Examines how states collect data on people completing non-degree credentials, such as registered and non-registered apprenticeships, non-credit and credit certificates, and licenses, through a 50-state scan.

“The [author] has surveyed all fifty states, and the District of Columbia, to learn whether states are collecting individual-level data about non-degree credentials, incorporating that data into their [state longitudinal data systems] SLDS, evaluating attainment by subpopulation, and identifying credentials of value” (p.2).

“Many states include non-degree credentials (such as certificates, industry certifications, or licenses) within their statewide educational attainment goal. These goals set targets for the percentage of residents with a postsecondary credential” (p.2). “Although gathering data about non-degree credentials and identifying credentials of value is new to many states, a number of states already provide examples of this work” (p.6). The report provides examples of states implementing non-degree credentials, such as non-credit certificates in Missouri, private occupational school data in Washington, registered apprenticeship certificates in Iowa, occupational licenses in Indiana, industry certificates in Tennessee, and credentials of value in Virginia and New Jersey (p.6-8). The report concludes with survey results from all states, including each state’s non-degree credential data collection efforts, demographic/descriptive variables collected to disaggregate data, and whether a state has a longitudinal data system.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

It is “challenging for states to measure residents’ progress towards attaining non-degree credentials. Many non-degree credentials, such as industry certifications, non-registered apprenticeship certificates, and non-credit program certificates from public or private institutions, are awarded after the completion of programs that may not be regulated by the state…[and] may not require submission of this data. Other non-degree credentials, such as licenses, are awarded by the state, but awards come from multiple state agencies. Accordingly, the data is often spread out across agencies and can be difficult to…compile. Finally, non-degree credentials such as registered apprenticeships, may be awarded by the federal government. While the federal government does make this data available to states, many states are not aware of the process for obtaining it” (p.2-3). “This scan finds that no state has comprehensive data about all types of non-degree credentials. States are the most likely to have data about public for-credit certificate programs, registered apprenticeship certificates, and licenses. Thirty-six states report having most or all individual-level data on for-credit certificates from public two-year institutions in their state. Twenty-seven states report having most or all data about registered apprenticeship certificates, and twenty-two states report having most or all licensing data. States struggle to collect data on non-registered apprenticeship certificates and industry certifications. The majority of states also struggle to incorporate non-degree credentials data into their SLDS (except for for-credit certificates). However, the majority of states report that for the non-degree credentials they do collect data on they can break-down attainment by key demographics. Forty states…can disaggregate credential attainment by age and race/ethnicity. Most states are also interested in identifying credentials of value. Thirty states report that they have or are developing a list of ’credentials of value,’ to administer financial aid, workforce development, or other programs” (p.2). “In order to do this, states say they are currently, or have plans to (1) utilize labor market information to better understand in-demand industries and occupations as well as skills gaps; (2) engage employers to learn more about what they look for when hiring; and (3) examine employment and wage outcomes of credential completers” (p.4). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)