Difference between Online Diploma and Online Certification

Diplomas and certificates differ in the requirements and the time that is required to earn each achievement. Depending on your career goals, both forms of achievements may be necessary for certain fields. Diplomas and certification programs can be obtained at online schools via distance education.

Take a look at the 6 basic differences between online diplomas and online certificates.

Online Certificate Program at a Glance

  1. Certificates are awarded to students after taking a series of courses relating to a specific subject. Students often earn certificates to advance in their field. In certain technical programs, a certificate may be required.
  2. There are also graduate certificates. These certificates are taken either alone or alongside a graduate degree program. Students often use their electives to fulfill a certificate in order to become more of an asset to an employer.
  3. Core courses are not required for certificate programs. These programs are similar to associate’s degree however they take less time to complete.
  4. Online Diploma Program at a Glance

  5. A diploma is earned after completion of an academic course of study. They require the completion of specific academic courses and a number of elective classes. For example diplomas are awarded to high school graduates by colleges & universities, and other institutions that offer online diploma programs to students pursuing degrees. In most cases, credits from diploma programs can be transferred to degree programs.
  6. Graduate online diploma programs give students the opportunity to take master’s-level courses without pursuing a specific degree.
  7. Diplomas allow students to gain specialized knowledge without having to dedicate too much time or money that is required to earn a master’s degree. However, course credits from a diploma program can be applied to a master’s degree program.

It is easy to get confused when trying to figure out the differences between a diploma and a certificate. However, there are certain differences between diploma and certification programs and depending on your chosen field and career goals, both achievements may be necessary to do the job. If you are not certain which program to take, talk to your school advisor to point you in the right direction.


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Christine S. Baker is a professional blogger and webmaster of AboutOnlineDegrees.org. Her main area of focus lies with the educational sector. Check out aboutonlinedegrees.org for useful information, tips and resources that can aid you in earning your degree successfully at your own pace.

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