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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.

Credential transparency provides information illuminating paths to a better future. This infographic shows how credential transparency is a shared benefit for all stakeholders, how it connects people to their goals, and how all of us can work together to make it a reality.

Greater transparency makes essential information about credentials and competencies public, easily accessible, and actionable so that 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. Credential transparency gets people to their desired destinations more easily, efficiently, and equitably.

Credential transparency is made possible by technology such as the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL)—a common language that allows stakeholders to catalog, organize, and compare credentials. Stakeholders who use the CTDL to map their credentials and related outcomes are encouraged to add that information to the public Credential Registry so that it can be openly available for anyone, anytime, anywhere to understand credentials.

The CTDL is widely respected as the standard language to create a common understanding across credentials, skills, competencies, and their outcomes. 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.

But it takes all of us. Credential providers, employers, policymakers, and thought leaders all have to come together to share and use data in the Registry in order for transparency to have the greatest impact. 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.

With greater transparency:

  • Learners and workers can understand the availability, costs, time, and value of the di­fferent credentials available to them. Transparency lets learners and workers see how best to get to where they want to go.
  • Credential providers can more clearly describe the credentials they o­ffer, their quality and value, and how they help meet the needs of individuals, businesses, and the community.
  • Employers can discover and hire people who have the skills and competencies needed for the jobs of today while e­ffectively planning for and signaling the needs of tomorrow.
  • Policymakers and thought leaders can better understand the credentials available, which are high quality, and can better support economic needs at scale.

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