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
Education institutions
Awarded for
Course of study
Indicates
Education, successfully passed courses
Time to complete
Variable, generally 2 years or more
Time and renewal requirements
No time limit, no renewal requirement
Revocation process
Cannot be revoked
Examples
Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Associate of Arts in Business Administration
Standards for accreditation
National, regional, or programmatic
 
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