Advanced Diploma Vs Graduate Certificate

Sep 13, 2019

An advanced diploma gives a student the knowledge and skills required to perform high-level tasks, while a graduate certificate furthers the specialized knowledge of someone who already holds an undergraduate degree. This article delves into some of the differences and similarities between the two program-level options.

An advanced diploma may lead to certification in specific fields and is generally open to persons who have a high school education. A graduate certificate, on the other hand, is geared toward those who already have a bachelor's degree and would like to further their education as well as careers. In some programs, a graduate certificate can also be used as credit toward a master's degree. This article will provide an overview of both types of program levels.

Differences Between an Advanced Diploma and a Graduate Certificate

Advanced Diploma Information

Advanced diploma programs are generally open to persons who have minimal education and little exposure to the program's subject matter so as an example, it's possible to pursue an advanced diploma in a marketing-related field with only a high school education. Some programs also include an internship or work-study course that would expose the candidate to the practical aspects of working in the field of interest which is helpful if the diploma is being used to switch careers. As an added bonus for those who are already employed, some of these programs are offered completely online or have blended options that allow for flexibility while learning. Since these programs tend to be introductory or broad-based in nature, though, there may be some limitations to what subject areas will be covered and what careers would be open to someone with these qualifications. Advanced diploma programs can require as much as 540 hours of course work and take between one to two years to complete.

Graduate Certificate Information

To explore this program level, candidates would already need to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and while the admission requirements tend to be longer, the program options for a graduate certificate offer more variety than an advanced diploma. Candidates can complete certificates in areas such as public health, performing arts project monitoring, business analytics, risk management, and corporate finance. In a number of cases, there are no internship or work-study opportunities as candidates are required to have a certain number of years of professional work experience in order to qualify for the program. Those who have completed graduate certificates can use their education to further their careers, earn transferable credit to a master's program if applicable, and even change careers depending on the program that was completed. Graduate certificates typically require between 12 and 20 credits and may take up to 15 months to complete.

General Program Admission Requirements

As previously stated, where an advanced diploma is concerned, some candidates may only need a few years of high school, a high school diploma, or its equivalent, and applicants are required to be at least 17 years old. To be admitted to a graduate certificate program though, candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. In some cases, these programs may require letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a certain amount of work experience in the field of interest and passing scores on a proficiency examination. For fields pertaining to the visual or performing arts, candidates may be required to submit proof of their work experience such as an audition tape or a portfolio.

An advanced diploma is helpful for persons who haven't yet earned an undergraduate degree but would like to further their knowledge or skills in a particular area. A graduate certificate is great for those who have an undergraduate degree and would like to upgrade their knowledge to further their career or earn credit towards a master's degree.

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