Jan 11, 2021

4 min read

Certification Bodies are Well-Positioned to Link Data and Deepen Understanding of ROI of Certification

Survey data shows that certification bodies are ready to participate in linking their administrative data with other administrative data, in terms of already collecting data or being willing to collect additional data needed for accurate data matching. Linking this data will allow certification bodies to better understand and serve their clients, as well as significantly deepen the understanding of the role of certifications in credentialing pathways and their impact on wages.

The Need for Centralized Data on Certifications

Unfortunately, despite their prevalence in the workforce, there is no complete, centralized source of data on the outcomes or impact of certifications. While there have been isolated efforts to collect this data by states, as well as self-reported data from certification bodies, outcomes data are fragmented and incomplete.

This contrasts sharply with degrees, which typically require colleges and universities to report data on student enrollment and degree outcomes to accreditation or government agencies. Through those reporting mechanisms, a number of different projects (such as seekUT) have emerged allowing transparency into graduation rates and wage outcomes of earning different types of degrees.

In order to provide this same transparency to certifications, Workcred has brought together more than 30 certification bodies to explore linking data so that individuals, employers, and policymakers can make more informed choices about the return on investment of certifications. Funded by Lumina Foundation, Workcred is partnering with the National Student Clearinghouse with the goal to collaborate with certification bodies to safely and securely link certification data with higher education enrollment and degree data and wage and employment data.

Administrative Data Collected By Certification Bodies

The survey results clearly showed that the certification bodies are well-positioned for accurate data matching at the individual level to higher education data and wage and employment data.

For those who are willing to link their data, they will have access to student data, wage data, and employment data for their certification holders who have enrolled in U.S. institutions and/or are paid by employers in the United States.

The Benefits of Linking Certification Body Data with Wage & Employment Data

This is the first post in a three-part series. Read the next entry, Demand for Certifications Increasing During Pandemic, here.

Methods: Workcred surveyed a group of 30 certification bodies across multiple industry sectors over a period of two weeks. Workcred received 25 responses to the survey, 24 of which were complete. The survey was delivered and replies collected using SurveyMonkey.

Originally published at on January 11, 2021.