Digital CertificatesDigital Credentials

Difference Between a Certificate and a Diploma

The difference between a certificate and a diploma is not clear, and people eager to learn often enroll in skill-development programs or pursue higher education to earn certificates, diplomas, and degrees. And why not? The more you work on developing skills, the more updated you stay with the current trends and increase the chances of bagging your dream job. 

However, even if you are in a workplace of your choice, adding extra certificates to your profile soars your chances of getting promotions. It is always a win-win! So let’s learn the difference between a certificate and a diploma.

Today, digital certificates have become a driving force to lure people to get certifications. A program offering online badges is a number one choice, especially for millennials and Gen Z, who are always eyeing opportunities to enhance their careers.

What is a Certificate?

What Is A Certificate

A certificate is an official document that a recognized institution, whether physical or online, awards to participants of a course they undertook. A certification program is shorter than a diploma program and only focuses on a specific skill or area of knowledge. The courses that provide certificates have a more holistic approach. In other terms, these certificates are also called “certificates of commendation.” Read our blog on what is a certificate of commendation if you want to have in-depth knowledge.

Usually, certification programs include short-term courses in the academic field, skill development,  employee onboarding training, creative workshops, and more. The duration is generally from a few weeks to six months and rarely stretches longer.

Today, many organizations, including IBM, Deloitte, and Ernest $ Young, offer certified programs to their new hires. The aim is to help new employees gain expertise in particular fields quickly so they can come at the same pace the company requires. Gone are the days when a lead did the job to help new hires come on board and learn the tactics. 

Certified programs help boost skills and confidence among employees as they handle tasks independently. A major difference between a certificate and a diploma is the duration of time. A certified course takes a maximum of a couple of months, usually six to seven, to complete.

Many institutions that have acclaimed global recognition offer online certification programs. For instance, today, you can become a certified English teacher by completing a TEFL course from a recognized institution online. The opportunities to grow oneself with these certification programs have become endless. This is why people often prefer short certified courses in place of diploma programs. Especially those working people or those with no time to enroll in lengthy programs, look for certification online, a driving factor and difference between a certificate and a diploma.

What is a Diploma?

What Is A Diploma

Diplomas are awards that students receive after they acquire a more in-depth knowledge of the field of their choice. Diploma programs range from one to three or four years, depending upon the type of course and the institution. Though diploma programs are extensive courses compared to certified ones, they are not as comprehensive as degree programs. This marks the basic difference between a certificate and a diploma in terms of the complexity of a course.

Today, high schools, institutions offering vocational courses, colleges, and universities offer diploma programs, which open a pathway to pursue further education or a specific trait to enhance the professional sphere.

Check out the basic differences between a certificate and a diploma

Differences Between a Certificate and a Diploma

#1 Time spent on a course

The dution of the course offering certificates is less than a diploma program. As a certified course focuses on one skill, a diploma course provides extensive knowledge of a particular field, which is complex and wide. A certified course takes a couple of weeks to a few months to complete, whirale a diploma course cannot be shorter than a year or two.

#2 Cost

Diplomas are expensive as the course duration is longer and the education imparted is vast. Certified courses are often affordable as there are limitations on the scope of the course to one skill or area of knowledge, a much distinct difference between a certificate and a diploma.

#3 Credibility

Diplomas have a more solid say than a certificate. The reason is that institutions offering diploma programs are well recognized. Only those certificates that a high-profile institution or organization offers get enough weightage. So, in terms of credibility, diplomas are a clear win.

#4. Feasibility

Certified programs are much more feasible to undertake. Whether you are a housewife, an employee looking to enhance skills or a student, you do not have to spend years on them to earn certifications. It sums up as a perfect solution to both work and study side by side. 

To Wrap it Up!


Both certified and diploma programs help you increase your credibility and bag that dream job. Human resource professionals in many countries, such as Canada, give more weightage to the number of certifications one has in their respective fields before hiring a new candidate. Your chances are bright when you have documents to provide your skills and expertise. 
When it comes to the difference between a certificate and a diploma, though both tell about the knowledge level you have gained, diplomas have more credibility. But this does not mean that courses offering certificates have no value. It depends on the institution you choose and the credibility it holds worldwide. Getting into a certified program from Google is, of course, a hundred percent more worthy than enrolling in any other random program. Only enroll in programs from a well-recognized certification platform.

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Hi there! I'm Begum, the Marketing Manager at Sertifier! In addition to trying to reach more people with Sertifier's creative solutions daily.

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