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Learning 11 MIN READ

How to Create a Course Certificate with 17 Free Templates

Certificates, whether earned as part of a class or at graduation, are considered incentives for students. An online or printable certificate is proof that a learner has a significant accreditation.

The same applies to online courses.

Certificates can add value and credibility to your paid or free training program. Yet that’s just the beginning.

From the students’ perspective, a certificate can also be used to get a job, earn a higher salary or a promotion. An annual unrealized revenue of more than $8 trillion could result from a talent shortage left unchecked, according to a Korn Ferry Institute report. As such, getting the required training and having proof (e.g., a professional certificate) of it can help a lot to progress professionally.

What online courses can do about professional development is to offer accredited proof of acquired skills through certificates of completion or graduation certificates.
So, what can you do as an online school and as a course creator to strengthen your learners’ competitive advantage in the market they are activated in? You can offer them a certificate of training.

The purpose of this blog post is to present the reasons why course certificates are valuable to your online school and your learners, and the types of diploma certificates you can issue. Last but certainly not least, we provide you with a free download of course certificates templates.

What Is the Purpose of Certificates?

Offering a training course certificate is another way to demonstrate how much you care about your students and how willing you are to help them.

A certificate though isn’t only beneficial for your students, but also your online school and business in the long run.

Why Are Award Certificates Important?

Studies have shown that certificates increase student engagement and course completion rates. Documents and diplomas prove to students that they have gained more knowledge that they can use in the future.

By setting a goal of adding one more certificate to the portfolio of your students, you give them a further incentive to complete the course. That’s also a great way to reduce drop-out rates.

Earning a certificate is a great way to understand how many of your students have finished a course. It allows students to feel the completion as a sense of achievement and instructors to keep track of successful completions and students who dropped out along the way.

If then again you are selling training to corporations, a course completion certificate also offers a great way to present the information. Certificates can be printed, shared via social media (e.g., LinkedIn), and shared with the HR department or the management of the company.

The credibility of your course increases when you provide a high-quality certificate of participation or a certificate of training. Use training course certificates to document professional development, CPE credits and hours, even to award the employee of the month. As a result, you will more likely be chosen by corporations to provide corporate training as opposed to other schools.

If you own a company, you can create an online academy and require a certain number of people to get a professional certificate of training or undergo a 30-hour training program. Besides, you can set a certain amount of training courses for employees to complete and get a graduation certificate before they can further advance in your company. This way you will be reassured your employees hold the right and most recent qualifications.

Generally, it’s a good idea to reach out to professional awarding-bodies to make sure that your training is recognized and provides high-quality service.
For instance, you can offer CPE training with LearnWorlds. Keep in mind that to be able to offer the CPE certification to your employees, you first need to research your local government’s requirements or professional associations relevant to your industry.

According to CareerWise, one continuing education unit (CEU) is defined as 10 contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education program under competent direction and qualified instruction. So make sure you check this before you are able to offer certificates.

The certification provided by your course may make it more attractive than other courses since it is a vital career building block. Most employers use certifications as a criterion for hiring and promoting candidates, and they are willing to pay certified professionals more. Qualifications at each career stage constitute a career ladder, validating credentials from beginner to expert.

Going the extra mile for your students and offering them a certificate, essentially reflects your own success as an online instructor.

Additionally, every diploma certificate proudly presented by your students (e.g., shared via professional social media or included in their CV) increases the visibility of your brand name. Awareness is the first step to creating a global branding.

Just, think about it. A more professional service will attract more people in part due to FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out – factor.

Keep in mind that students can share the course certificates they earn in your school on their LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter social media profiles directly from LearnWorlds with just one click! In this way, your course has a better chance of spreading virally and attracting more interest and sales.

Also, you have the option to link and share certificates on LinkedIn’s AddToProfile’s service and offer them to your students.

Types of Certificates

Certificates come in many different forms (e.g., ms word, png, editable, printable, etc.) and types. For online training, it is helpful to distinguish between two main types of certificates: certificates of completion and certificates of knowledge.

Type #1: Certificate of Completion

This type of certificate is awarded to students when they complete all the learning units of a course or when they receive a passing grade in all the course examinations.

Type #2: Certificate of Knowledge

This type of certificate is awarded at the end of the course duration once the tuition is completed. It requires passing a final exam that is designed especially for this purpose.

Outside of online training, there are more types of certificates including certificates of achievement, acknowledgment, excellence, participation, competition, and proficiency amongst many others that we will describe next.

Course Certificate Templates

Here are 17 examples of different types of certificates – diploma templates and award templates – that you can use in your online courses or simply get inspired by to help you create your own certificate designs.

Template #1: Certificate of Achievement

A certificate of achievement created with Visme

You can offer a certificate of achievement to students at high-school level mostly. As a qualification, it can help enrich their portfolio to appeal to a college recruiter. It is different from a diploma certificate and usually carries less professional value.

Template #2: Certificate of Completion

A certificate of training completion template created with PowerPoint.

This is an example of a certificate of completion and it’s usually what online course students need to advance to the next course unit.

Template #3: Certificate of Excellence

A certificate of excellence created with Edraw.

A certificate of excellence describes the outstanding performance of students and the dedication they showed in learning and advancing in a specific course.

Template #4: Certificate of Excellence

A certificate of excellence created with Edraw.

Like the previous template, this is another template for a certificate of excellence focusing on the student performance that is editable and can be customized to your own requirements.

Template #5: Certificate of Competition

A certificate of completion created with Edraw.

