Difference between Academic Certificate and Professional Certificate

Library books
Library books

The two terminologies sound contradictory when teachers fill out promotion forms and personal record forms.

Academic Certificate

An Academic Certificate is the certificate an individual (a teacher) acquires after completing an academic programme.

For instance, after going through a three-year Diploma or a 4 year Bachelor’s degree in an Education programme, the certificate awarded to the individual in recognition of his or her competition in the programme is known as the Academic Certificate.


For instance, a Diploma in Basic Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Education, a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, a Master of Business Administration in Accounting etc are Academic Certificates.

Professional Certificate 

A professional Certificate on the other hand is the certificate that you have obtained after completion of an academic programme which relates to your field of work or occupation.

In context, the certificate must relate to the work you already did.

For instance, a Diploma in Basic Education being used by a teacher becomes his or her Professional Certificate since it relates to his or her work.


A Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accounting is not a professional certificate for a teacher because it does not relate to education or teaching hence will be a professional certificate for an Accountant at a bank since it relates to the work the person does.

The key difference between the two certificates is that every certificate is an Academic Certificate since they are awarded in recognition of one’s ability, to complete a program of study but can only be considered as a professional certificate if it relates to other work the person does.

In this regard, a teacher with a DBE, B.Ed, and M.Ed hold both certificates since all the listed vertices relate to education or teaching and are also awarded by a recognized Academic Institution.

SOURCE: Educationghana.org


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