Industry-based certifications are credentials awarded by private certifying bodies (not schools or governments) that are based on an individual demonstrating designated knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform a specific occupation or skill. Certification is a time-limited credential that is renewed through a recertification process.
Certifications differ in important respects from academic credentials: they are developed outside the formal educational system, are exam-based, and are administered and accredited by third parties, usually industry groups or professional associations. They involve a direct assessment of learning outcomes through a written, oral, or performance-based exam.
Over the last decade, certifications have proliferated in the areas of health care (where they are closely linked to state licensing requirements), information technology, business, and a number of emerging industries such as renewable energy, cyber-security, and advanced manufacturing. Because they are often competency-based and not dependent upon seat time, they are particularly valuable to adult and working learners seeking opportunities to document their skills, without having to enroll in a postsecondary program of study. Industry certifications can also be attractive to employers because they provide a more exact assessment of skills than a traditional degree.
Some high-priority certifications include: Registered Nurses, Cisco Certified Network Associate, National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Pest Control Advisor, Small Business Certification, Retail Management Certificate, Medical Laboratory Technician License, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry Level Acknowledgement, Certified Global Business Professional, and Adobe Certified Associate.
Emerging Practices are happening in many states with third party workforce credentialing. Click here to see a few showcase projects in the works.