40+ Graduation Certificate Templates & Diplomas

A graduation certificate can refer to a lot of different things. An “official” certificate of graduation, contains a lot of relevant information. These include the graduate’s name, the degree awarded to him, and all his majors and minors.

It would also contain any applicable honors, the date of graduation, and the name of his school. It’s must have the right signatures along with the school’s seal. When you do an online search, you’ll find out that there are a lot of graduation certificate templates.

The official ones come from universities while the “informal” ones come from teachers. Making such a certificate is easy when you plan to make a preschool graduation certificate. Then you can use your creativity to go all out and create a colorful document.

Graduation Certificate Templates

Graduation Certificates in Different Countries 

For university students, a certificate of graduation is an educational credential. It represents a student’s accomplishment of specialized training at the university or college.

A university may award such a certificate when a student completes specific coursework. This would be an indication that the student mastered the subject.

Such certificates represent different things in different countries. Let’s look at some examples of what they represent:


In Canada, this certificate is a credential given by a university. It is awarded to students who have completed a specific number of credits in a graduate course.

Sometimes, it can also represent a part of the work the student needs to do to acquire a Master’s degree.


In the UK, this certificate serves as a qualification for higher education. It’s basically at the same level as a Bachelor’s degree. However, its scope is more limited, and it doesn’t take as long to complete.

United States

In the US, universities award this certificate when a student completes certain coursework. This would indicate that the student has already mastered the subject area. Such documents show that a student trained at a Master’s degree level.

These are examples of how such certificates are being used in different countries. These uses may vary or may be the same in other countries. Now, let’s go through the various kinds of certificates based on the levels of education. 

Graduation Certificate in Preschool and Elementary 

In preschool and elementary school, it’s easy to make graduation certificate templates. Usually, teachers make the preschool graduation certificate at the end of the school year. They do so to award the little children.

In preschool, these types of certificates represent the milestones achieved by the children. Although it’s not very “formal,” the certificate would show that preschoolers had achieved something in the academic year.

It is funny to celebrate preschool children’s success. The teacher’s do so by creating an attractive and colorful certificate. It helps in recognizing their arduous work throughout the year. It’s very easy to make templates using the computer. If you’re not that tech savvy, you can even find free templates online and work with those.

Usually, there are 2 distinct kinds of preschool graduation certificates. First, there’s one where you would include the child’s photo in the document. Along with a photo there should be all the other relevant information. All these are usually found on such certificates.

Second, there’s the generic certificate without a photo. This resembles the traditional certificate format, only with more graphics and colors.

Teachers award such certificates to their students at the end of the academic year. They usually have a program for the whole school or just for the class. Each of the certificates contain the child’s name along with other relevant information. Certificates given to preschoolers are more like keepsakes rather than official documents.

The certificates of elementary school children are a bit simpler. Also, the school produces the certificate rather than the teacher. Then, they award these certificates during a graduation ceremony.

Graduation Certificate in High school

When a student moves to a high school, the world gets more complicated. In a high school a graduation diploma is different from a graduation certificate. A student having a diploma means that he has already graduated from high school.

He is eligible to move to college. On the other hand, when a student only has a certificate, it represents different things. Depending on the type of certificate a student receives, he may or may not be able to attend college.

Therefore, students should check the certificate’s requirements before making the switch. Here’s a rundown of the different awards high school students may receive:

High school diploma

All high school students may get a high school diploma. But since the requirements for all students are the same, some students are fail. Therefore, they can’t receive a diploma.

Graduation certificate

This is the typical replacement for a high school diploma. With such a certificate, the student may or may not attend college. Before a student can get a certificate, he must take specific tests and pass them.

In some schools, students don’t even have to graduate to acquire this kind of certificate.

Award Certificate

These are usually part of the graduation ceremonies for high school students. The ones who perform excellently receive special award certificates. Some examples are scholarship recipients, perfect attendance awards, and other such titles.

Certificate of Completion for special needs students

Schools try their best to provide complete high school education to special needs students. However, some of the disabled students may not be able to accomplish all the requirements of high school.

Such students may receive a certificate of completion for all the completed tasks only. Then, they can attend the graduation ceremony and even receive some awards.

These are the most common types of documents awarded to high school students. Usually, after high school, students move on to college. Now, let’s go through the certificates involved in that level of education.

