Certification or Certificate?

02.10.2020 12:12 PM


It is the year 2020 and you are looking to expand your educational resume by going back to school.  You have looked at possibly adding to your background by earning a Certificate in Business administration or possibly a Certification in Healthcare.  As you begin your research, you realize that certificate and certification are not interchangeable.  You start to ask yourself, am I looking for a certificate or a certification?  What is the difference between the two or is there even a difference?  Will my employer reimburse one over the other?  Does financial aid work for both or must I choose?  These are just a few of the questions you start to ask yourself as you get further into your research of the subject.  Before we go any further let us explore the definitions of each and then we can determine which one meets your career objectives. 


Certificate – A certificate may be earned upon the completion of an educational program.  Much like an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, or Doctoral degree, a Certificate of Completion signifies that a learner has completed an educational program and has satisfied the learning requirements for the program.  Typically, a learner will complete coursework, activities, and some assessments to signify knowledge in the subject matter.  Certificates may be offered by educational institutions, employers, internal training facilities, basically anyone offering training on various subject matter.  Certificates may be earned by anyone willing to learn the intended subject matter and are typically given to the learner at the end of the course or program.  Certificates are not regulated by third parties and are issued at the discretion of the educational training provider. 


Certification – A certification is issued after a learner has completed an assessment on the tested subject matter.  Typically, a certification is issued by a third-party approval body recognized in the respective industry as a leader in the subject matter being tested.  Learners will sit for a certification exam after extensive training in the area of testing or if they have worked in the field of study.  A certification will include an acronym recognized in the industry which will allow a learner to work with or on specific tools or clients.  Some employers require certifications to work within the industry while some employer may not require, but prefer their workers hold a certification. 


Whether you are looking and growing your body of knowledge through study or expanding your ability to work through certifications, each holds value in career industries.  You can earn both a Certificate of Completion which prepares you to sit for a certification exam or you may choose to earn just one or the other.  Either way you have made the decision to expand your education and you should be proud of yourself and your accomplishments.  World Education.net partners with colleges and universities to offer Certificates of Completion to those looking to get more from the educational studies.  Most of our certificate programs prepare for industry certifications.  If you would like more information about what the requirement are for your area of interest, feel free to chat live with a career counselor today.