There is often confusion between the terminology used in education and course outcomes. One that gets mixed up for many people is the difference between a qualification and a certification, so we thought this may help.
What is a Qualification?
A qualification is defined as “ an official record showing that you have successfully finished a course of training or study, have the skills necessary to do something,” Cambridge Dictionary .
As you progress through your school education, you will complete certain end of course and age appropriate exams, such as GCSE’s A level, AS level and vocational (work related) qualifications. These courses of study encompass a wide amount of content, covering a wide range of topics, normally over several years.
For qualifications to be recognised they need to be registered on the on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) which is run by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). Ofqual regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.
The RQF is the national framework of UK qualifications and lists all those qualifications that are officially recognised and which level they are at (e.g. Entry Level 1 to Level 8 (which is a PhD or Doctorate)).
There are over 47200 listed qualifications on the Framework, including specialised ones such as from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers to the The Gemmological Association of Great Britain; as well as more recognisable GCSE and A-Levels.
What is a Certification?
A Certification is defined as “the process of giving official or legal approval to a person, company, product, etc. that has reached a particular standard” Cambridge Dictionary
Within educational terminology, Certification generally refers to an earned credential (evidence of authority, usually in written form), that demonstrates the holder’s specialised knowledge and skills and for reaching the competencies required in a specific area, awarded by an Accrediting organisation. This acquisition of specialised knowledge and skills; and achievement of required competencies may range from 30 minutes for specific niche topics to over 300 hours for larger areas of specialism.
To further help the explanation, an Accrediting organisation is one that is recognised as adherence to a set of standards to perform an activity and offer recognized standards of best practice.
An example of a common Certification you may have heard of is as follows: PRINCE2 Project Management Certifications are all set at the industry standards and competencies; and all course providers have to deliver the material to the set PRINCE2 standards for a student to receive the PRINCE2 Certification.
Our Course Certification Standards
We are a registered training provider and registered with the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP). This is a Government register of verified Training Providers and each Provider is issued with their own unique number – UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN). Ours is 10085698
All of our courses, whether UK Rural Skills Certified, or E-horse (Equine) CPD Certified, are developed to industry set course standards. We pride ourselves on ensuring that we spend 100’s of hours in course development and research; and communications with our Awarding Organisation to ensure we reach high course standards for each course.
Every one of our courses are mapped to the National Occupational Standards as developed by SSO. These are the required standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace. All our courses are written to ensure that they have the required specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding for each area included, the required performance objectives and learning outcomes stated and assessment criteria set out to ensure we meet the required content for certification.
We would advise potential students to ensure that any courses, with whichever provider, they wish to complete, meet the correct standards registration and criteria for their sector.