What Is a Diploma Certificate and Why Would You Need One?


About 1.8 million U.S. workers earn below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. And many millions more work for $15 or less, the consensus standard of a liveable wage in America. 

While there is a multitude of factors that contribute to this, one of the most prevalent is the lack of requisite skills and education to fill open employment positions.

A diploma certificate or degree is one of the quickest ways to transition from a low-paying job to average wages. And while these terms may seem interchangeable, there are marked differences between a diploma certificate, a certificate, and a degree.

In the following article, we’ll examine what each educational classification means and how to add them to your resume. 

certificate paper

A Certificate

Certificates are offered at many reputable and accredited educational institutions. Others are offered by businesses specializing in a certain product, like a software company or home improvement installer.

Certificates usually equate to less study time and cost than a diploma or a degree. Also, certificate programs rarely have a rigorous admissions process and require few prerequisites.

In many cases, certificates are a way to satisfy your own interest in a topic. Or you may choose to pursue a certificate as an entry-level step into a larger professional.

For example, you may choose to attain a nursing aid certificate as you work towards your nursing degree. In many hospitals, the certificate will allow you to work alongside nurses and gain valuable experience. Then, when you have your degree, you’ll already have some professional experience for your resume. 

Careers other than nursing, where a certificate is sought, include:

  • Real estate
  • Firefighting
  • Plumbing
  • Cosmetology
  • Web development
  • Construction
  • Vehicle repair and maintenance
  • And a variety of medical-related professions, like an X-ray technician or dental assistant.  

A Diploma Certificate

A diploma certificate, or simply a diploma, is an advanced form of the certificate described above.

A certificate program is often a narrowly defined yet intense program where a lot of professional education is covered quickly. On the other hand, a diploma often takes place for a longer period while maintaining the same level of intensity.

A diploma requires prerequisite knowledge in many cases. You’ll learn or demonstrate proficiency in the basics of the topic and then learn advanced techniques in your area of study. 

In both the certificate and diploma certificate programs, you need to research the educational institution. Unfortunately, there are often few safeguards at this level to guarantee quality.

Once you’ve satisfied your requirements, you’ll be issued a diploma or replica diploma for use in your job search or career advancement. 

Associate and Bachelor Degrees

You get these credentials by attending an accredited vocational, community, or state college. Expect an associate or bachelor’s degree to take several years and require prerequisite classes or equivalent experience.

Although expensive and time-consuming, expect to make ten of thousands more with a diploma over a certificate. The exception to this is specialty trades, where the ultimate goal is to own your own small business. Examples of this include plumbing, electrical work, and contracting.

Start Your Career Journey

Now that you know the difference between a diploma certificate and a degree, you need to make sure your interests match the programs. A great way to ensure you are making the right career choice is to make a checklist of your interests and match them with prospective careers.

You should reach out to professionals in the field or graduates from the programs to make sure they are happy with the results. Also, double-check that the expenditures and any loans you take don’t torpedo your later financial prosperity. 

Did you find this article helpful? Search this website for more educational and career tips. 


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