Graduate Certificate Programs in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Management
Graduate certificate programs in enterprise resource planning, or ERP, are non-degree academic programs that provide training in the use of ERP software systems and management practices to qualified students who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. These programs consist of a relatively small cluster of graduate courses (three, four, or five courses is common) that can be completed in eight to twelve months, which means a graduate certificate program can be completed in approximately half the time it takes to earn a master’s degree. Through courses in enterprise resource management, resource planning, logistics, and information security, students can add valuable skills and knowledge that can lead to career advancement and/or open doors to a new career in ERP.
In addition, graduate certificate programs allow students to pursue graduate studies without having to commit to a master’s program, which may be ideal for students who are thinking about returning to school while still working full-time in their current place of employment. Furthermore, graduate certificate programs can often be used as a steppingstone to further graduate studies in business or management, as the graduate credits students earn may be eligible to transfer towards a master’s degree in the future.
ERP refers to the use of information technology (IT) and database systems to rationalize and integrate the core functions and processes within businesses and other types of organizations. Implementing ERP software and management practices has several potential advantages. It is a way to optimize efficiency, reduce costs, and improve quality control in manufacturing, operations planning, production scheduling, staffing, material procurements, and resource allocation by tracking these processes in real-time and providing key members of an organization with access to performance metrics, financial reports, and other data to inform better decision making. ERP systems can also help managers forecast demand and respond quickly to market shifts, production delays, supply chain interruptions, and other challenges that can impact the success of a business.
Professionals who work with ERP systems require technical training in business intelligence software and databases, as well as an understanding of key business functions, including finance and accounting, sales and marketing, personnel and project management, and logistics and supply chains. As with other technology-based professions, ERP is an evolving field in which advances in communication technologies, as well as in data mining, data visualization, and data reporting systems and processes, continue to change the way enterprises operate, companies vie for market share, and management professionals coordinate their actions in order to gain a competitive edge.
Identifying and Classifying ERP Graduate Certificate Programs
Post-baccalaureate academic programs that culminate in the conferral of a certificate of completion rather than a graduate degree are classified as graduate certificate programs. ERP graduate certificate programs provide training and instruction in the tools, techniques, processes, and practices of enterprise resource planning and ERP technologies. These programs are offered by accredited colleges and universities, often through schools of business and management, and consist of a relatively small number of graduate courses in which students cultivate knowledge and skills that have practical, real-world applications. While most ERP graduate certificate programs accept applications from candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree, some programs require a master’s degree and may be designated as post-master’s or post-graduate certificate programs.
GraduateCertificates.com classifies both post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificate programs as graduate certificate programs. ERP programs are generally designated as such, although there is some variation in program names. For example, graduate certificate programs in enterprise systems and enterprise systems management are typically equivalent to ERP graduate certificate programs.
Enterprise Resource Planning Graduate Certificate Coursework
ERP graduate certificate programs are generally comprised of several core courses that cover topics in ERP software systems, ERP practices, and the integration of core business functions. Many programs also allow students to select one or more electives in relevant subject areas, such as business intelligence, enterprise resource application development, customer relationship management, predictive analytics, data visualization techniques and technologies, project management, supply chains and logistics, and/or cybersecurity. The names and descriptions of courses vary by school and by program, as do the specific courses that are offered as part of an ERP graduate certificate program. However, the list below draws on actual graduate certificate programs to provide a representative overview of the types of courses that students in ERP programs commonly complete.
- Analytics for Logistics and Distribution Management
- Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence Applications for Business
- Customer Relationship Management
- Enterprise Applications Development
- Integrated Enterprise Management Systems
- Principles of Cyber and Information Security
- Principles of Enterprise Resource Planning using SAP
- Production Planning and Control
- Visualizing Data to Design Strategy
Online Enterprise Resource Planning Graduate Certificate Programs
Many schools are leveraging advances in online teaching tools and technologies to offer ERP graduate certificate programs in formats that are more convenient and flexible than traditional, campus-based programs. Online programs allow working professionals to gain training and cultivate skills in ERP systems and practices without having to commute to a college campus. They also extend the reach of a program to students who live outside the immediate geographical area of the school offering the program. Thus, students who do not live near a college or university that offers a graduate certificate program in ERP or who would prefer not to attend campus-based classes can earn a graduate certificate in ERP entirely or mostly through online instruction.
Online programs utilize learning management systems (LMSs) to deliver live and pre-recorded lectures and virtual class sessions, course materials and assignments, and other learning materials. An LMS is an internet-based platform that allows students to participate in real-time classes and stream lectures as they are happening, and/or access previously recorded lectures, interactive class modules, and assignments using a computer or tablet (some programs may have smartphone applications as well).
Online instruction that has a real-time component and that requires students to be logged on to a program’s LMS at specific times is referred to as synchronous instruction. Online instruction that does not have a real-time component and that can thus be completed at a student’s convenience, 24-7, is referred to as asynchronous instruction. While both types of online instruction are effective, synchronous instruction provides more structure than asynchronous instruction, but it also offers less scheduling flexibility. Asynchronous instruction offers greater flexibility but requires students to exercise self-discipline and self-motivation in order to ensure assignments and course readings are completed by set due dates. Students specifically interested in programs that have weekly live classes should reach out to programs to confirm they utilize synchronous instruction before applying.
While ERP graduate certificate programs are commonly offered in fully online formats that do not require students to attend any campus-based sessions, some online programs require a limited number of campus visits for orientations, workshops, seminars, networking events, and other instructional activities that benefit from having students on site meeting face-to-face. GraduateCertificates.com classifies programs that are 100% online and programs that require up to three campus visits per year as online programs. Programs that require four or more campus visits are classified as blended or hybrid programs. A blended/hybrid program may be an attractive alternative to a campus-based program for students who live near the school offering the program. However, blended/hybrid programs are less practical for students who are not within commuting range of the campus at which the program is offered.
Examples of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Enterprise Resource Planning and Management
The schools listed below are examples of accredited colleges and universities that offer an online graduate certificate program in ERP. These programs are representative of the types of programs that are currently available online.
The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania offers an online Graduate Certificate in Enterprise Resource Planning through its Kania School of Management. The 12-credit program consists of two required courses and two electives in ERP systems and their use, as well as in related areas, including business intelligence, production controls, and customer relations management. The program is designed for students who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and who have completed undergraduate courses in accounting, information management, and finance. Students who have not completed undergraduate coursework in these areas can prepare for the certificate program by taking up to six instructional modules offered online by The University of Scranton. The certificate program does not require any campus visits. For more information on the program, visit The University of Scranton on www.scranton.edu.
Florida International University (FIU) offers an online Graduate Certificate in Enterprise Systems through its College of Engineering and Computing. The 15-credit post-baccalaureate program consists of five graduate courses that cover topics in ERP, supply chain management, and customer relationship management. Courses offered as part of the certificate program overlap with FIU’s Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) program curriculum, and credits earned through the certificate program can be applied toward the MSEM degree if and when a student opts to pursue further graduate studies in engineering management. The certificate program is 100% online and does not require any campus visits. For more information on the program, visit FIU at fiuonline.fiu.edu.
The University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNC Greensboro) offers an online Graduate Certificate Program in Enterprise Resource Planning Systems through its Bryan School of Business and Economics. Students in the program must complete three required courses in the principles of ERP, supply chain management, and logistics and distribution management. They then have the option of taking additional electives in topics like predictive analytics, cybersecurity, project management, data analytics, and IT systems management. This is a post-baccalaureate certificate program that can be completed entirely online with no campus-based requirements. For more information on the program, visit the Bryan School of Business and Economics at bryan.uncg.edu.
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