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What are Certifications, Certificates, and Credentials?


What is a certification?

Certifications are a type of credential that people earn to demonstrate their expertise and competence in a specific skill or field. Unlike certificates, certifications are not just about completing a course; they represent a deeper level of understanding and ability. Certifications are highly valued in the workplace and can be a key factor in hiring decisions and career advancement. Certifications reflect a person’s expertise and commitment.

Certification programs are typically rigorous and require passing a certification exam after completing specific education/training requirements. Certification exams assess an individual’s knowledge and skills against rigorous standards. Certification competency domains are established by conducting extensive job-task-analysis to determine relevant knowledge and skills. Certifications are time-limited, revokable, and require holders to demonstrate continued competence to retain their certified status.

Certification programs are administered by credentialing bodies. For example, the Project Management Institute is the credentialing body for the Project Management Professional® (PMP®) certification. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the credentialing body for 12 different tech certifications.

Is there a leadership certification program?

Resilience-Building Leader Program (RBLP®) is the credentialing body for the Resilience-Building Leadership Professional® series of certifications. Our leader certification exams assess factual (what), conceptual (why), and procedural knowledge (how) in the Create a Positive Climate, Develop Cohesion, Provide Purpose, Facilitate Team Learning, and Support Organizational Learning competency domains.

certifications certificates and-credentials

What’s the difference between a certification and a certificate?

Certificates are another type of credential. Certificates acknowledge the completion of coursework and can be issued by colleges, universities, and other training providers. Certificates are valuable, especially for personal or professional development, but they hold far less weight than certifications. That’s because there’s no requirement to pass a nationally-recognized certification exam. Certifications also have work experience requirements.

Sometimes, certificate courses serve as prerequisites for certification exams. For example, certificates are awarded to people who complete the Building and Leading Resilient Teams exam prep course taught by our Education, Training, and L&D Partners. Completing the certificate course meets the education/training requirement to sit for the Resilience-Building Leadership Professional® series of certification exams. Applicants for certification must also meet work experience requirements.

What is a credential?  

As discussed above, certifications and certificates are two types of credentials. Degrees, licenses, and digital badges are also credentials.  

Academic degrees awarded by colleges and universities are probably the most recognized category of credentials. Degrees signify that an individual has completed a specified academic program of study. Degrees are essential for career advancement in many fields and are highly valued in both the academic and professional worlds.

Licenses are a type of credential usually granted by governmental agencies and provide legal authority to work in certain professions and trades, such as medicine, law, plumbing, and electrical. Obtaining a license generally requires passing state or national examinations and meeting other regulatory requirements.

The newest category of credentials is digital badges. Badges can symbolize a wide variety of achievements, skills, qualities, or interests. Badges are increasingly used in both educational and professional contexts as a means to communicate achievements and competencies.


RBLP® Leadership Certifications


If you haven’t earned one of our leader certifications yet, you can learn more below!

Get RBLP Certification

1.5-hour oral exam.

RBLP is our core leader certification for supervisors and people seeking a supervisory position. Self-paced leader training option available.

Get RBLP-C Certification

2.5-hour oral exam.

RBLP-C is our leader certification for managers and people seeking a management position. Instructor-led leader training course required.

Get RBLP-T Certification

3.5-hour oral exam.

RBLP-T is our leader certification for senior managers and people seeking a senior management position. Instructor-led leader training course required.