Earning a certificate is a way for you to earn credits in a structured, discipline-specific way. A certificate can prepare you to advance in your career, or to gain the extra knowledge needed to stay competitive and up-to-date in your field. Completion of the certificate demonstrates evidence of specialized education achievement. It is recognized on a University of Virginia transcript.
There are many fields, however, that have professional certifications that may be recommended or required (teaching, project management, accounting). A certificate program does not lead to a professional certification. Yes, the courses you take in a certificate program could help you prepare to earn a professional field-specific certification, but earning a certificate is not the same as becoming certified.
|Result of an educational process||Result of an assessment process|
|For newcomers and experienced professionals||Typically requires experience|
|Indicates completion of a course or series of courses with a particular focus||Indicates mastery/competency measured against a standard – usually by exam|
|Course content set through academic process||Standards set through an industry-wide process|
|Usually listed on a resume detailing education||Typically results in a designation to use after one's name (CPA, SPHR, PMP)|
|Demonstrates knowledge of course content||Often has ongoing training requirement (C.E.U.s)|
|Gateway to a degree||No relationship to attaining higher education/degree|