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A common question we often hear from security professionals ready to take the next step to advance their career is, “What is the difference between certification and certificate programs?”

While either option can benefit your career, certification is by far the more valuable and recognized achievement. Certification includes an experience and education component and requires passing an exam. It allows a practitioner to put letters after his or her name (CPP® for being certified as a Certified Protection Professional or CPA® for Certified Public Accountant). In addition, certification requires recertification, which ensures that practitioners stay current in their field through continuing education.

ASIS board certifications are also developed and maintained through a vigorous process exemplified through the program’s accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) against the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024, ensuring that your CPP®PCI®, or PSP® designation provides you with a competitive edge around the world.

A certificate program typically indicates attendance or completion of a course or series of courses with a specific focus. They are open to newcomers and experienced professionals alike. Any group can offer certificate programs, and the result demonstrates knowledge of content at the end of a specific period of time.