If you’re pursuing some training anytime soon, it’s important to understand the difference between a certificate and certification. These are two very different things!

I have noticed quite a few Reiki teachers lately who are offering Reiki “certification” when what they’re really offering is a certificate. I don’t believe that they’re intentionally trying to mislead their potential students – they maybe just don’t understand the difference, and so are using both terms interchangeably.

As both a teacher offering courses – and as a student – it’s vital that you know the scope of what you’re offering or receiving.


Most Reiki training is offered as a one-time certificate that is granted upon completion.

Anyone can offer a certificate to anyone for profit. There are generally no standards of education. There is no exam to pass or questions asked to verify your learned knowledge or skills. There is no future follow-up or expectation of future professional development or upkeep of the certificate’s learning. The student is not held accountable to the issuer of the certificate in future professional endeavours. There is no way to revoke the certificate if the student, for instance, behaves unethically or contrary to the teaching.

In essence, a certificate is simply a piece of paper that declares that you were present and that you participated. Nothing more.


In contrast, certification requires all of those things mentioned above.  

Your learning is verified and graded. You need to pass questions or an examination in order to demonstrate your specialized knowledge, skills or experience. No adequate demonstration means no certification. In other words, it is an earned credential.

Certification is usually offered via an independent body, like a trade or industry association. It requires professional experience, there are industry standards to meet, and the associations that issue them are generally non-profits. Their goal is to protect the public by providing assurance to the public that the person holding the certification has the necessary knowledge, skills and competency for quality practice within their specialty.

Certification typically results in credentials that you can use after your name, and there are ongoing requirements that you must meet in order to maintain your certification.

For all of these reasons, certification means so much more than a one-time certificate of participation.

We live in a market where the buyer must be aware. I hope this info has helped you to better identify what training you’re looking for, and what training is advertised. And, if you’re the one offering the training, I hope it has helped you to identify it correctly to your students so that you can be seen as upholding the ethics of your profession.

~Heidi <3