Many U.S. colleges and vocational schools offer technical diplomas and certificates, which are shorter programs than college degrees. The definitions of "diploma" and "certificate" vary greatly among programs, schools, and accrediting bodies, but, in general, students need more credits in a specialized area of study to earn a diploma than to earn a certificate. Diplomas are usually offered in job-related fields such as computer science, automotive services, graphic design, construction, and office skills, rather than in academic fields.
Why Get a Diploma?
If you're hoping for an entry-level job in a field where a college degree isn't required, earning a diploma is a cost-effective way to get your foot in the door. Diplomas typically emphasize basic skills designed for fast-growing industries where trained employees are in high demand. In fact, many communities, states, or regions offer diploma programs that are directly tied to critical existing hiring needs-in these cases, your diploma may lead directly to a job.