Difference Between Certificate and Diploma

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Difference Between Certificate and Diploma

Apart from the popular educational qualifications like a degree or an associate degree, there are a host of short-term courses you can pursue to gain a professional qualification. The most popular of these are certificates or diploma courses. While a degree in any field aims to impart students with the foundational and advanced knowledge, certificates and diplomas are more skill-based and provide learners with the basic training in the chosen specialisation. If both these facilitate skill-development, how to decide which one’s better for you? Through this blog, we have brought you a detailed analysis of the difference between certificate and diploma to help you make the right decision.

What is a Certificate?

A certificate represents an official document indicating that the prospective student has completed the required coursework in a particular area or skill. The key point of difference between a certificate and a diploma is that a certificate is more skill-oriented, i.e. based on a specific skill (not a broader area of study) like designing, language, beautician, etc. and completing the training, students are provided with the certificate showing that they have accomplished a certain level of qualification in the specific skill or area. Certificate courses are available in a wide range of specializations like languages, arts, and design, computer science, etc. 

Unlike degrees, certificates can be earned in a shorter span of time. It has now become an easier and popular option to explore multiple fields through online or offline certificate courses.

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Certificate 

Certificates are advantageous in the following ways: 

  • There are multiple start dates for the programs throughout the year
  • No waiting lists for the admission of a candidate
  • Classes are being held at times that provide support to working professionals 

One disadvantage of a certificate is that it can be somewhat limited. A candidate has various career options based on the certification but sometimes it is difficult without any additional work experience or certifications. 

What is a Diploma? 

A diploma represents that the student attained the mentioned qualification in a specific field of study. There are a variety of diploma courses available across the globe through which you can gain foundational knowledge of the chosen field or subject, such as Diploma in Civil Engineering, Diploma in Interior Designing etc. Discussing the difference between certificate and diploma, the latter is considered more in-depth than a certificate course and thus can take up to 12-18 months for completion. You can gain a diploma either through traditional classroom teaching or online.  

Now that you are familiar with the basic definition and features of these two, let’s elaborate upon some of the major factors of difference between certificate and diploma:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Diploma

Diplomas are helpful in the following ways: 

  • They cost less than a degree and are cost-effective
  • They can be completed in a short span of time
  • No requirement of prerequisites 
  • Classes are focused on the exact skills you will need in the field

One of the major differences between a diploma and an associate degree is the general education courses. A candidate requires this to receive an associate’s degree but not in the case of a Diploma.  

Certificate vs Diploma: Coursework 

Certificate courses mainly provide students with a basic outline of their chosen subject, skill or topic and focus on more on training them with the requisite knowledge to understand their chosen area of study. On the other hand, a diploma gives you an insightful overview of the field, helping you understand its nuisances and further builds upon a strong foundation of the core concepts thus preparing you for a higher qualification. This is one of the major points of difference between certificate and diploma that the curriculum and coursework for these two are structured in a distinctive manner. If you aim to study Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning, then you can go for a certificate in Machine Learning but if you aspire to pursue higher education in this field, then the better option is to opt for a diploma.

Certificate vs Diploma: Duration

Another distinguishing parameter between certificate and diploma is the duration in which they can be completed. Often, certificates can be completed in a shorter duration than the diplomas. Universities and institutes commonly offer certificate courses within the duration of 3 months to 6 months. On the other hand, diplomas are offered at undergraduate as well as postgraduate levels thus are longer in duration extending up to 1- 1.5 years. While choosing between certificate and diploma, you must consider how much time you can devote towards studying a particular skill or field and then select accordingly.

Scores of options are available when it comes to earning a certificate or diploma both in India and abroad. The best part of pursuing any of these abroad is that you can explore immense global exposure within a short period of time and also gain a certain educational qualification. After this, you can either aim towards higher education or find job opportunities internationally. Further, you can opt to learn some new skill or you can enhance your knowledge of a domain through these courses. Regardless of the difference between certificate and diploma, you will come across a number of fields for these two. Listed below are some of the popular options in certificate and diploma courses. 

Diploma Courses Certificate Courses
Diploma in Computer Application
Diploma in Physiotherapy
Diploma in Engineering
Diploma in Digital Marketing
Diploma in Agriculture
Diploma in Taxation
Diploma in Radiology
Diploma in Yoga
Diploma in Elementary Education
Certificate in Library and Information Science
Certificate in Buddhist Studies
Certificate in Public Relations
Certificate in Disaster Management
Certificate in Beekeeping
Certificate in Auxiliary Nursery Midwifery (ANM)
Certificate in Functional English
Certificate in Photography
Certificate in Applied Arts
What is better a Certificate or Diploma?

Some institutions use ‘certificate’ to describe programs that focus on very specialized knowledge whereas ‘diploma’ is considered more comprehensive of an entire subject area. For eg: Computer Programming.

Will a Certificate get me a job?

Earning a certificate can help you get a job in the desired field or advance your career. Sometimes it also works as a supplement to an associate or bachelor’s degree. 

What level is a Diploma?

A Diploma can be awarded for any level, i.e a Level 2 diploma, Level 3 diploma, and so on. A diploma qualification refers to the number of learning credits a student will study. 

Is a Diploma worth it? 

A diploma qualification will have you in the workforce, earning a better award rate in a faster time, for less financial investment than a University degree. 

Hence, we hope that this blog helped you understand the difference between a certificate and a diploma. Looking forward to pursuing a short-term course abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts can guide you in selecting the best certificate or diploma and university which aligns with your skills, interests and preferences. Sign up for an e-meeting with us today!

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