Everyone knows a degree can be advantageous for someone’s career. Having a diploma hanging on your wall highlights the education you have achieved and signals you’re prepared and ready to work in your field of choice.
Degrees are useful and appropriate for many career paths, but they are not the only form of educational recognition. Many training programs for trades careers prefer to use a similar but unique form of documentation called credentials.
Credentials indicate someone’s skills and competencies. They can be earned through training accomplishments such as modules and courses completed or tests passed. They can also be earned through assessments of performance and experience. There are many types of credentials, including certifications and licenses.
Training credentials function in much the same way as a traditional degree. Here are some of the ways these two forms of accolades are more similar than you may realize.
Before you can earn a degree, you need to put in the work. You need to go to class and listen to the lectures. You need to read your books, do your homework and complete projects. You need to study for exams and then pass them. Throughout that process, you learn new things and overcome new challenges. If you’re successful in these endeavors, you achieve the ultimate goal of career education: You get prepared to do a job and do it well.
But a degree program is not the only way to get prepared for a career. Technical education and training programs for fields such as construction follow a similar process. There are still classes, books, projects and exams, but there is also more hands-on practice and performance. For many of these types of programs, on-the-job training is a major component. But rather than working toward a degree or diploma, trainees work to accrue credentials, certifications and licenses.
Whether you pursue a degree or credentials, you will be getting a great education that will set you up for success in your chosen career.
How can you prove that you are educated to a potential employer?
Simply saying you are trained for a job usually isn’t enough to convince someone to hire you. A resume or portfolio of previous work can be helpful, but most companies want to understand your formal education to ensure it meets their standards.
A degree is a quick and straightforward piece of educational evidence. A degree shows that you completed an educational program of a certain duration at a respected institution of learning. It’s a short form representation of years preparation, and it immediately gives your employer an understanding of what you know.
Credentials function in the same way. Credentials are a verifiable indicator of the skills and knowledge you have acquired from your training program. A potential employer can look at your credentials and get a snapshot of the training you have successfully completed.
Because construction credentialing programs like NCCER are standardized nationwide, any employer in any state can look up your information and know exactly where you are at in your training. This highlights both what you already know, and what you haven’t yet learned – providing clear next steps for your continuing education and helping the company to formulate ongoing training plans to help you grow.
Some construction companies require certain credentials for a candidate to be considered for a position. Some companies do not require credentials but look at them as a bonus and a positive extra qualification.
With the right credentials, individuals can position themselves better compared to another job candidate without credentials. This means not only having a better chance of being offered the job, but also potentially having a better title and higher starting pay.
This is similar to how different degrees can boost a job-seeker’s resume. For example, a job listing may only require a bachelor’s degree, but a candidate with a master’s degree may be looked at more favorably with potential for better compensation.
And just like an employee with an undergraduate degree going back to school for a graduate degree, credentialed employees can continue to get more training and earn additional credentials. By doing this, they open the door to more advancement opportunities and wage increases.
When deciding on your future plans for career education, craft training programs that provide industry-recognized credentials deserve your consideration. They can and will set you up for success!