it sounds like — rather than focus on one specific subject, general studies students take courses in a variety to receive a broad education. At the certificate level, students can get an introduction to a number of different subjects. This would likely be used to gain some initial college credit before diving into an associate or bachelor’s degree program.
Types of General Studies Certificates
For the student who is interested in starting a college education, but doesn’t know where to start, enter the general studies certificate. Schools typically design these certificate programs for those students who want to continue their education, but aren’t sure which career path to take. This includes both high school seniors just graduating and adults returning to school who want to earn a degree or upgrade their skills. A general studies certificate can introduce them to a variety of degree areas while helping them fulfill general education requirements that can be put towards a more advanced degree. Application requirements vary from school to school, though generally you need at least this:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
A certificate in general studies, sometimes called liberal arts, is usually between 15 and 30 credits and takes a year or less to complete. Students can expect to take fundamental general education courses in the arts and humanities, social sciences, science, computer applications, and English applications. In addition to contacting their classmates and professors online through tools such as message boards and live chat, students may also be able to take advantage of online resources like career services, which can help them achieve their educational and career goals.
What’s Next for Certificate Holders?
There are limited employment options for graduates of general studies certificate programs. Students already in the workforce may be able to leverage their certificate for a promotion or salary increase. But more likely, it will help them prepare for continued education.
Depending on the school, students may be able to transfer their credits directly into an associate or bachelor’s degree program at a technical school or four-year university. At this level, they would be able to pursue an area in greater depth and graduate with a more marketable degree. And thanks to the foundational courses they’ve taken through the certificate program, they should be able to graduate in less time, too.