Sydney taps into potential of 'mini-degrees'

30 October 2019
A suite of new health micro-credentials, some unique to the University of Sydney, have been introduced to help time-poor healthcare professionals upskill and stay competitive.
Clinicians walking in hospital

Clinicians and healthcare professionals stuck in a work rut or feeling overwhelmed by new advancements in their industry now have more options to strengthen their skillset with the creation of Sydney Professional Certificates.

There is a wide variety of courses available, ranging from Data Literacy for Health Policy Makers to the Psychology of Pain. The latter is unique to the University of Sydney.

Comprising of two units of study, Sydney Professional Certificates will enable professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies, treatments and techniques. Delivered mostly online by senior clinicians and experts in the field, these courses are designed with industry in mind.

The first roll out of health-related micro-credentials at the University of Sydney marks the beginning of future plans to introduce and offer courses offered by other faculties.

Designed to be flexible and bite-sized 

Professionals are often faced with increasing pressure from employers and hiring managers to stand out from their colleagues, by earning badges or micro-credentials.  

“Once you finish University, the responsibility for learning falls on the individual,” says Associate Professor Annette Katelaris, Director of Professional Medical Education at the Sydney Medical School.

“Usually in medicine, after completion of training, practitioners use journals, conferences and seminars to stay up-to-date. While these are essential, there remains a role for curated and assessed learning so that content is studied systematically, and the learner receives feedback on what they know and their gaps in knowledge,” explains Associate Professor Katelaris. 

Micro-credentials can help junior professionals progress their career or pursue opportunities in sub-specialty areas. They can also help seasoned professionals modernise their qualifications and stay abreast of industry advancements. Sydney Professional Certificates were created to meet this rising industry demand.

‘Top up’ your learning

Unlike other continuing education methods, Sydney Professional Certificates will rigorously assess learning and offer an opportunity for students to directly consult experts. 

“There will be professionals who may have already done postgraduate study in a previous life, who are seeking to ‘top up’ their learning and qualifications with changes in their field,” says Dr Hayley Fisher, Academic Director, Post-Bachelor and Continuing Education.

“Then there will be people who are thinking about study, but not sure whether they want to commit to a masters. This lets them dip their toe into the water with study, that can then be counted towards a longer masters program. The Sydney Professional Certificate fits both these needs and audiences.”

Finding the ‘best fit’ mini-degree for you

The University of Sydney School of Medicine has introduced 14 professional certificates. These new programs complement but are different from pre-existing postgraduate degree courses within the School given their highly targeted course content and short duration. They are best suited to advanced practitioners.

“If you’re a GP and the vast complexity of diabetes management has got away from you, you can come and learn in a case-based environment how to manage complex diabetic patients,” says Associate Professor Annette Katelaris.

“There has also been rapid progress in many other fields of medicine. For example, traditionally breast surgeons would treat the cancer and the plastic surgeon would reconstruct the breast. Now there’s a change in practice so that both procedures occur in the same operation. To respond to this development, we’re offering study in oncoplastic breast reconstruction for breast surgeons.”

Available Sydney Professional Certificates in Medicine:

There are six public health professional certificates available for study in 2020. In contrast to medicine micro-credentials, these courses are suitable to healthcare workers in any stage of their career.

“These micro-credentials are designed for those working in the fields of public health, health care, and health management and are best suited to those who want to upskill to take the next step in their career development – whether to specialise or gain a competitive advantage,” says Professor Joel Negin, Head of School at the Sydney School of Public Health.

“Whether you want to upskill in Indigenous health or biostatistics, or you see an opportunity to become a leader in the health arena or in the fast-emerging space of health technology assessments, these courses will help you obtain these qualifications in a compact package.”

Available Sydney Professional Certificates in Public Health:

Students who wish to pursue further study in a particular field can complete a corresponding degree program, if available, provided the relevant requirements are met.

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