FAQs - Credentials & Industry Certifications
What are certifications and credentials? Certifications (sometimes referred to as industry credentials) are assessments created and evaluated by external organizations in order to validate a certain skill set pertaining to employability in a given industry or career path.
Who needs them? Certifications can be a valuable addition to the accomplishments of ALL students. The 2012 General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law, HB 1061 and SB 489, to strengthen postsecondary education and workplace readiness opportunities for all students. The legislation says, in part:
“Beginning with first-time ninth grade students in the 2013-2014 school year, requirements for the standard diploma shall include a requirement to earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Board.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: This means that any student graduating on a STANDARD DIPLOMA must earn one of the approved Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) certifications or credentials under the conditions stipulated in the legislation referenced above.
Which certifications are approved by VDOE? Please visit the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) website for the current approved list of industry certifications, state-wide pass rates, information, and resources.
What are the benefits of earning an industry certification/credential? While Spotsylvania County Public Schools has always provided excellent competency-based instruction in Career and Technical Education (CTE), passing external, third-party industry certifications can be used to: provide employers with a reliable predictor of success for entry-level employment; add value to a transcript for higher education; validate competency in skill areas in demand by business and industry; and increase job opportunities and/or advancement in a chosen career path.
Who decides what certifications are available to students? High School CTE teachers and school administrators work to develop an industry certification plan each year that will meet the needs of their students that is consistent with the overall industry certification testing.
How many different certifications are given each year? While there are a variety of different industry certifications in a given year, the certification called the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination is one that can be administered to any and all CTE students because it assesses the core workplace readiness skills that all employers expect. All CTE courses incorporate instruction in these areas as required by VDOE.
Why doesn't SCPS offer all of the approved certifications? Some certifications have a minimum age requirement or minimum years of experience in the career field that not all students can meet. In addition, not all certifications are aligned to the curriculum that students receive in high school. Every attempt is made to choose the most appropriate assessment for SCPS students.
Employers across the nation have demanded school divisions do a better job in preparing employees who possess workplace readiness skills (sometimes referred to as "softskills"). All SCPS students will eventually enter the job market, either right out of high school, after technical school or training, or after completing post-secondary education. CTE is proud to be providing the essential foundation for success by incorporating workplace readiness instruction in ALL CTE courses. The Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination is therefore appropriate for any CTE student. By utilizing a common assessment for all CTE program areas, students who might not pass the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination in the first CTE course they take in high school, might see the assessment again in subsequent years as they build on their abilities and continue to explore various CTE courses.
Where can one obtain more information and resources to prepare for the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination?
For more information on the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination, students and parents can access the resources available from the testing entity called CTECS – the Career and Technical Education Consortium of States website.