What Skills Do You Learn in a Public Policy Certificate? Key Takeaways

Posted by Kompass Professional Development on Mar 5, 2021 10:10:12 AM
Kompass Professional Development

Updated January 2023

Public policy refers to the collection of laws and regulations that governments create in response to problems or issues. Such directives are meant to support and promote the collective good.

A public policy certificate program focuses on helping students understand how those laws and regulations are put together.

Training at this level should provide an overview of the policy development cycle and the core skills needed to drive effective decision-making.

And there are plenty of reasons to consider public policy training. The field offers a unique opportunity to create directives that support the well-being of Canadians.

All levels of government rely on skilled policy professionals to help solve complex problems related to law enforcement, education, public health, the environment, social justice, and a host of other important issues.

In this post, we outline what you can expect from a public policy certificate. Find out what this type of training includes and decide if it's right for you.


There are several types of public policy training, including degrees, diplomas, and certificates. How do these differ in content, scope, and purpose?

Length is the most obvious difference. Public policy certificates are typically shorter than either diploma or degree programs. Many can be completed in just a few weeks or months.

Unlike diploma or degree programs, short-term certificates are designed to build on skills students have already acquired through previous education or work experience.

They offer a practical way to broaden your understanding of policy development or fill in the gaps in your existing skill set.

For example, do you already have a degree or some experience in government, and want to move into a policy-making role? A certificate program could be a good option.



What kind of knowledge and skills can you expect to gain from a short public policy certificate?

Obviously, specific course content will vary from one institution to another. But generally speaking, a shorter program will cover fundamentals such as:

☑️ The theory and context behind government policy development

☑️ How public policy issues are identified

☑️ How the consultation process works

☑️ The importance of diplomacy

☑️ How to research and craft policy options

☑️ How to communicate advice effectively, both orally and in writing

☑️ The roles of policy analysts and other participants in the policy-making process


Who should take a public policy certificate?

Anyone with an interest in formulating or influencing policy can benefit from a public policy certificate program. Typically, students already have degrees or diplomas and are looking to enhance their policy knowledge and practical skillset.

This training is usually aimed at those who are currently working in the public sector or would like to begin a career in government.

However, a public policy certificate can also be relevant to people who work with advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, and even private corporations.



Because they are targeted at working professionals, public policy certificate programs are commonly delivered online.

Many are offered in an asynchronous format. That means you aren't required to log in at specific times to participate in live lectures.

Instead, you have the flexibility to watch recorded lectures and complete coursework when it fits your schedule. You can work through the program at your own pace.

But that doesn't mean you're totally on your own. Instructors should be available to answer questions, facilitate discussions, and provide support. In some cases, they also offer live lectures or workshops.

When comparing certificates, be sure to ask about the online learning platform and how instructors engage with and support students throughout the course.



Think a public policy certificate may be a good fit for you and your career goals?

Check out the Public Policy and Administration Certificate from Kompass Professional Development.

The certificate can be completed over the course of seven to 14 weeks and is offered online for maximum flexibility. It's open to candidates who hold a post-secondary diploma or degree or who have related policy experience.

Click below to see an overview of the certificate, a detailed course list, or chat live with an admissions advisor. 

Explore the Public Policy & Administration Certificate


Topics: public policy

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