There is an important difference between a certificate and a certification or credential. Certificates are not held to the objective standards required of other types of credentialing. Credentialing is the umbrella term that includes the concepts of accreditation, licensure, registration and professional certification.

A Certificate of Attendance is issued after an individual attends or participates in a particular continuing education course. No knowledge is assessed and the recipient is not required to demonstrate competence according to professional standards.

A Knowledge-Based Certificate recognizes a relatively narrow scope of specialized knowledge used in performing tasks required by the profession. It is issued after the individual passes an assessment instrument.

Professional Certification is the voluntary process by which a non-governmental entity grants a time-limited recognition to an individual after verifying that he or she has met predetermined and standardized criteria. It is the vehicle a profession uses to differentiate among its members. The holder is called a certificant. Herman & Wallace's Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification falls into this category of credential.


Specialization is a term related to the professional certifications offered by the ABPTS.

*Adapted from the "NOCA Guide to Understanding Credentialing Concepts"