Certification vs. Certificate

How is Certification Different Than a Certificate?




  • Results from an assessment process

  • Results from an educational process

  • For individuals

  • For individuals

  • Typically requires some amount of professional experience

  • For both entry-level and experienced professionals

  • Awarded by a third-party, standard-setting organization

  • Awarded by an educational program or institution

  • Indicates mastery/competency as measured against a defensible set of standards, usually by application or exam

  • Indicates completion of a course or series of courses with specific focus; is different from a degree-granting program

  • Standards set through a defensible, industry-wide process (job analysis) that results in an outline of required knowledge and skills

  • Course content determined in a variety of ways (eg, faculty committee, workshop leader)

  • Typically results in a designation to use after one's name

  • Usually listed on a resume detailing education; may issue a paper certificate

  • Has ongoing requirements in order to maintain; holder must demonstrate he/she continues to meet requirements

  • Is the end result; demonstrates knowledge of course content at the end of a set period in time

Chart adapted from the CFRE International website