Diploma vs Certificate: What’s the Difference?

Diploma vs certificate – which one’s right for you? If you want to further your career, you may need to decide between the two. This guide will help you choose.

In June 2022, over 5 million people were job hunting in the US. That number hasn’t changed much, so there’s still a lot of competition out there. Your resume has to impress hiring managers with proven skills—not just make them think, “I like this person.”

The world of higher education is a confusing one, with terms like diploma and certificate thrown around like they mean the same thing. Truth be told, they don’t. This post will explain the difference and show you how to use them correctly when listing your skills.

Keep reading for a breakdown of diploma vs certificate.

Diploma vs Certificate

Diplomas and certificates are post-secondary awards that prove you have achieved a certain level of education. Both are important documents that can help you find employment, but they’re not the same thing.


A diploma is an award given to students who complete a specific program at a college, university, or trade school. A school’s registrar’s office issues most diplomas. They include your graduation date and focus area.


Certificates are offered by many schools and are often used to give students a jumpstart on their careers. Certificates typically take less time to earn than diplomas do and allow students to study specific topics in depth. You can find certificates in everything from computer programming to cosmetology.

The Key Differences

The major difference between a diploma and a certificate is that diplomas are more advanced. They provide a broader knowledge base in an area of study, while certificates focus on specific areas of expertise.

Additionally, there is typically a big difference in cost between completing a certificate and finishing a diploma. Generally speaking, it costs more to complete a diploma program than it does to complete an equivalent certificate program because of the amount of coursework.

How to Get a Diploma?

The first step to getting a diploma is to find a course that will suit your needs and career aspirations. You can do this by browsing online diploma courses or calling the customer service team at your favorite institution.

Once you have chosen a course, you need to decide whether it will be more appropriate for you to take part in classroom lessons or online lessons. Online learning has become increasingly popular over the last decade, so there are now many high-quality options available for students who prefer this type of education format. Many people find it easier to study and collaborate with other learners with e-learning.

How Diplomas Affect Your Resume

Diplomas are more formal and come from more prestigious institutions. If you have a diploma, your resume will likely be perceived as more important. Your credentials can give an employer the impression that you’re a higher quality candidate than someone with no qualifications at all.

A diploma can also make you appear more knowledgeable, which can be beneficial for a wide range of professions. If your goal is to move up within your company or make a career change, then diplomas can be an asset.

Top Diplomas Employers Want to See

Health care workers were always in high demand, but the pandemic made their presence even more necessary. Having a diploma in health care will give you an edge over other applicants. The same goes for other areas of the medical field, including physical therapy and nursing.

The average annual salary of an EMT is around $23,000. That of a medical trainer is almost $50,000. Health care diplomas can give you a boost when trying to land roles like these.

How to Get a Certificate?

You can get a certificate by signing up for vocational school or certificate programs. Coaches or personal trainers also issue certificates.

If you’ve completed high school, you’ll be able to sign up for many certificates. However, if you’re younger than 18 years old, some certificates may require that you have a parent or legal guardian present at the time of enrollment.

Certificates are available for every field of interest there is and can be completed in as little as six weeks. You’ll learn about the basics of your chosen field and how to apply them in real-world situations.

How Certificates Affect Your Resume

Certificates are a great way to show skills you’ve learned. They’re also a great way to prove you have competencies you can use in other jobs. If you’re thinking about asking for a raise, a certificate will be an excellent addition to your resume and cover letter.

Certificates show that you are committed to your professional development, which is important in any industry today. Additionally, they demonstrate that you are constantly improving your skills—something all employers look for in potential employees!

Top Certificates Employers Want to See

Web development is essential to any business today, especially if you want to make a name for yourself in the industry. A web development certificate can show that you have mastered some of the most important skills needed to run a successful website. Check out this list of a few of the top certificates employers want to see:

  • ITIL
  • Cybersecurity
  • CompTIA A+
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional

Keep Your Credentials Neat

When it comes down to diploma vs certificate, it depends on the industry and type of job you’re looking for. In the end, employers want to see that you’re a professional who takes your job seriously. Make sure your credentials are neat and without creases—if they look sloppy, you look sloppy!

If you’re looking to replace your diploma with a more impressive one, PhonyDiploma offers a wide range of options. Our diplomas are customizable with formats that match the requirements of almost any school. Purchase a spotless diploma today and make a positive impression on your future employer.