A certificate of competition is awarded to students when they take part in a competition, or a contest, and it works as proof or acknowledgment of their participation.

Template #6: Certificate of Training

An award certificate template created with PowerPoint.

This is a certificate that shows training participation and can certify that students have undergone successful training.

Template #7: Certificate of Completion

A certificate of completion template created with Canva.

This is another template for a certificate of completion that uses a modern design and reflects the personality of the school/brand.

Template #8: Certificate of Completion

Certificate of completion created with Canva.

A template for certificate of completion that is simple yet to the point and has everything it needs to include on it.

Template #9: Certificate of Excellence

A certificate of excellence created with Microsoft Word

Another template for a certificate of excellence awarding a student’s outstanding performance.

Template #10: Certificate of Proficiency

Certificate of Proficiency from Certificate Of

A certificate of proficiency awards competency in knowledge, understanding, and application of the learning subject. This template has a more conservative look and can be used in more formal situations.

Training Certificate Templates

Certificates of completion, achievement, and excellence as listed above, are more common in online course training. However, there are more training-specific certificates that you can use for corporate training as an online business.

Template #11: Certificate of Award

Safety award template for CPE training created with Microsoft Word.

This is a certificate that is industry-specific and rewards an employee for the successful completion of the safety training.

Template #12: Certificate of Award

Award certificate template created with Microsoft Word.

A blank certificate that has clean design and presents a certificate of award, either for outstanding performance or a job done right.

Template #13: Certification of Appreciation

A certificate of appreciation template created with Visme

An appreciation certificate can go out to employees that have shown outstanding work in a position, a department, or a project.

Template #14: Certificate of Appreciation

Certificate of participation template with Visme.

A certificate of participation or certificate of recognition goes out to employees that have taken part in a team project or a presentation and have shown excellent performance.

Template #15: Certificate for Employee of the Month

An employee of the month certificate template created with Microsoft Word.

As a business owner, you can carry out corporate training and based on the results you get from your employees and their performance, you can award them with the ‘employee of the month’ certificate.

Template #16: Certificate of Attendance

A certificate of Attendance template from Fotor

A certificate of attendance goes out to people who have attended a webinar, a seminar, a training workshop or any work-related program and counts towards the continuous professional development practice of employees.

Template #17: Certificate of Achievement

A certificate of achievement created with Microsoft Word.

A certificate of achievement is to certify that individuals have achieved the goal of a program or a project and they managed to perform as expected.

As you can see from the example of the achievement certificate template above, certificates may range in style, fonts, and colors. This has much to do with the brand you want to create for your courses and as a whole for your school.

For example, do you need it to have a conservative look or a modern touch?

Pay attention to this and try to retain an image that reflects the personality, look and feel, and the teaching style of your school.

In the same way, make an effort to make it a grand occasion each time your students get awarded with a certificate. An example would be, using a unique color scheme for the certifications of Level 1 to distinguish it from Level 2 certification or try any other variation that arises out of these.

Some certificates may also present less information than others. It’s really up to you what you are going to include on it, but we suggest that it has at least the following basic ingredients:

The following example shows what the final template of a Certificate of Knowledge with all the essential information can look like:

A certificate of knowledge created with Canva

P.S. Also, you can download for free and check out the course certificates templates we have prepared for you:

Tools on Creating Certificates

With just a quick search on Google, you can find tons of resources and tools to help you create certificates. Out of the most valued ones that are recognized in the area of certificate design are the following:

How to Upload a Course Certificate in LearnWorlds

Creating a certificate using an attractive, high-quality template will help your completion program look professional. With LearnWorlds you don’t have to worry about how to give certificates to students as it uses PDF templates with fields corresponding to data (e.g., username, the course title, etc).

To determine those fields, you can use any PDF editor. PDFescape is a good option for this job! The set-up is super easy, and you can read more about it here.

A certificate of knowledge created with Canva

When a student completes the course, they are instantly directed to their certificate of completion. Additionally, an email is sent to the student with a link to their certificate.

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Another important thing you will love is that certificates of completion can be accessed not only from your online school or mobile site but also through its mobile apps so students can access their certification from anywhere. Neat, right?

Now, to add to the overall experience of creating certificates with LearnWorlds here is what you can do:
Use certificates as event triggers

With Zapier, you can set an automated action to follow-up on a certificate. You might want to send the student an email, a gift certificate, a discount code or any other related material.

You can also automatically send an email to congratulate your students once they have mastered the certificate or document their data in an excel file.

Besides, you can also automate access to specific materials, another course or part two of the same course only after they have completed the first course (like a drip-feed, a learning path sequence).

This is the best time to reach out to your learners and sell another course. Use the certificate of completion as an event trigger and send your students an email or SMS with a discount code!

Create Value-Added Courses with Certificates

What’s awesome about certificates is that they’re easy to make – and with no hard work, they can gain the credibility of students right away!

And here’s an awesome alternative we have created for you. A free to download collection of course certificate templates to help you get started with ease!

Offering a course certificate to your learners is an add-on and a valuable service for your online school. Not only can it offer thorough and in-depth knowledge in the course subject you teach, but it also ensures that you offer a good quality of education.

So, how about you? Are you planning to offer students the option of becoming certified? Feel free to share your thoughts with us!

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Course Designer & Content Creator at LearnWorlds

Anthea is a Course designer and Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team. She holds years of experience in instructional design and teaching. With a Master of Education (M.Ed.) focused in Modern Teaching Methods & ICT (Information & Communications Technology), she supplements her knowledge with practical experience in E-Learning and Educational Technology.

Content Creator at

Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.