An academic certificate is a document that certifies that a person has received specific education or has passed a test or series of tests.
In many countries, certificate is a qualification attained in secondary education. For instance, students in the Republic of Ireland sit the Junior Certificate and follow it with the Leaving Certificate. Similarly, other countries have awards, for instance, in Australia the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in New South Wales, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in Victoria, etc., is the examination taken on completion of secondary education.
In many other countries, certificates are qualifications in higher education. For example, in the Republic of Ireland, the National Certificate, which is soon to be replaced by the “Higher Certificate”. These have the titles Certificate (at an undergraduate level), Graduate Certificate (at an undergraduate level, but requiring the completion of a prior undergraduate degree for admission) and Postgraduate Certificate (at a postgraduate level). In Hong Kong, students take the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Certificate is below the standard of the associate degree and higher diploma, which are below the bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate certificates are taken after the bachelor’s degree and are more vocational oriented than master’s degree.