Even though a college might offer certificates, degrees, and diplomas these education programs have key differences. The biggest difference that you will notice between them is the amount of time that they require to achieve. A degree course takes the longest on average with the average degree taking two (Associate’s degree program or Master’s degree program) to four (Bachelor’s degree program) years to complete. A diploma course can take less time — one year to two years, except for a high school diploma program that still takes four. Finally, the coursework for a certificate program can usually be completed within a year.
Diplomas typically are used for fields that require more hands-on learning for practical knowledge. It is helpful to look for a vocational diploma if your field does not require you to have a four-year degree and you want to save some money while still working in a specialized field.
Degrees are the most expensive and take at least two years to complete. The education is more general than the specific field you want to work in and involve both theoretical knowledge and general education courses. For a lot of career options, the employer might require a college degree.
Certification programs are provided to give you the skills you need for the field without having to spend as much time or money as a degree or diploma. They are usually industry-specific and involve a particular course or area of study that can help get you additional job opportunities or help get you into a new career.