Moving up the ranks in a nonprofit organization takes more than dedication to the cause. Education beyond a bachelor’s degree may be required even for entry-level positions, and many professionals find very specific skills are needed to move into the executive offices. Nonprofit executive certificate programs deliver a way to obtain this important, industry-specific training in a relatively short amount of time.
Nonprofit executive certificate programs are designed to provide highly targeted education for those seeking to enter or advance in the field. These programs may vary in course design from one school to another, but all are meant to provide current or aspiring nonprofit executives with the training they need to excel.
Nonprofit executive certificates should cover the distinct knowledge and skills required to advance in this field. The length these programs can vary, with some courses only taking a few weeks to complete. Requirements often differ between schools, but at least three courses are generally required to earn credentials.
Such courses may focus on a variety of subjects, including:
Certificate programs are often geared toward those with nonprofit management experience and people at the entry level as well. Courses can sometimes be selected to meet a professional’s specific needs or areas of interest.
While completing a nonprofit executive certificate may not be strictly required for professionals seeking to obtain top positions, many industry leaders say continuing education does increase the likelihood of advancement. In fact, many nonprofit leadership positions now require some type of post-baccalaureate training even for those who have majored in nonprofit management at the undergraduate level. Certificate programs can provide the specific knowledge executives need to successfully manage nonprofits. They can also help candidates seeking higher-level positions stand out from the competition.
Nonprofit certificate programs are also recommended because they can provide the industry-specific knowledge some nonprofit employees lack. Since a significant number of such employees join their organizations with degrees in different focus areas, these tailored, fast-track programs can be especially helpful. Education majors, for example, may find themselves working at nonprofits dedicated to helping students obtain the funding they need for college – even though they’re not likely to have the leadership and fund development skills needed to help them advance. A nonprofit executive certificate program can help fill in the gaps.
Nonprofit professionals and those considering entering this career field are likely to find nonprofit executive education programs provide them the edge required to get their resumes noticed. Students interested in advancing their nonprofit careers are urged to conduct their own research, as program requirements may vary from school to school. Certain employers may also have specific educational requirements as well.