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What’s the Difference Between a Certificate and a Diploma?

These days everyone is talking about going back to school to advance their careers. And if you don’t have time to do a traditional degree program, getting a diploma or certificate is a great alternative.

Relatively quick and less expensive than a bachelor’s degree, certificates and diplomas can help you train in a specific area or skill that can secure your job, advance your career, and even put some extra dollars in your pocket.

But what’s the difference between the two, and how do you know which is right for you?

While there is a fair amount of overlap between certificate and diploma programs, and with some schools appearing to use the names interchangeably, it can be confusing to differentiate between the two. In general, though, there are a few main differences between certificates and diplomas.

Certification Programs
Certification programs are typically specialized in one specific skill or area, which you’ll study and learn in one or two courses. These programs don’t offer a broad overview of a field or industry, and are often a good option for someone who already has a degree or work experience in the field.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re an accountant with a bachelor’s degree. You want to get into forensic accounting because it’s a hot new part of the industry, but don’t want to go back to school for another degree. A forensic accounting certification will build on the accounting skills you already have, and teach you the need-to-know basics of forensic accounting.

Diploma Programs
Diploma programs, on the other hand, tend to be longer and more in-depth. They allow you to study a specific area of specialization and get a good overview of the field, without earning an actual degree.

These comprehensive programs are a great option for someone who wants to make a career change and get into a new field. If you were interested, for example, in a graphic design career, a graphic design diploma program would consist of multiple classes that would teach you fundamentals of graphic design, as well as different computer programs and technologies utilized in that industry.

For more information, visit this certificates and diplomas webpage.