What is the difference between a certification and a certificate?

Created by Jaime Weimer, Modified on Wed, 03 Jan 2024 at 10:51 AM by Jaime Weimer

A certification is a voluntary, nongovernmental process by which an individual is determined by a certification body to have successfully completed the requirements of a certification program and may be identified to the public and other stakeholders as a certificant.  Some regulatory bodies use voluntary certification programs to meet licensure or registration requirements.  Examples of oncology certifications include the OCN®, CPHON®, CBCN®, AOCNP®, or BMTCN® offered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation

A certificate is a non-degree-granting program that provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies associated with intended outcomes.  When the certificate program includes an assessment of learning, it is known as an assessment-based certificate program.  Examples of oncology-related certificate programs offered by ONS include the ONS/ONCC Chemotherapy Immunotherapy Certificate, ONS Fundamentals of Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy Administration, and the ONS/ONCC Radiation Therapy Certificate


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Oncology Nursing Society. (2022). Oncology certification for nurses. Oncology Nursing Socety https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/oncology-certification

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