The Road Less Traveled By: Industry Credentials
The path to a high school diploma isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Many students follow the traditional routes—state testing, ACT & SAT—but are unaware of a third, lesser-known option. Take a step off the beaten path with us as we explore industry-recognized credentials and discover how they can earn you a high school diploma and more.
What are industry credentials?
In short, industry credentials verify a student’s mastery of skills in a specific industry. Many industry credentials come with a license or legal permission for students to do specific types of work. Typically, these credentials are administered by businesses or trade associations.
Why do it?
Like Mac Connor, some students just don’t enjoy school, and have difficulty motivating themselves to come to class each day. Industry credentials provide an alternative for students struggling in a traditional academic environment. Rather than spending all day cooped up in a classroom, students get to learn through real-world, hands-on experiences. And it’s not just students who benefit—businesses are in desperate need of high-quality workers to fill the growing skills gap. Basically, not only do students get a pathway to a high school diploma, but increased marketability and workplace experience as well.
How does it work?
Students have two requirements in order to earn a “credential” high school diploma in Ohio.
- Earn a minimum score of 14 on the workplace readiness assessment, WorkKeys. WorkKeys is divided into three sections: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy and Workplace Documents. Students must earn a score of at least three in each section.
- Earn 12 credential points in a specific career field. Because students are meant to gain a specific and coherent set of skills, students cannot mix and match points from multiple industries.
What fields can I earn industry credentials in?
- Agriculture/Environmental Systems
- Arts and Communications
- Business, Marketing and Finance
- Education and Training
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Human Services
- Information Technology
- Law and Public Safety
Where can I start?
Although industry credential programs are growing more widespread, not every high school has one. Talk to your adviser to see if your high school offers a credential pathway to graduation, and if not, find out which schools in your area do. Many technical schools offer half-day career-technical courses and allow students to attend their old school during the other half. Some students like Mac transfer midway through their high school experience. It all depends on your wants and needs!