Graduation Certificate for College

College prepares the students to acquire any professional certifications. All these certificates play a crucial role in later stages of life. These will help you to get employed or gain advancement in their careers. When it comes to certificates at the college level, there are a lot of various kinds.

There’s no single certificate of graduation which is the same for all universities. They differ as per the course and situations. Let’s look at these certificates:

  • Certificates wherein there’s no degree required

Students may use certificates acquired from college. It allows them to take a quick course of a specific subject or career. They can join a program in a university whether they have a degree or not.

College certificates permit students to gain expertise in a certain field without having to spend so much time earning a college degree.

Students may acquire this certificate in a matter of months or a full year only. This is because the program focuses on one subject only. Any coursework required in a certificate program would depend on the subject the student chooses.

The students don’t have to tackle general studies required when earning a degree. As soon as the student completes the program, he would get a certificate of completion rather than a diploma or a degree.

  • Certificates which require a degree

Certificates for post-baccalaureate colleges are for students who already have their Bachelor’s degrees. These students are typically interested in advancing their studies or their careers.

They would do this by gaining deeper and profound knowledge of a subject or an area. It must be related to their profession. There are cases though, where a student will work on earning a post-baccalaureate certificate. Why? because they aren’t eligible to take a Master’s degree.

On the other hand, certificates for post-master’s colleges are for students who want to gain more advanced knowledge. It turns to be their specialty. This specialty relates to their undergraduate or graduate degree.

  • Certifications

This is a document or credential awarded to students in specific fields. They would only acquire a certification if they meet all the requirements of the field. Such documents are usually given by organizations which vary in professions.

There are special programs in college which can help students meet the requirements, making them eligible to acquire certifications given by the organizations.

No matter what kind of certificate a college student acquires, it would help him in the long-run. It can permit a student to train for his chosen career or gain credits which he can use to transfer to a degree program. So how does a certificate differ from a diploma or a degree? We’ll go through their differences next.

How does a Graduation Certificate differ from a diploma and a degree?

In college, certificates and other similar documents become more important. It’s a huge leap from preschool where a graduation certificate is simple, colorful, and created to recognize a child’s efforts and make him happy. In college, a student may earn different credentials, from certificates, diplomas or degrees.

Programs for Certificates

A student may earn a certificate after he takes courses in a specific subject. A student would usually want to earn such a certificate to gain advancement in his career or his professional field of interest. Universities may offer programs for certificates which eventually lead to degrees.A student may also take a program to acquire a graduation certificate. He may take this on its own or along with a program to acquire a graduate degree. In some cases, a student may also make use of his electives to complete a certificate program. This would make him a more desirable candidate to potential employers.

Programs for Diplomas

Diplomas and certificates are like each other. Technical or community schools often award diplomas to students. They would serve as an alternative to a Bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree.

Programs for Degrees

There are many ways to earn an academic degree. A student can earn an associate’s degree which will take 2 years. Also, they can opt for a bachelor’s degree which would take 4 years.

A student may also take a master’s degree that will take 2 extra years. It begins after earning the bachelor’s degree. Finally, a student may also take a doctoral which is a few years after a master’s degree.

Out of all these programs, earning a degree is most beneficial. It opens a lot of doors for the student as compared to the programs for certificates or diplomas.

As you can see, there are various programs a student may choose from. And the choice would depend on the student’s long-term goals.

Keep these in mind when making graduation certificates

You now know a lot more about certificates of graduation. If you’re planning to make one for yourself, then you need to keep some things in mind. These tips will help you to create fun certificate templates. These are rewarded to the students at the end of the school year.

  • There are a lot of printable graduation certificate templates available. They come in unique designs and are usually available in the standard letter-size. You can choose cute and colorful designs when making certificates for preschool students. Otherwise, you may choose a design which is appropriate to the persons you’ll award them to.
  • Pick the design and the colors for your certificate. You can start from scratch or choose from the choices available online. If you want to make your own, you can use Microsoft Word or any similar software.
  • Making customized certificates is easy. And it would serve as a fun and meaningful keepsake for kids and even adults. You can choose to have a formal or a casual graduation ceremony. This will show your students how proud you are of everything they’ve accomplished.

When you take the time to make graduation certificates for students, it shows that you value them. Of course, you may only create personalized certificates unofficially. For high school and college students, it must come from their school.

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