The Difference Between a Certificate and a Diploma

If you’ve found yourself wondering what the difference between a certificate and a diploma is, you’re not alone. Reading the course descriptions of each option can be quite confusing, especially when an institution offers both (such as us!). And when it comes to your education, naturally you want to make sure that you’re enrolling in the right course for you to ensure that you’re gaining the skills that you need and the right qualifications for building your dream career.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on to find out what the difference is between certificates and diplomas!

Length of time

The greatest difference between a certificate and a diploma is the duration of the course. As it is generally focused on area of expertise, a certificate usually goes for only a matter of months or weeks, depending on the level. On the other hand, a diploma is more akin to a full degree. They generally have a duration of 1 to 2 years, encompassing many different units that must be completed to successfully graduate.

The content

Similar to the first point, certificates concentrate on a particular area of expertise, providing students with specific skills and knowledge. Diplomas provide a broader, more holistic education, allowing you to learn about multiple areas of the discipline or choosing to specialise in one specific area.

Recognition

According to the Australian Qualifications Framework, courses are formally divided into separate levels. As such, this provides employers a standardised reference for employers to know what qualifications potential new recruits hold, and serves as a reference point for employers overseas who are unfamiliar with Australia’s education system. Certificates I through to IV are ranked at Levels 1 to 4 according to the framework, and diplomas are ranked at Level 5.

So which one should I pick?

Certificates offer a lot of versatility, as individual courses require much less time than a diploma. However, diplomas are a more advanced level of education, giving you an in depth theoretical and practical understanding of the discipline. At the end of the day, it comes down to what your needs are. Diplomas will give you all the skills and education you need to build a career, but if you’re strapped for time, money or already have a diploma and are simply looking to add some skills to your repertoire, certificates may be the way to go.‚Äč

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