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RealClear Education Features Workcred Efforts on Integrating Certifications into Degrees


In times of economic uncertainty, students, job seekers, educational providers, and employers are seeking innovative strategies to build a stronger, more secure future. Creating new stackable credential pathways are one such innovation, according to an article featured in RealClear Education authored by Karen Elzey, associate director of Workcred, and Shalin Jyotishi of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The Need for Credentials

In a recent survey, 30% of respondents believed that if they lost their job, they would need more education to replace it. A slightly higher number said they would look to change careers.

Adults with a bachelor's degree are slightly more likely to hold a certification than adults without degrees, and certification holders earn more than those without.

The data suggests that certifications provide professional value at all education levels, but identifying which industry certification should be tied to a degree is a challenge.

Working under a grant from Lumina Foundation, Workcred is partnering with APLU and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) to identify opportunities to integrate industry certifications into undergraduate degrees, with the aim that it will lead to better outcomes for students. Such outcomes may include tangible benefits such as higher salaries, higher rates of hire, and faster promotion tracks.

It is important that certifications be high quality, and the article provides guidance on how the quality of a certification can be gauged. For instance, it is crucial to understand the credibility of the organization issuing the certification as well as the development and governance processes for that certification. Certification bodies should be transparent and independent, helping to ensure impartiality and minimize conflicts of interest. A marker of quality is also third party accreditation from organizations such as the ANSI National Accreditation Board.

Read the article, Combining Degrees with Quality Certifications is a Win for Everyone.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]