This report details our count of postsecondary and secondary credentials in the U.S.

Notice: In 2022, Credential Engine updated this report. View it here

Executive Summary

Learners, educators and policymakers understand that high school completion and education beyond high school are critical to thrive in the workforce. However, until recently an inventory of the number or type of secondary and post-secondary credential opportunities in the United States did not exist. This is the third annual report from Credential Engine that attempts to count all these credentials. The report identifies 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S.

There are 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S. in 16 detailed credential categories across four types of credential providers:

  • Postsecondary educational institutions – 359,713 degrees and certificates
  • Massive open online course (MOOC) providers – 9,390 course completion certificates, micro-credentials, and online degrees from foreign universities
  • Non-academic providers– 549,712 badges, course completion certificates, licenses, certifications, and apprenticeships
  • Secondary schools – 48,919 diplomas from public and private secondary schools

As in prior years, this report demonstrates the nation’s need to dramatically improve transparency in the credential marketplace to promote economic growth and individual mobility. We need to know more about how credentialing practices overlap, including how certificates offered by institutions of higher education stack to further certificates and degrees, and how badges are utilized to represent these and other credentials. We need more information about what various credentials entail in order to properly categorize and understand them—from the competencies they aim to convey to the time they require to complete to their relative value in the marketplace.

New in this report is a state-by-state breakdown of credentials offered by state-based entities in five categories: diplomas, certificates, degrees, apprenticeships, and licenses.

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Tags: Credential Ecosystem, Credential Engine, Credential Transparency
Fact Sheets

Publishing Jobs Data with CTDL: One-Pager

Publishing linked open data about jobs increases opportunities for people to achieve their learning and career pathway goals spanning education, training, and work. Using the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) and the Credential Registry offers an open standard, transparent, and data-driven approach to bridging the gap between education and work in data ecosystems. It supports informed decision-making, effective skill matching, and collaborative partnerships for the betterment of learners, employers, and the economy. This one-pager provides key value propositions for improving the connections between learning and work in data ecosystems.

Fact Sheets

The Value of CTDL for AI

As uses of AI and machine learning are very quickly evolving for applications like skills mapping, learning opportunity recommendations, and career exploration, CTDL provides huge advantages for improved accuracy and relevance in these applications. The CTDL schema and CTDL data in the Credential Registry are highly useful for training and refining AI models because they are structured data that is organized, predefined, and formatted consistently. And the more data that is available in CTDL, the more thoroughly AI tools can analyze patterns in the linked open data and make valuable connections. Credential Engine is working with partners on innovations that combine CTDL as a rich data schema, the huge body of CTDL data that is already in the Credential Registry, and new AI-assisted tools that publish to and consume from the Credential Registry. This resource provides an overview of structured data and the value of CTDL for AI.

Fact Sheets

Credential Transparency State Partnerships Overview

State and regional partners are working with Credential Engine to use the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) and publish data to the Credential Registry. Credential Engine’s technologies support numerous statewide priorities. This resource provides an overview of our current state and regional partnerships.

Fact Sheets

Publishing Jobs Data with CTDL: One-Pager

Publishing linked open data about jobs increases opportunities for people to achieve their learning and career pathway goals spanning education, training, and work. Using the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) and the Credential Registry offers an open standard, transparent, and data-driven approach to bridging the gap between education and work in data ecosystems. It supports informed decision-making, effective skill matching, and collaborative partnerships for the betterment of learners, employers, and the economy. This one-pager provides key value propositions for improving the connections between learning and work in data ecosystems.

Fact Sheets

The Value of CTDL for AI

As uses of AI and machine learning are very quickly evolving for applications like skills mapping, learning opportunity recommendations, and career exploration, CTDL provides huge advantages for improved accuracy and relevance in these applications. The CTDL schema and CTDL data in the Credential Registry are highly useful for training and refining AI models because they are structured data that is organized, predefined, and formatted consistently. And the more data that is available in CTDL, the more thoroughly AI tools can analyze patterns in the linked open data and make valuable connections. Credential Engine is working with partners on innovations that combine CTDL as a rich data schema, the huge body of CTDL data that is already in the Credential Registry, and new AI-assisted tools that publish to and consume from the Credential Registry. This resource provides an overview of structured data and the value of CTDL for AI.

Fact Sheets

Credential Transparency State Partnerships Overview

State and regional partners are working with Credential Engine to use the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) and publish data to the Credential Registry. Credential Engine’s technologies support numerous statewide priorities. This resource provides an overview of our current state and regional partnerships.

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