Embedding and Aligning Certifications with Academic Programs


The term “certification” is sometimes used interchangeably — and incorrectly — with “certificate.”  Certifications and certificates are distinct credentials with different characteristics. The most distinguishing factor is that certificates are awarded after an education or training program is completed, while certifications are separate from education and training programs and require passage of a third-party assessment, typically a standardized exam.

Characteristics of a Certification (Workcred, 2018, 2021)


With the continued growth in the type and number of credentials, and to validate rigor, the term certification may refer to a credential that has one or more of the following elements:

  •  Standardized exam
  •  Recertification requirement (related to certification being time-limited)
  •  Ability to revoke the certification for a violation of a code of ethics (if applicable) or proven incompetence after due process
  •  Accreditation by a third party

Improving Education and Employment Outcomes

Credential As You Go Video: Transforming the Nation's Credentialing System!