Difference Between Credential and Certificate

These two words can be highly confusing for many, not only because they sound similar, but because they are often used to refer to the same thing. Both refer to something that can be used to attest or prove a person’s level of qualification. However, it is important to clarify that these two terms are not synonymous; in fact, there are subtle differences in their definitions. Difference Between Credential and Certificate

If you, like many, also have doubts about the difference between certificate and credential or are simply looking for a little more information to complement what you already know; then continue reading, because below we explain everything you need to know about this interesting topic.

CREDENTIAL  Difference Between Credential and Certificate

Technically speaking, the term credential can be used synonymously with license, certification, accreditation, and certificate. In a more general sense, credentials are statements made by a third party about the identity of a particular individual.

Some examples of credentials are: academic diplomas, academic degrees , identification documents, social security number, passwords, among others.

From the examples mentioned above, it is clear that credentials are anything that can be used to prove a fact about a person’s identity. For example, the identity card can be a credential because it can be used to verify a person’s true address, name, and age.


On the other hand, a certificate is a document that proves that a person is capable, has the ability or is qualified to perform a task. Generally, people need to participate in a course or take a test in order to obtain a certificate. The latter is only provided to them if they show that they have what it takes and can do what is required.

The course or test is normally reputed by an institution, school or company with a standard known to the population. The better the reputation of the institution, the more value the certificate acquires.

Finally, unlike credentials that focus more on proving the identity of the individual, the certificates give an account of the capabilities and abilities that said individual possesses. There are things like driver’s licenses that can be used as a credential and also as a certificate; since in addition to including all the data of the person, it certifies that the same is qualified to drive.

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