Quality Non-degree Credential


This page is under development. Definitions come from Definitions & Use of Key Terms & Concepts in Incremental Credentialing from Credential As You Go.


  • National Skills Coalition: A quality non-degree credential (NDC) is one that provides individuals with the means to equitably achieve their informed employment and educational goals. There must be valid, reliable, and transparent evidence that the credential satisfies the criteria that constitute quality. Four criteria should be considered for a credential to be identified as a quality credential. NSC recommends the first three criteria be required and the fourth—stackability—be strongly preferred. Each criterion stands not alone but as part of a package. Required Criteria:
    • There must be evidence of substantial job opportunities associated with the credential. Evidence must include quantitative data and direct communication with employers.
    • There must be transparent evidence of the competencies mastered by credential holders; competencies that align with expected job opportunities. A definition of a quality credential need not include any standard regarding length of time.
    • There must be evidence of the employment and earnings outcomes of individuals after obtaining the credential.
    • Strongly Preferred Criterion: The credential would ideally stack to additional education or training. The gold standard is that credentials stack to additional education or training, but there is not a universal pathway to reach this standard so states agreed it should not be an overarching required criterion in defining a quality credential.


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