Certificates and Credentials

In a rapidly evolving economy, Ohio must continue to highlight the qualified talent produced by the state’s public technical centers, colleges, and universities to meet the needs of our workforce. Because these education institutions had various reporting requirements, Ohio was not consistently reporting how our graduates were measuring up to workforce needs. The variations in reporting post-secondary completion certificates did not allow for Ohio to have a consistent and accurate count for the credentials and demonstrations of skills valued by employers. The Ohio Department of Higher Education has now carved out uniform definitions for certificates and a process for capturing the work of Ohio's public technical centers, colleges, and universities.

 

Definitions

General Certificates (Reported to ODHE, but may not require ODHE approval or designation)

  • Undergraduate/ Sub-Baccalaureate Certificate: An award from an educational institution that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree). These certificates are classified by IPEDs as “less than one year,” “at least one but less than two academic years” or “at least two but less than four academic years”. 

 

Technical Certificates (Reported to ODHE and require designation [for colleges and universities] or approval [for technical centers] by ODHE)

  • One Year Technical Certificate/ Technical Certificate: Certificates awarded by a post-secondary institution for the completion of an organized program of study in at least 30 semester credit hours or 900 clock hours, with the majority of the coursework completed in a prescribed technical area. While the certificates are designed to have value a part from a degree, these certificates should serve as building blocks to an associate degree. The technical certificate is designed for an occupation or specific employment opportunities. These certificates should prepare students for a valid occupational license or third-party industry certification, if available, related to the field of study.

  • Less Than One Year Technical Certificate/ Short-Term Technical Certificate:  Certificates awarded by a post-secondary institution for the completion of an organized program of study in less than 30 semester credit hours or less than 900 clock hours that are designed for an occupation or specific employment opportunities. These certificates should prepare students for a valid occupational license or third-party industry certification, if available, related to the field of study.

 

Criteria Required for Industry- Recognized Credentials: Valid Occupational Licenses or Third-Party Industry Certifications

  • All occupational licenses and registries provided by state or national professional boards.
  • The apprenticeship completion certificate issued by the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council. Apprenticeship completion certificates issued to students who achieved journeyperson status for programs not registered with the state may also be reported.
  • Industry certifications from a valid third-party. To assist in verification of the validity of the third-party certifications, ODHE, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education, is developing a list of approved industry certifications. A process for submitting certifications for approval that are not on the initial list is available below (See Approval and Review Processess). To be approved, third-party certifications must:
    • Demonstrate preparation for an occupation or occupational cluster. Certifications, such as OSHA 10 or CPR, that only encompass basic safety or a basic skill requirement and do not demonstrate a distinguishable competency for a specific job are not requested for state reporting and, standing alone, may not qualify a certificate program as technical according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education criteria.
    • Be governed by a regional, statewide, national, or international body for the related field or industry. Preference is given for national and international bodies.
    • Be recognized and valued by employers, especially sector partnerships, as leading to employment.  Certifications that are only valued for association or affinity group membership are not recommended.
    • Be related to the learning objectives of the program of study.
    • Be awarded based on results from standardized and reliable assessments that measure the designated competencies of the occupation or skill set. The state also prefers but does not require that assessments are independently graded from the educational institution.
  • NOTES ON INDUSTRY-RECOGNIZED CREDENTIALS:
    • Embedded skill certifications: An embedded certification is a minor certification in and of itself as well as a component of a more comprehensive industry certification. For example, Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Safety is an embedded certification for the MSSC Certified Production Technician and Microsoft Word is an embedded certification for Microsoft Office. Embedded skill certifications as stand-alone certifications may be collected for the purpose of reporting outcomes related to the Perkins Act but standing alone, may not qualify a certificate program as technical according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education criteria.
    • If a credential is not approved or deemed inapplicable for what the Ohio Department of Higher Education would like to report, this does not in and of itself restrict the school from using the credential. 

 

Approval and Review Processes

Colleges and Universities may submit new certificate programs for technical designation or approval with this online formOhio Adult Technical Centers should submit new certificate program for technical designation approval through the OTC HEI Data system at: https://otc-hei.ohiohighered.org  

Technical certificates are to be related to an occupational license or third-party certification when available.  Institutions may use a license or certification on the Ohio Department of Higher Education Approved Third Party Credential List or submit a new third-party credential to be considered for the list.