Embedding and Aligning Certifications with Academic Programs


Key Terms

Accreditation: A third-party attestation conveying a formal demonstration of an organization’s competence to carry out specific tasks.

Certificate of Achievement or Assessment-Based Certificate: A document issued to demonstrate the successful completion of an education or training program; it includes an assessment(s) of the learner’s achievement of intended learning outcomes.

Certificate of Completion: A certificate issued after an individual completes or attends an education and training program. These types of certificates do not include an assessment of learning.

Certification: A learner earns certification after passing a third-party assessment based on a set of competency standards or minimum performance expectations. These standards are set through a defensible, industry- or profession-wide job analysis process which is reviewed and revised regularly. Recertification may be required to keep a certification current. Certifications may be revoked for incompetence, unethical behavior, or failure to meet recertification requirements. 

Competence: The ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results.

Examination Blueprint/Outline: The content areas to be included in an examination, together with the criteria (weighting) of the content areas on the overall examination.

Job Analysis or Job Task Analysis: The method(s) used to identify specific jobs or job-related tasks and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform them competently. Job analysis establishes the validity of assessments used in issuing credentials

Recertification: The process for renewing a certification—to ensure that the certification holder has up-to-date knowledge and skills. Recertification may involve taking an assessment, completing continuing education courses, paying a fee, meeting experience requirements, and/or maintaining ethical conduct. 

Scope of Certification: The range and nature of specific tasks that a certified person is expected to be able to perform competently, by virtue of holding a specific certification within a certification scheme.

Additional Resources

Information about accreditation, standards, and compliance impacting companies especially in the learn-and-work ecosystem may be found at the Learn & Work Ecosystem Library:

Improving Education and Employment Outcomes

New Reports Share Innovations in Credentialing