A certificate is typically the shortest course of study. It is also the least expensive type of academic degree. Certificates are a group of courses that follow a single subject that relates to a specific career. Typically, 4 to 10 courses are required to achieve a certificate degree and takes about a year to complete. Graduate certificates are also available, but they normally require a bachelor's degree prior to enrolling. Many institutions requirements differ however, so please take the time to research each schools' requirements.