Topic

Non-degree Credentials

Overview 

Non-degree credentials include certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeship educational certificates, occupational licenses, noncredit and credit certificates, microcredentials, and digital badges. Non-degree credentials are offered by educational institutions, private training providers, industry associations, unions, and others. Non-degree credentials are a key component of individual economic development and credential attainment goals. They include and encompass a diverse range of learning experiences and alternative pathways. They help workers obtain better jobs, and can reconnect them to further training opportunities. Non-degree credentials are often offered over a short period of time.

  • Education Commission of the States: Nondegree credentials are often identified as opportunities for people to earn work-relevant education in a short period of time. However, not all non-degree credentials offer quality, value or stackability, which allows them to be applied to future work or education-related endeavors. Incorporating these qualities into non-degree credentials also requires the involvement of education, economic and workforce stakeholders.
  • National Skills Coalition: Non-degree credentials, such as certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeship certificates, and occupational licenses, are a key component of state economic development and credential attainment goals, helping workers obtain better jobs and serving to reconnect them to further postsecondary education and training opportunities.
  • NCRN (2021): Non-degree credentials include certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeship educational certificates, occupational licenses, and digital badges.
  • Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center: Non-degree credentials include a wide range of awards, including noncredit and credit certificates, industry certifications, occupational licensure, apprenticeships, and badges and microcredentials, offered by educational institutions, private training providers, industry associations, unions, and others.
  • Strada Education Network: The non-degree category includes a diverse range of learning experiences, such as certificate programs at community colleges, apprenticeships, vocational training, industry-based certifications, and occupational licenses, and more.

Ecosystem Relationship

Non-degree credentials are a type of credential offered by some providers. It also relates to quality and value, as some non-degree credentials are not stackable or transferable. 

Types/Examples

Non-degree credentials include certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships, educational certificates, occupational licenses, and digital badges.

Alternative Terminology

  • Certificates, industry certifications
  • Apprenticeship certificates
  • Occupational licenses
  • Noncredit and credit certificates
  • Microcredentials
  • Digital badges

See Also

  • Quality Non-degree Credential: Quality non-degree credentials provide workers and learners with the means to successfully achieve their employment and educational goals. In order to qualify, there must be valid, reliable, and transparent evidence that the credential constitutes quality. Quality non-degree credentials have substantial job opportunities associated with them, have affiliated competencies, and are part of educational or training pathways.
  • Prior learning assessment (aka recognition of prior learning): is a term used for various methods of valuing college-level learning that has taken place outside of formal educational institutions, that can be assessed to count toward degrees or other credentials.

References

References

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