Credential Engine has just released a first-of-its-kind report detailing a confirmed inventory of the number of credentials in the United States. We know that students and workers in the United States have access to a vast number of credentials to obtain, enhance and signal their knowledge, skills, and abilities. There are many types of credentials—from high school diplomas, to degrees from accredited postsecondary educational institutions, to a wide range of non-degree credentials. Some of these are widely recognized and accepted, such as licenses, certifications, and registered apprenticeships; and some are newer to the scene, such as badges, Nanodegrees and MicroMasters. Every day the options within this highly complex landscape of credentials changes as new credentials are created, some are removed, occupational requirements shift with employer needs, and the economy continues its perpetual evolution. Millions of students, workers, educators, and employers who must make decisions in the convoluted U.S. credentials marketplace are greatly hindered by the lack of information on the nature of their options and how they compare with one another. In particular, as the necessity of obtaining postsecondary credentials for employability and earnings has increased, the consequences of the lack of information on credentials has resulted in significant labor market dysfunctions. Students, workers, businesses, and schools are making decisions blind, with considerable consequences for making wrong choices.
There are two main questions about credentials:
- How many are available in the U.S.?
- How can individuals—students, workers, counselors, hiring managers, educators, program administrators, policymakers—make better decisions about the relative value of different credentials for their particular needs?
This research is the start of a complex process of answering the first question. To read the full report, please see below.
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