Licenses, Certificates, Badges—Oh My!

Licenses, Certificates, Badges—Oh My!

CTE Policy Watch: A blog for CTE advocates

Licenses, Certificates, Badges—Oh My!

Posted: 12 Oct 2016 12:43 PM PDT

Today, the conversation is all about credentials—What credentials should an individual earn? How do credentials impact employment and earnings? What about these newer types of credentials, like digital badges? More and more resources and research are helping to make sense of this growing ecosystem.

Earning STEM Credentials at the Community College: Students earning career-oriented STEM credentials at community colleges—particularly associate degrees—reap short-term earnings benefits, confirms an analysis of Virginia Community College System data. In particular, allied health and technician programs lead to higher earnings. This research also compared STEM and non-STEM community college students and found them very similar, suggesting that more students could pursue STEM education successfully.

The Value of Postsecondary Certificates: The number of postsecondary certificates awarded has skyrocketed in recent years—an increase of 63 percent for long-term certificates and 157 percent for short-term certificates between 2000 and 2012, according to a Brookings brief—as people search for credentials with value in the workplace that take less time and money to earn. But what value do these credentials have? This publication summarizes what we know so far about what the benefits of certificates, including the greater return on average for long-term certificates over short-term certificates, and how certificate returns vary by career field.

Licenses and Certifications 101: Do you need a quick resource that helps students understand why and for what careers they might need to earn a license or industry certification? This Bureau of Labor Statistics article may come in handy.

Growth in Digital Badges: To recognize students for skills and experience that are not captured on transcripts, colleges are increasingly adopting digital badges: One in five colleges, according to the University Professional Continuing Education Association and Pearson, as reported in Inside Higher Ed.


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October 13, 2016