Certification is official proof that something is true or authentic, or the process of obtaining that proof. To work as a life guard, you need certification in both swimming and first aid — and a whole lot of sunscreen.

If you want to be an elementary school teacher, you'll need to get certification, which shows you've been tested and found qualified to teach. Likewise, an auto mechanic's certification demonstrates her education and skill at car repair. One element of certification is demonstrating your ability, and the other is obtaining a document (or certificate) so you can prove that ability to other people.

Definitions of certification
  1. noun
    confirmation that some fact or statement is true through the use of documentary evidence
    synonyms: corroboration, documentation
    see moresee less
    type of:
    information that confirms or verifies
  2. noun
    a document attesting to the truth of certain stated facts
    synonyms: certificate, credential, credentials
    see moresee less
    show 9 types...
    hide 9 types...
    certificate of incorporation
    state approval of the articles of incorporation of a corporation
    birth certificate
    a copy of the official document giving details of a person's birth
    diploma, sheepskin
    a document certifying the successful completion of a course of study
    commission, military commission
    an official document issued by a government and conferring on the recipient the rank of an officer in the armed forces
    bill of health
    a certificate saying that a departing ship's company is healthy (to be presented at the next port of arrival)
    a document certifying an act of registering
    teacher's certificate, teaching certificate
    a certificate saying that the holder is qualified to teach in the public schools
    probate, probate will
    a judicial certificate saying that a will is genuine and conferring on the executors the power to administer the estate
    HND, Higher National Diploma
    a diploma given for vocational training that prepares the student for a career in a particular area; good students may progress to a course leading to a degree
    type of:
    document, papers, written document
    writing that provides information (especially information of an official nature)
  3. noun
    validating the authenticity of something or someone
    synonyms: authentication
    see moresee less
    type of:
    proof, substantiation, validation
    the act of validating; finding or testing the truth of something
  4. noun
    the act of certifying or bestowing a franchise on
    synonyms: enfranchisement
    see moresee less
    the act of withdrawing certification or terminating a franchise
    the act of granting credit or recognition (especially with respect to educational institution that maintains suitable standards)
    type of:
    authorisation, authorization, empowerment
    the act of conferring legality or sanction or formal warrant
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week