Could someone please provide examples of the differences between certificate and certification?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, certificate is:

  • an official document attesting a certain fact, in particular.
  • a document recording a person's birth, marriage, or death.
  • a document attesting a level of achievement in a course of study or training.
  • a document attesting ownership of a certain item.

Certification is an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement.

It also is the action or process of providing someone or something with an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement.

  • I've used the free dictionary and merriam-webster it stated that "Certificate" is A document issued to a person completing a course of study; and certification is the process to complete the certificate but i found some people says : india launches quality assurance certification. people often use the two words interchangably it confuses me Aug 9, 2016 at 19:23
  • The use of certification is utterly correct in that sentence.... they've launched a method to achieve a certificate in "quality assurance"... I think it's your interpretation that's the problem, not the usage.
    – Catija
    Aug 9, 2016 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


A certificate is the actual object.

I have a certificate of completion.

This means you have something, typically a piece of paper or an electronically verifiable thing.

A certification is typically the process of getting a certificate (or the completion thereof).

I have a certification in computer repair.

This means that you have completed a certification process. It may imply that you also have a specific certificate, but it's not explicitly certain.

Full Definition of certificate

1: a document containing a certified statement especially as to the truth of something; specifically : a document certifying that one has fulfilled the requirements of and may practice in a field

2: something serving the same end as a certificate

3: a document evidencing ownership or debt


Full Definition of certification

1: the act of certifying : the state of being certified

2: a certified statement

  • Thanks mate, but could you explicate the example you've provided " I have a certification in computer repair. " do you mean that certificate is a synonym of certification ? Aug 9, 2016 at 19:38
  • Not precisely, no. It does seem a matter of semantics, but they are not strictly synonymous. One can hold a certification in something without having a physical certificate, though having a physical certificate implies that one is certified in something. Think of it this way - if I gain a certification in computer repair, but it expires in two years, three years from now I may still have a certificate (physical items, though expired), but I no longer technically have a certification (current state of being certified). Does that help? Aug 9, 2016 at 20:00
  • So, I guess that the implication of a physical certificate meaning someone is certified is also not strictly true. It's implied, but not guaranteed. Aug 9, 2016 at 20:01

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