Throughout your time working with Guild, you may hear certain terms such as "Career Diplomas, Certifications, Licenses, and Apprenticeships" and not know the differences. For your reference, here is an overview and description of these terms!
What is a career diploma?
A career diploma is a diploma that you can earn for completing a post-secondary ("after high school"), vocational, or technical training program. They are not the same as a college degree, such as an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, because they offer a very specific education that will support you with obtaining job opportunities and advancement.
In some cases, completing a career diploma could be a formal requirement for employment or professional licensure. A career diploma can also be a way to demonstrate professional skills. Sometimes a career diploma is also referred to as a "certificate of completion" or a "certificate of achievement."
Typically, a career diploma is shorter in length than a degree program. They can often take one or two years to complete, but some may only take weeks to complete. Career diplomas are also often structured so that you can continue working while completing them.
What is certification?
A certification is an award that you earn that will show you have a specific set of skills or knowledge in a given occupation, industry, trade, or technology. Earning certifications can help you qualify for jobs and can be an item that potential employers look for on a resume. Some employers will require that a potential candidate be certified in their field or for a specific skill. Some certifications will require that you pass an exam.
The advantage of obtaining a certification is that it shows potential employers that you are committed to your profession and are well-trained. This, in turn, will give you confidence in your abilities because it proves that your skills have been evaluated and approved by a well-regarded professional organization.
Certificates are usually earned through a professional organization that is well known, a non-profit, a third party that is respected in the industry, or through a college.
What is a license?
For some jobs and occupations, it is required that you earn a license. A license is required to ensure that only competent, ethical individuals practice in a specific occupation. A license is usually obtained through a government agency, and it is required that the professional complete specific steps and hours of training under the supervision of another licensed professional. Examples of occupations licensed in many states include teachers, land surveyors, doctors, lawyers, cosmetologists, nurses, building contractors, counselors, therapists, and electricians.
Once the professional has logged a specific amount of time and completed the required exams, they can then be authorized (usually by the state) to practice in their field. With occupations that require licensure, you cannot legally work in your field unless you have obtained licensure.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship consists of formal, daily, paid, on-the-job training paired with classroom learning, and can also lead to eventual certification or licensure in a specific trade or occupation. One of the major advantages of an apprenticeship is that you can "earn as you learn" with like-minded individuals and leaders that will support your growth in a given profession or skilled trade.
Article written by Roberta Ayala, Student Success Coach