What’s the difference between an U.S. Associate’s Degree and a Canadian Diploma?

Thursday 23 Aug 2018

At GBC Tech Training, we’re often asked the question: how does a two-year U.S. Associate’s Degree compare to a two-year Diploma from a Canadian College? It’s an important question, particularly for our U.S. based students who may be interested in our programs and aren’t quite sure how they measure up.

US Associate's Degree vs Canadian Diploma

So, how do they compare?

  • They both typically are two-year programs, and can be used as starting points for students who wish to pursue further education

  • Associate’s Degrees and Diplomas take a more skills-focused, hands-on learning approach best suited for students who are hoping for a more direct transition into the workforce.

  • In the U.S., there are colleges that specialize in Associate’s Degrees and allow students to continue on to a four-year college to complete a degree. In Canada, the diploma is similar in that it offers an intermediate, credit-bearing option for students with the possible secondary goal of a Bachelor’s Degree.

  • Some students pursue unique careers that are achieved directly through a two-year program and can’t be found at the four-year level. This program diversity is a large reason why Diploma and Associate’s programs are able to attract students from lengthier programs available at Universities.

  • Affordability is always a major concern for students with rising tuition and living costs. For many, a two-year Associate’s Degree or Diploma program is the most cost-effective choice as they are much less expensive than Bachelor’s programs and can be completed much more quickly.

How does a GBC Technician Certificate fit into the mix?

It should now be clear that a Diploma and an Associate’s Degree are quite similar, but what about the GBC Technician Certificate? In fact, it’s quite unique from both for the following reasons:

  • It is even more specific, as it omits the general education requirements of a diploma or associate’s degree. You’ll be gaining technical skills, experience and credentials to transfer to the workplace right away.

  • Our Technical Certificates are made to be adaptable and fit your schedule. You’ll have the flexibility to continue a full-time job or other prior commitments while completing the courses at your own pace, from your own home.

  • The total cost is much lower than tuition costs for other two-year level programs. We also offer a Pay-as-you-learn option for those who wish to try out the program, and then register later into modules when it fits their budget.

There are however some important similarities to mention. Like diplomas and associate’s degrees, a GBC Technician Certificate is a great stepping stone to continue to higher education. The program credits are referred to as Continuing Education Units (CEUs) which can be applied for transfer. A prime example of this is the Electronics Technician Certificate Program, which has 4 established pathways for students who want to continue learning and earn a diploma or bachelor’s degree.

No matter where you start, a GBC Technical Certificate, Diploma, or Associate’s Degree are all valuable education choices, depending on your needs.

If you have questions about GBC Technician Certificates, give us a call toll-free at 1-888-553-5333, or email us at

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