About JIBC

October 4, 2012

JIBC Graduate Certificates

Cutting edge offerings enable students to master specialized disciplines

Pictured above and on the homepage: The first class of graduates from the Graduate Certificate in Complex Trauma & Child Sexual Abuse Intervention.

By Valder Belgrave

Many working professionals considering graduate-level educational options now have an increasing number of graduate certificate programs available to them, in addition to master’s degree programs. JIBC offers four cutting edge graduate certificates and is also developing a master’s degree.

The value of a graduate certificate compared to a master’s degree all depends on the student's career plans and life circumstances. A master's degree is typically a one to two-year, full-time commitment in a field of study. A graduate certificate is typically a very specialized, graduate level short program of study in a particular subject, which may apply as credit towards completion of a master’s degree. It typically consists of four to five courses (three to seven in a few cases), which can be completed in less than two years, on a part-time basis.

"A graduate certificate is generally more focused, more practical, and more economical than a master's degree," says Stuart Ruttan, Associate Dean, JIBC Centre for Graduate Studies & Academic Planning. “It is also quicker to complete, which is critical to students who may be working full-time and have other family and personal commitments. In response to these demands, we are looking at offering courses in a compact delivery sequence for some of these programs.”

Students with a relevant undergraduate degree, or equivalent work experience, can choose from several JIBC graduate certificates (as of Oct.12):

A cohort of 11 students completed the Graduate Certificate in Complex Trauma & Child Sexual Abuse Intervention in July 2012 – the first graduates of any graduate certificate program at JIBC. This certificate is a 15-credit, 7-course program, beginning with a 12 week online course followed by six face to face experientially-focused courses.  

“The certificate provides students with a balance of theoretical and experiential learning,” says Susan Forest, Program Manager, Centre for Counselling and Community Safety. “It’s rigorous, very practically oriented, and includes a significant skill assessment component.  No one else offers anything similar in the field of counseling here in BC.”

The difference is evident to grads from the program like Sonora Venables, who has been working as a Sexual Abuse Intervention Program (SAIP) therapist for three years. Over the course of the past year she completed the Graduate Certificate in Complex Trauma & Child Sexual Abuse Intervention.

“The courses I took really clarified both the purpose of my work as a therapist as well as how working with trauma differs from other therapeutic work,” says Sonora. “This course really increased my confidence in my ability to facilitate healing and added a ton of great tools to my metaphorical tool box. I find that I use the things I learned in this program with every child/ youth I work with on a day-to-day basis. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing instructors and spend time learning with very talented individuals doing the same work I do. I think everyone working with trauma should take this certificate.” 

Jacob Baisley is currently enrolled in the second cohort of the Intelligence Analysis Graduate Certificate program that kicked off in September 2011. “I chose JIBC because of a positive recommendation I received from a co- worker,” says Jacob. “I was looking for something that took into account my academic background in criminology, my experience working with government executives, and my passion for public safety policy. The JIBC Intelligence Analysis Graduate Certificate is a one-of-a-kind program that hits all of my interests, and my research yielded nothing but positive reviews of the Institute.”

Graduate certificates have become an integral part of professional education, particularly for students who are looking for specific skill sets to boost their career opportunities and job capabilities. For graduates of JIBC graduate certificate programs, the academic credits earned will also ladder into Master’s degree programs being developed by the Institute once approved.  The analysis graduate certificates ladder into the Master of Science in Applied Intelligence at Mercyhurst University and work is underway to develop transferrable pathways to other institutions.

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Last updated October 3, 2014