Classification of highest certificate, diploma or degree
Highest certificate, diploma or degree implies a hierarchy of educational credentials; however, in a number of instances, the levels are not entirely hierarchical when comparing programs across different types of institutions.
While the categories of this classification represent Canadian awards and qualifications, this standard does not exclude equivalent qualifications obtained from accredited educational institutions or government bodies in other countries.
The categories in this classification pertain to the highest certificate, diploma or degree obtained. Accordingly, the definitions indicate 'highest' in brackets. These definitions do not refer to certificates, diplomas or degrees 'ever obtained' or to that which is 'most recent'. Where 'highest' appears in brackets in the category name, it may be omitted when the context provides clarification.
Where 'secondary' appears in brackets in the category name 'High (secondary) school diploma or equivalency certificate', it may be omitted when the context provides clarification. The presence of 'secondary' in parentheses is included to distinguish this category name from the category name 'With high school diploma or equivalency certificate' within the standard for 'Secondary (high) school diploma or equivalency certificate of person'; the former covers only people who have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate as their highest certificate, diploma or degree, while the latter covers everyone with a high school diploma or equivalency certificate irrespective of what other qualifications they possess.
Where 'College, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma' appears in brackets in the category name, it may be omitted when the context provides clarification.
For the purposes of this classification, persons who obtained trades qualifications from secondary-level vocational training programs in the province of Quebec - such as the Diplôme d'études professionnelles/Diploma of Vocational Studies (DEP/DVS) - are included in the category 'Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma.' Alternatively, such trades qualifications are included as secondary-level qualifications in the 'Classification of highest educational attainment -- variant for alternate reporting' and in the 'Classification of educational qualifications responses - variant for alternate reporting'.
The Classification of highest certificate, diploma or degree refers only to the highest education program successfully completed. In comparison, the category 'Some postsecondary education (highest)' in the Classification of highest educational attainment includes persons who have received some education that can be counted towards a postsecondary qualification but have not received any postsecondary qualification. As a result, categories of the two classifications below the level of completed postsecondary qualifications are not directly comparable.