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The Emerging World of Alternative Credentials

Alternative education Credentials infographic from the United States Census Bureau

“Alternative” credentials are gaining steam, on both the state and national level, as employers continue struggling with an ever increasing number of hard to fill vacancies.  As Baby Boomers retire in record numbers the pipe line for entry level workers in many fields is virtually empty.  To help fill the gap more and more employers are looking at non-traditional ways of recognizing which applicants possess the skills and knowledge necessary in an ever changing workplace.   According to Education Today, “with two-thirds of U.S. college or university students falling into the non-traditional category (meaning they aren’t first-time, first-year students arriving on campus straight from high school), non-degree certificate programs may play an increasing role in providing postsecondary education opportunities for more Americans.”

In January of 2014 the U.S. Census Bureau released its first ever study of job placement, earnings and advancement of these non-degree programs.  The report, Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials, found that in fall 2012, 50 million U.S. adults, or one in four, had obtained a professional certification, license or educational certificate apart from a postsecondary degree awarded by colleges and universities. The report shows that, in general, these alternative credentials provide a path to higher earnings.

“Among the adults included in the report, 12 million had both a professional certification or license and an educational certificate; 34 million had only a professional certification or license; and 7 million had only an educational certificate.” (US Census Bureau)

If you’d like to learn more some of the A-B Tech’s Continuing Education classes that can help you earn a state or nationally recognized credential click here:

Nancy Troxler

Coordinator, Occupational and Skilled Trades