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
Government agencies
Awarded for
Meeting requirements of an occupation
Legal permission
Time to complete
Time and renewal requirements
Time-limited, renewal generally required
Revocation process
Can be revoked for incompetence or unethical behavior
Electrician, Professional Engineer, Registered Nurse
Standards for accreditation
State law defines scope of practice
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