What Is the Difference Between a Certification and a Certificate?

Certification and CredentialCertificate
The basis of a certification process arises from peer groups creating a job task analysis of the credential based on required knowledge and skills that lead to standards being set for the credential.Course content is likely set by an instructor or committee that enables a curriculum for a program delivered in several hours or a few days.
Being awarded a credential reflects having passed examination that measures competencies arising from the “blueprint” created above.Being awarded a certificate reflects having attended a course or courses with a specific subject matter.
Becoming certified means that the person who earns the credential may put certain letters or acronym after the person’s name.The certificate is a piece of paper given to the person who attended the course or courses the subject of which is typically cited in a resume.
Being awarded a credential sends a strong signal to the public, media and regulators that the holder possesses special knowledge or skills that reflect well on the holder and the holder’s employer.The certificate holder may or may not possess special knowledge or skills as the certificate of attendance is just that, for attendance at a program wherein examination of knowledge gains does not typically take place.
A credential is awarded by an independent standard-setting organization whose credentials and certification process are accredited by independent third-party accreditation authorities.The certificate is awarded by training entities, companies or others who solicit attendance and then award a certificate for attendance.
Generally requires professional experience.Awarded regardless of experience.