Certificate vs Certification

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by sanantone, Aug 7, 2022.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I've been trying to network with people in the tech industry, but it seems like most don't know the difference between a certificate and certification, and it's driving me crazy. No, a LinkedIn Learning certificate of completion is not a certification that certifies that you know anything. No, the undergraduate certificate in Cisco networking at your community college is not a Cisco certification. :emoji_face_palm:
    datby98 and Maniac Craniac like this.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    A certificate is proof that one went through some learning and development course.

    A certification comes from a professional body indicating you meet their standards for professional recognition.

    Huge difference.

    Example: I can get a certificate from a training provider that I took a project management course. But it is the Project Management Institute that decides if I've met their standards and, if so, designates me as a Project Management Professional (PMP). (I was a PMP for many years.)

    sanantone has this distinction correctly described.
  3. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Don't necessary blame users on LinkedIn for this practice.

    Sometimes education and training providers such as Coursera and EDX actually link certificate earners to the certification section on LinkedIn.
    This practice adds to the confusion. For example it can be seen on LinkedIn that a person earned Google or IBM professional certificate in a certification section of the profile.

    EDX, Coursera view those certificates as EDX or Coursera Certifications?



    Enroll Online & Get Certified. - Coursera® Official Site
    Learn skills and showcase your new talents to your networks with shareable certificates. Courses, Degrees, Specializations, Professional Certificates, Guided Projects and more! 24/7 Customer Support. Online Certification. 60M+ Learners. 150+ University Partners. Learn On Any Device.
    You can share your Course Certificates in the Certifications section of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn users can see your full Certificate PDF by clicking on the course title from your profile.


    To add your edX certificate directly to your LinkedIn profile
    1. Log in to your LinkedIn account, then go to your profile.
    2. On the right, in the Add profile section dropdown, choose Background and then select the drop-down triangle next to Licenses & Certifications.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  4. datby98

    datby98 Active Member

    English is not my mother language. In addition to all you have elaborated, I only know "certificate" could be a verb, but "certification" can not.:p
    Johann likes this.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    We could tell. Yours is 'way too GOOD! :)
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    LinkedIn should probably have a continuing education and training section. I put my non-credit certificates in the Licenses & Certifications section instead of the Education section so no one will confuse them with accredited credentials. Forage says that their virtual experiences should go under the Licenses & Certifications section. Some will put training academies and bootcamps in the Education section, which I don't see a problem with. If you're applying to the federal government, though, only degrees and for-credit certificates should go under the education section. They have a job training section for everything else.
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I think as long as the meaning is understood whether they list under Certifications, Courses or Education it's not hurting me. Their profile is theirs to build how they wish.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    That's not really my issue, though. Social media groups for current and aspiring tech workers are flooded with the same types of questions about how to break into tech. I expect inexperienced people to be confused, but (somewhat) experienced people don't bother to correct them because they also don't know the difference between a certificate and certification. The distinction is important because a non-credit certificate from some random place is not going to get someone the same outcome as having an industry standard certification.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I would like three sections:
    • Degrees (like my incredibly impressive A.A.)
    • Certifications (like my now-dead PMP)
    • Certificates and other education (like that time I went to an executive education program at Harvard and ran away with the diploma before they caught me)
  10. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, some people get a little bit confused as to what you're asking them sometimes. When you ask if they have any IT certificates or certifications, they may just be thinking too quickly and thought you meant one thing when you meant another. Interpretation may be different for people, someone beside you may understand exactly, the person across from you may think differently.

    I'm usually direct in asking someone if they have any certificates from a college or any vendor specific certifications, so they would understand which I am referencing. I usually get the "correct" feedback, especially when I ask them if they have ABC Certification instead of asking if they have a certificate in ABC. I'm not that great in getting my points across so I like to ask more...
  11. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

  12. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    I have effectively bashed my head into a wall, arguing the distinction between the two and that they’re not interchangeable. I’ve simply concluded… that I need to walk away from the conversations….
    Rachel83az likes this.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  14. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Was taking to a friend and he made the following statement.

    The whole propose of issuing certificate is to certify a person. i.e the certification process is by issuing a certificate and since one holds certificate that person is certified.
    The value of each certification is open to evaluation based on what it takes to earn such certificate.

    This is to certify that
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
  15. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I googled the differences between the two to see if there's a consensus and there is. Universities and non-academic websites mostly agree with the differences.

    Certificate: Signifies that you completed an educational course or series of courses. It proves that you have knowledge of the course content. Certificates are typically awarded by colleges or for-profit training companies, and the programs are non-standardized.

    One website separated certificates into two types: certificate of attendance and certificate of completion. Certificate programs range from proving exposure to proving mastery of course content.

    Certification: Signifies that you passed an examination and/or meet professional requirements, and certifications are typically awarded by professional organizations. Certifications sometimes require work experience or training. Certifications often require continuing education or retesting to prove that you still meet industry standards. They're supposed to be aligned with industry expectations.
  16. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    We are in agreement but proponents of certificate as certification also argue that final certificates especially undergrad or grad certificates are most of the time include examinations such as mid term and finals.
    Some have capstone projects etc.
    And in some countries allow a holder of certificate engage in professions.
    Others require additional certification examinations by professional bodies or government agencies.
  17. Vicki

    Vicki Active Member

    I never really gave this much thought before. Back in 2001, I went back to college to earn a Paralegal Certificate. I never considered it a certification. It just never sounded right. I just googled “Paralegal certification” to see what would come up. Sure enough, the ABA has a Paralegal certification test. And the distinction between the certificate I earned and being a certified paralegal are very clear and in line with what you said.
  18. Vicki

    Vicki Active Member

    I understand why your friend thought that, but unfortunately, it’s based on a misunderstanding of the English language. The document certifies that a course was completed. It’s not a certification that a person meets industry standards. (That would be something like PMI, CPA, etc)
    Johann likes this.
  19. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Exactly so. I have a WHOLE bunch of certificates. College, University, Career schools etc. Writing, Business, Computer Networking, House-building, Liberal Studies, Islamic Finance, Psychology of Sexuality, Programming --- you name it, I've got a cert. for it, just about. The only certs I had that EVER qualified me for an industry or occupation were a Real Estate cert that was needed for licensing - and a Mutual Funds cert. that was needed for the same purpose. The license was the qualification - not the cert. I never intended to get licensed - I just wanted the knowledge - and both certs are long-expired. I'd have to do them over, now, if I wanted to work in those fields. Not happening - plenty of other stuff to do.

    Me? Lots of certificates. Zero certifications. But they were fun! :)

    Vicki is right. A certificate does not necessarily imply certification - Few do - many don't. Oh yeah - there was a diploma though. A 3-year thingy through a University - in Credit Management. It DID qualify me to do that... for the next twenty years... well, I had to qualify for SOMETHING, didn't I. :)
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a stretch in a Federal Pen, come to think of it. Well, at least the PAY was somewhat better than prisoners get ... that's something, I guess. :)
    (And at the end, I could truthfully say I "retired" - not "was released.")
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022

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