non-degree credentials

States show progress in measuring non-degree credentials

Non-degree credentials are important to the workforce--here's how states are meeting the challenge

States continue to struggle with collecting data on non-registered apprenticeship certificates and industry certifications, and the majority also struggle to incorporate non-degree credentials data into their state longitudinal data systems, except for for-credit certificates.

The majority of states say they can break down data about their non-degree credential attainment by key demographics, including race/ethnicity or age, likely by collecting individual-level data about students, including demographic information. Thirty-eight states can disaggregate by gender, 31 by highest educational attainment, and 27 by veteran status.

When it comes to counting non-degree credentials toward their attainment goals, many states are hesitant to count all types of non-degree credentials, and instead they choose to only count the credentials they determine to have value in the labor market or are otherwise high quality.

To that end, 30 states have or are developing a list of “credentials of value” to deliver financial aid, workforce development, or other programs.

In order to do this, states say they are currently, or have plans to:

  • Use labor market information to better understand in-demand industries and occupations as well as skills gaps
  • Engage employers to learn more about what they look for when hiring
  • Examine employment and wage outcomes of credential completers

Specifically, 26 states say they currently or will identify programs of study associated with high-demand industries or occupations. Twenty-four states report that they currently or will determine where there are skills gaps. Twenty-three states say they currently or will analyze the employment rates and/or average earnings of those with various credentials. Finally, 21 states report that they currently or will get regular input from employers about the skills and credentials they are looking for when hiring.

Laura Ascione

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