Difference Between Diploma and Degree: Roadmap to Career Pathways

Choosing your career path is a pivotal moment that can significantly influence your professional life. Understanding the difference between diploma and degree is a crucial step in this journey, one that can be both enlightening and challenging. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the differences, benefits, and employer expectations of diplomas and degrees, providing a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.

An Overview of the Diploma and Degree Program

A diploma is a focused educational program that equips students with specific knowledge and skills in a particular area. It’s usually shorter in duration and prepares students for industry-specific roles. Community colleges, technical schools, and some universities often offer diploma programs. Many students opt for diploma programs due to their affordability and the opportunity to gain practical experience quickly. 

On the other hand, a degree course is a long-term educational program that deals with theoretical and practical knowledge. A degree provides a comprehensive and detailed study of a particular field of research and is broadly categorised as a Master’s, Postgraduate, or Doctorate. 

Furthermore, diploma and degree programs are classified into different types, each providing popular courses.

Types of Diploma and Degree Programs

The diploma courses are often conducted at the graduation level right after the 10th and 12th exams, whereas diplomas in PG are provided after graduation. Here are some of the popular courses to choose from:

Graduate Diploma Course:

  1. Diploma in Graphic Design
  2. Diploma in Engineering
  3. Diploma in Digital Marketing
  4. Diploma in Fashion Designing
  5. Diploma in Event Management

PG Diploma Course:

  1. PG Diploma in Law
  2. PG Diploma in Management
  3. PG Diploma in Business Analytics
  4. PG Diploma in Human Resources
  5. PG Diploma in Journalism

  • Degrees provide structured courses at the college and university level to equip the students with the chosen field of study in which to graduate. Here are the different types of degree one can choose:

Bachelor’s Degree

Master’s Degree

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Master of Science (MSc)

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)

Master of Commerce (MCom)

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Master of Arts (MA)

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA)

Master of Computer Applications (MCA)

Difference Between Diploma and Degree: Key Highlights

For a better understanding of diploma and degree programs, let’s see its key highlights.




Program Requirements

Completing one field of study.

It requires completion of the course with a project or a thesis.


1-2 Years 

3-4 Years (depends on bachelor’s or master’s)

Job Opportunity




High-school pass out

Higher-secondary pass out








Low Income

High Income

Admission Process




Vocational Schools or Community Colleges.

Universities offer UGC and AICTE-approved degrees.

Learning Environment 


Intense and Deep

Diploma vs Degree: Benefits

Diploma vs Degree: Benefits​

The difference between diploma and degree is vast, and each has unique benefits that cater to different academic goals. Let’s explore the exciting world of diplomas and degrees.

Diploma Benefits:

  1. Focused Learning Environment– The program is designed to equip you with vocational knowledge and practical skills in one field. For instance, if you choose a diploma in videography or coding, the curriculum is designed to prepare you for the specific demands of these industries, providing you with a reassuringly practical and relevant education.
  2. Less Cost– Most students choose a diploma because of its cost-effective features. The program is less expensive than degree courses and provides in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience
  3. Industry-Specific Skills– A diploma offers industry-specific skills in your chosen field. It prepares students for valuable skills required to perform specific tasks in an organisation through hands-on training.
  4. Low Duration– The difference between diploma and degree is that a diploma takes less time than a degree to complete and enhances your knowledge, which gets you a job faster. 
  5. Career Advancement– Even with less qualification, a diploma provides proper skills and knowledge to prepare you for job-ready prospects in various industrial sectors.:
Degree Benefits: 

  1. Broader Knowledge– A degree provides a deeper understanding of the chosen field, which can lead to numerous job opportunities.
  2. High-Salary Boost– Obtaining a graduate or postgraduate degree often reflects positively on your resume, which increases your hiring chances with an increased salary structure. 
  3. Higher Education– A degree doesn’t just open doors at the job level; it can also propel you towards higher academic positions. Many individuals pursue a postgraduate or master’s program to broaden their learning prospects and advance their careers, inspiring hope and ambition for the future.
  4. Flexible Career Option– Students with a degree earn educational skills and are ready to perform in the industry sectors. A degree often comes with numerous career options in marketing, technology, retail, banking, finance, supply chain management, etc.

Tips to Choose Between Diploma and Degree

When considering the difference between diploma and degree, aligning your decision with your career goals is crucial. Here are some tips to help you navigate this important choice and take control of your future.




Defined Career Goals

  • If you want early employment, a diploma program is beneficial.
  • Some industries value diploma certification, like healthcare, IT, automotive repair, etc.
  • On the other hand, a degree offers broad and deep education knowledge, which opens doors for high-job profiles.
  • If you want a higher academic value, a degree can level up you with a PG or doctorate.

Commitment of Time

  • Diplomas generally last 1 or 2 years, making them a good choice for joining the industrial workplace.
  • A bachelor’s degree is mostly three years long, but if you consider a master’s, it might take two or four years for an MA or BTech.

Low Financial Structure 

  • Diplomas are a cost-effective choice due to their shorter duration and comprehensive course curriculum, providing financial relief for many students.
  • Degrees are mostly more expensive than diplomas because of their longer duration.


  • Since degrees are costly, they provide high-paying jobs with better career opportunities.

Personal Preferences

  • A diploma provides a hands-on learning experience to concentrate on your specific field.
  • A diploma is the right choice if you prefer learning by doing in your field.
  • A degree provides fulfilled academic options that come with discipline, in-depth course curriculum and research work.
  • A degree from a renowned institute increases your chances of being hired by top companies.

Diploma or Degree: What Do Employers Expect?

In an organisation, job candidates require a specific level of education, and certificates can differ based on industry, job position, and seniority level. Typically, more than a diploma, a degree is considered a higher level of education required for more advanced or specialised positions. 

However, a diploma or certificate program can provide the necessary skills and knowledge for entry-level or mid-level jobs in vocational or technical fields. Ultimately, what employers expect regarding degree or diploma will depend on job requirements and industry norms.


The difference between diploma and degree will clear your doubt spontaneously if you follow the guidance thoroughly. If you are still trying to figure out what to do after 10th or 12th grade, then take time to understand your career goals that align with the program. Each program comes with its preference and choice of demand. Reading this article, one must thoroughly understand the differences and select the right program to achieve career goals. 

Enroll today in a reputed college or university for the diploma program if you want to acquire knowledge and skills immediately after completing the course. On the contrary, students who wish to earn a degree program in their preferred specialisation can take degree courses from top universities. 

If you still need clarification about which one to choose, contact Hike Education for free counselling. All the best for your future!

Difference Between Diploma and Degree : FAQs

Q1. Can I opt for the degree after a diploma?

Yes, to those who want to upgrade their education, many colleges and universities offer career pathways to diploma holders who wish to pursue a degree.

Q2. What is a better diploma or degree?

While both are equivalent in their respective way, a degree holds more power as it covers all-rounded and in-depth studies. A degree will open the door to numerous career opportunities, leading you to high-paying jobs.

Q3. Is a Diploma a good career choice?

Indeed. The vocational and comprehensive training provided during the diploma program allows you to jump straight into the job market. A diploma is achieved in a shorter period and gives you early employment.

Q4. What is the difference between diploma and degree?

A diploma is a short-term degree and is less cost-effective. On the other hand, a degree lasts for two or four years and is more expensive than a diploma.

Q5. Is work experience required for diploma programs?

Most diploma programs do not require prior work experience, though some may prefer it for specific courses.

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