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Credential Transparency Illuminates Paths to a Better Future

Credential Engine’s new video puts forth a shared vision for credential transparency—why we need it and what is possible with it.

Why do we expect people to be able to navigate the credential landscape without rich information guiding them? Without proper tools that can help them make their journey as rewarding as possible? Especially when it is hard for people to find their way through new or ever-changing landscapes without proper navigation equipment—information that shows the end goal, where danger lies along the way, and where they can get help if needed. Even experienced hikers get lost in dense terrain without a map and a compass. 

For the credential landscape, greater transparency is that map and compass. Credential transparency means that essential information about credentials—including their associated skills and competencies—are public, easily accessible, and actionable. This way credentials can be better understood and pursued based on what it takes to earn them, what they represent, and the jobs they can lead to. It’s time we give people the information and tools they need to get credentials when they need them.

Why is Credential Transparency Important?

Credential Engine’s newest research report, Counting U.S. Postsecondary and Secondary Credentials, finds that there are nearly 1 million credentials offered in the U.S. While these represent important opportunities for people to get ahead, the current landscape is not easily navigable. With so many credentials to choose from—and without widespread adoption of standards for comparing and evaluating them—people get lost and lose out on opportunity. People need better information to navigate pathways to credentials, into the workforce, and toward their goals. The time is now to work toward credential transparency. 

Credential transparency can illuminate paths to a better future by shining a light on available pathways through education and training into careers. Transparent credential data can also help education and training providers, policy makers, employers, and state agencies to discover areas of need so they can better allocate resources to create missing pathways. This way people can have equitable, reliable, and accessible paths to fill their needs. This way everyone can find the best avenues to success.  

But all of us must work together to make this vision a reality.

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We need to make sure that credential data speak a common language. There are too many different ways to describe similar credentials, skills, and competencies—making it nearly impossible to compare between offerings. This is why Credential Engine has developed the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL)—a common language that allows credential providers to catalog, organize, and describe their credentials. The CTDL is widely respected as the standard language to create a common understanding across credentials, skills, competencies, and their outcomes.

Once credential data are mapped to the CTDL, providers upload that information to the public, cloud-based Credential Registry so that it can be openly available for anyone, anytime, anywhere. By adding data to the Registry, stakeholders fuel the creation of services and tools that allow students, employers, and workers to choose the best path forward. Together, the CTDL and the Credential Registry make credential information accessible, discoverable, comparable, and actionable—enabling the vision of credential transparency to become a reality.

Get Involved

In order for credential transparency to have the greatest impact, credential providers, employers, policymakers, and thought leaders all have to come together to share and use data in the Registry. This vision requires all of us. Together, we can ensure that learners and workers have access to the information they need in order to make use of their opportunities and get ahead. Together—through credential transparency—we can illuminate paths to a better future.

If you want to get involved, please email us at: info@credentialengine.org.

Watch and share the video.

Explore the related Infographic.