A diploma is a specific type of certification that can be awarded upon completion of a course of study. Diplomas are commonly compared with Associate Degrees; however there are some notable differences. While both the diploma and Associate Degree are types of certification that a course of study has been completed, the diploma can be awarded to a student following the completion of a course. The Associate Degree, on the other hand, is typically awarded following the completion of several courses. Associate Degrees require the completion of 60 college course hours or 20 different courses. Diplomas, on the other hand, have flexible requirements for completion depending on the specific discipline in which the diploma is sought.
In general, diplomas are sought by individuals seeking specific skills training in a particular vocation or trade. Trade colleges and professional schools typically award diplomas to students that successfully complete a course of study. Unlike the Associate Degree which requires students to complete academic courses outside of the student’s area of interest (e.g., English, mathematics, etc.), diploma programs provide only targeted instruction in the trade or vocation sought by the student. This focus enables students seeking diplomas to complete their course of study more quickly than those seeking an Associate Degree. Read More >>
Benefits of a Diploma
The benefits of diplomas are related to both financial and career opportunities for the individual. Students completing a diploma program will be able to access a broad range of vocational and professional career opportunities; more than those available to individuals that have only graduated from high school. Because these occupations require specific skills that are developed through the diploma program, graduates will be able to earn more than their high school counterparts. Further, diplomas are typically awarded in professions that are in demand including careers in the computer field and health care. As such, those with these types of certifications will have access to significant opportunities for employment, i.e. a number of potential employers and work opportunities. Typical diploma programs may require between a few weeks or a few months to complete. This reduces the amount of time the student is required to spend in the classroom. Diploma programs, because of their short duration, are typically much cheaper than Associate or other higher education degrees, making them a viable cost alternative for higher education. Because students seeking diplomas spend less time in the classroom, they are able to enter the workforce and start earning much sooner than students seeking a college degree.
Types of Online Diploma Programs
The types of diploma programs that are available to the student are focused on specific areas of study. Before entering into a diploma program, students must consider their career path and choose a diploma program that will enable them to enter into their chosen field. Because diploma programs provide focused and targeted skills training, graduates from these programs will have unique skills that will be specific to their chosen career path. Thus, diploma programs require students to select a career so that they can acquire career specific training that will enable them to land a job. Examples of diploma programs that are currently available for students include: medical assisting, dental assisting, cosmetology, pastry chef, massage therapist, medical coding and billing, computer aided design and drafting (CADD) and personal fitness trainer. In many instances, diploma programs can be completed in several weeks to several months. Thus, professionals working in one area that decide to switch careers will be able to easily seek a diploma in another area of specialization. The diploma option for higher education provides the student with the ability to seeking training and education in a number of different fields, further expanding the potential career opportunities available for the individual.
The possible careers for individuals with a diploma will be contingent upon the specific area of study or specialization in which the diploma is sought. Some of the most common careers in which diplomas are awarded include the following:
• Medical Assisting: Students earning a diploma in this field will be able to provide medical support for patients including monitoring blood pressure, providing bedside care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
• Dental Assisting: Students seeking a diploma in dental assisting will be able to complete their course work in about eight months and will be qualified to work with patients in a dental office.
• Pharmacy Technician: Students graduating with a pharmacy diploma will acquire the skills needed to work in a pharmacy.
• Cosmetology: Students with a diploma in cosmetology will gain experience in customer service to help clients look and feel their best.
• Medical Billing and Coding: Students with a diploma in this area will be able to process insurance records for medical companies following industry-standards and rules.
• Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC): Individuals seeking a diploma in this area will be trained to repair and install commercial and residential heating and cooling systems.
• Personal Fitness Trainer: Personal fitness trainers work directly with clients to provide advice regarding wellness, exercise, nutrition and kinesiology.