So you’re currently sitting at a crucial career crossroad. You don’t know whether to go for a certificate or a diploma course because both options look like an excellent path to advance your academic and professional career.
We understand it can be a tricky choice. This article will help you make an informed decision.
First, let’s cover the basics.
There are other types of qualifications aside from the diploma and certificate courses. According to the Australian Qualification Framework, the Doctoral Degree stands at the top of the hierarchy followed by the Master Degree. Then we have the Bachelor Honours Degree, Bachelor Degree, Advanced Diploma (or Associate Degree), Diploma, and Certificates I-IV in that order.
We’ve also seen the rise in popularity of short courses in addition to the aforementioned categories. Essentially, they’re an offshoot of diploma and certificate courses and are also recognised throughout Australia. They may look informal on the surface but you’ll find jobs that only need you to take a few professional short courses. It all depends on your job preference.
Difference Between Certificate and Diploma Courses
Knowing the difference between both options is the first important factor. Of course, there are other factors to consider but knowing how they differ gives you a clear view of where you’re headed.
Certificate courses cover the very basics of any particular field. In the world of academics, the highest level of a certificate course (Certificate IV) is the equivalent of 6 to 12 month Bachelor degree program. Upon completing a certificate course, you’ll gain vocational and apprenticeship skills that will help you start a rewarding profession. You could set up your own small business or apply for entry-level roles such as child educator, daycare worker, and administrative assistant.
Diploma courses, on the other hand, are a bit more advanced. They’re suitable for people who want to pursue careers that require in-depth knowledge and complex technical skills. They generally take anywhere between 2 to 3 years to complete and they’re equivalent to 1 to 2 years of Bachelor degree study.
With a diploma certificate, you can get advanced jobs such as ICT Consultant, Field Support Technician, Assistant in Nursing, HSE Advisor, and Project Coordinator, among others.
Other Factors to Consider Before Making a Choice
So far, we’ve discussed how diploma courses differ from certificate courses. But there are other important factors to consider before making your decision. We’ll mention 5 of them in this article.
1. Hours of study
Every course has its time requirement. Some are more time consuming than others. So knowing how much time you can commit per week, for example, would help a lot. There’s no point in enrolling for a course you won’t have the time to study for. The rule of thumb is doing what works best for you.
2. Duration of degree
This still boils down to time commitment. Essentially, the more advanced a course is, the longer the duration. But it’s always good to think about the number of years or months you have to complete a course before making up your mind. Doing this will guide you towards setting realistic expectations for yourself.
3. Study method
There’s a wide array of options when it comes to choosing the best course for you. Most certificate and diploma courses are also available online but don’t get carried away by the excitement. The most important thing at this point is to check if your preferred school has the learning facilities to support your choice of course and study method.
4. Job prospects
Having an idea of the job you want can also guide you to make the right decision. Earlier on, we cited a few examples of jobs you can get after completing a certificate or a diploma course. There are a lot more job opportunities out there. If you conduct a basic job search online, you’ll get a ton of results showing you the academic requirements for the job you love and are (or could be) qualified for.
5. Your interests/passions
We can’t rule out the place of passion in this matter. If you’re passionate about studying a course, it won’t matter how long it takes to fulfil the requirements or the medium of instruction. It’s perfectly valid to study something purely because you’re interested in it. You might end up finding a way to make a career out of it, but that’s not always the end goal, and that’s fine!
There you go. You just discovered how to navigate an important path toward your career goals. We have an exciting range of both Certificate and Diploma courses on offer and we would love to help get you started on your dream career. You can check our courses out here.