Premier Inventory Report from Credential Engine Confirms Over 300,000 Credentials in the United States

April 5, 2018 (Washington, DC) – Today, Credential Engine released a new report detailing the first-ever estimated count of secondary and postsecondary education credentials in the United States. Researchers from the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy confirmed a count of 334,114 credentials including high school diplomas, postsecondary degrees and certificates, registered apprenticeships, certifications, licenses, alternative degree programs, and bootcamps.

Credential Engine, a national nonprofit focused on bringing transparency to the marketplace of credentials, detailed the findings of this report during the US News STEM Solutions conference in Washington, D.C. “This report confirms what many have intuitively known – the scale and complexity of the marketplace of credentials is vast, and the variation across credential types makes it exceptionally challenging for most individuals to understand and evaluate the options,” executive director, Scott Cheney, said. “Shedding more light on these credentials will make it easier for students, workers, and veterans to make informed choices, easier for employers to find good candidates, and easier for program managers and policymakers to know which credentials are part of best practices and lead to the best outcomes.”

The report, Counting U.S. Secondary and Postsecondary Credentials, breaks down credentials by type and provides an overview of the estimated count within each type, as well as a discussion of the current sources of data and what gaps exist. It is worth stating that not every credential type has reliable sources of aggregate data to provide reliable estimates. As the report notes, it “does not include counts for noncredit postsecondary certificates, awards by non-Title IV institutions, unregistered apprenticeships, and badges.” An updated report with an initial estimate of badge classes is expected out from Credential Engine this fall.

“Credentialing data holds critical information for students, workers, employers, and educators, but we don’t know as much about credentials as we should. This report serves as a first step towards bringing transparency to the marketplace and we will continue to investigate new data sources and provide updates on an annual basis,” said Cheney. “We look forward to sharing our findings and working with others in the field to discover new ways for credential data to improve education and workforce systems.”


Note: This report inventories confirmed secondary and postsecondary credentials available on the market in the United States. To date, the Credential Registry has captured a percentage of these credentials for search and comparison in the Credential Finder


Credential Engine is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of bringing transparency to all credentials, revealing the marketplace of credentials, increasing credential literacy, and allowing students, workers, employers, educators and policymakers to make more informed decisions about credentials and their value.

Credential Engine Communications Contact: Carrie Samson

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