How Do Credentials Differ?

There is a great deal of confusion in the marketplace about the various types of credentials, how they differ, and the appropriate use for each. This graphic depicts the elements of certificates, certifications, degrees, and licenses. Select a credential below to see more details, or view this link to see a comparison of all four credentials.

Awarded by
Industry certification bodies
Awarded for
Third-party, independent competency assessment
Indicates
Skill mastery/ competencies
Time to complete
Variable
Time and renewal requirements
Time-limited, includes recertification
Revocation process
Can be revoked for incompetence or unethical behavior
Examples
CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst, Certified Energy Auditor, Medical Laboratory Scientist, MLS(ASCP)CM
Standards for accreditation
ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024:2012, an international and national standard
 
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