Difference Between Certificate and Degree

Though the term “degree certificate” is used in lieu of several meanings, the words degree and certificate are individual terms that do not adhere to the same thing.

Getting a certificate and obtaining a degree refer to quite different results that are achieved via different processes. These are everyday terms that are often confused with one another.

Certificate vs Degree

The main difference between certificate and degree is that while a certificate refers to an official document attesting to a fact, a degree, on the other hand, refers to a course of study that has to be pursued in a college, university, or educational institute for a stipulated amount of time, at the end of which, the person earns their degree.

Certificate vs Degree

A certificate refers to an official document that is used to state that the given information is true. Certificates are used in several forums, for various different reasons and purposes.

They provide a stamp of authenticity that is looked for to confirm the claim mentioned in the certificate as genuine.

A degree refers to a title that is conferred to the students post a study course that they study for under an educational institution for a given time period. A degree holds a commendable amount of merit to its owner.

It is an official statement that states the confirmation of the studies pursued.

Comparison Table Between Certificate and Degree

Parameters of ComparisonCertificateDegree
DefinitionA certificate is a term used to refer to an official document attesting to a fact.A degree is a term used to refer to a study pursued.
PeriodCertificate can attest to training for a given or unknown period of time.Degree states merit for a strict period of time.
CostCertificates are less expensive to procure.The process of obtaining a degree is comparatively more expensive.
FieldA certificate is used in several fields to signify a varied list of things.Degree predominantly is used in the educational field.
OpportunitiesWhen compared certificate courses have lesser job opportunities.Degrees carry a lot of credibility and merit.

What is a Certificate?

The term certificate refers to a legal document that is used in lieu of verifying a fact. The certification proves that the stated content is true and does not consist of any malpractice.

In the field of education, a certificate is typically used to attest to the fact that the person in question has completed training, or course for the mentioned period of time. 

To earn a certificate, the person can take a course in a technical school, vocational school, or community college. Certificated programs usually help in preparing people for skill-based or technical jobs.

These certificate courses are focused on exploring the actionable skills needed by the desired industry. There exist beginner, intermediate, and advanced certificate courses.

Apart from the educational sector, certificates are also used in the work environment to encourage employee investment and acknowledge their skills and contribution.

It is becoming increasingly popular for offices to award the Best Employee Certificate, Most Punctual Employee Certificate, etc.

Certificates can demand a specific time period that is flexible. There is no rigidity in the time scale.

When compared, certificates also have a lower expense of attaining them. These courses are comparatively less pricey than their counterparts.

One of the downsides of certificates is the credibility it carries. Certificate courses have a lesser impact than degrees.

However, with the evolution of the educational system, more people, especially the working class opt for certificate courses.

What is a Degree?

A title that is conferred to an individual, typically, students for the completion of a course is known as a degree.

These educational courses can be studied under an educational institution, who upon completion, awards its students their degrees.

Degrees are a complicated education structure, that is an academic title that the students receive post-completion of the course in the subject of their choice.

The four types of degrees include Associate degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctoral degree.

Degree courses are observed to consist of a base-level knowledge of the subject discussed in detail.

These degree programs claim to produce well-rounded students who are capable of understanding their industry and the world as a whole.

They also include core classes besides major-specific courses that the students have to complete in order to obtain their degrees.

Degree courses are a higher level of education that is increasingly being pursued in the modern world. This is due to the credibility and merit that the degree offers to its students.

Degree courses have a stipulated amount of time that has to be completed in order to get the degree.

When compared, degree courses are a lot more expensive than certificate courses. This is because of the in-depth knowledge offered in a degree program.

In addition to their merit, degrees also carry exponentially more job opportunities.

This is due to the fact that holding a degree offers the individual a stamp of approval and lets the employer know that the individual has undergone intensive training.

Main Differences Between Certificate and Degree

  1. A legal document that binds the truth of the claimed statement is known as the certificate. An educational course undertaken by the students is known as a degree.
  2. Certificates have a much shorter time period than their counterparts. A degree can take up several years of completion.
  3. Certificates are used in a wider context including education, office environment, etc. Degrees, on the other hand, are exclusive to the educational institution.
  4. The process of obtaining a certificate takes up significantly lesser costs. Degrees have a much higher expense.
  5. Certificates offer skill-based training, where technical knowledge about the industries is imparted. Due to their extended time period, degrees offer an expanded base of knowledge.
Difference Between Certificate and Degree


Both the terms, “certificate” and “degree” are used in our everyday lives. However, they are often used interchangeably.

The certificate states the truth of a statement on an official and legal basis. Degree refers to the conferred title that the students can obtain after completing their course.

Certificates take up less time and cost less than their counterpart. Degrees offer a piece of extensive knowledge and take up a stipulated time period for their completion. They are also expensive.

However, certificates offer decreased merits and lesser job opportunities. By comparison, degree holders hold a higher chance of being employed.

However, if you are a working adult, it is best to take up a certificated course. And pursuing a degree is the most advantageous for students.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0162373714553814
  2. https://search.proquest.com/openview/730e37ccf9eefd0b06ed3b0bec1594c8/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2050154
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