NV Industry Recognized Credentials


A credential can be an educational diploma or degree, occupational state license, a certification from industry or a professional association, and certificates and examinations. Credentials are used in the labor-market as evidence of individuals having the appropriate skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to be successful in employment.

    AWARDED BY… Education Institution Business, trade associations, industry Education Institution Government Agency
    RESULTS FROM… Course of Study Assessment Course of Study Meeting Requirements
    INDICATES…  Education Skill Mastery Education Legal Permission
    COMPLETED IN…  <2 Years Variable 2+ Years Variable
    MAINTAINED BY… N/A Skill practice, re-assessment N/A Re-application, continuing education
    EXAMPLE…  ServSafe Food Handler, Green Manufacturing Specialist, Certificate in Business Administration Certified Welder (CW), Certified Logistics Technician (CLT), Certified International Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Engineering Registered Nurse (RN), Cosmetologist, Master Plumber

    *Source: Association for Career and Technical Education

      Characteristics of quality credentials
      Credentials are not valued equally. However, there are common characteristics of high-quality credentials:
      • Industry-recognized – Companies within an industry accepts the credential as evidence of skills gained and supports improved employment prospects
      • Labor Market Value – Credential is valued by employers or industry; credential addresses economic needs; and linked to a demand-driven occupation in the state
      • Stackable – Individuals are able to build on previous skills and attain additional credentials along a given continuum or career path 
      • Portable – The credential is recognized across regions, states, and in some instances across countries
      • Quality/Accredited – The institution providing the credential is in good standing; meets national quality standards; and third party validated 
      • Aligned – Credential is linked to a Career and Technical Education program of study


        The changing labor-market calls for significantly increasing the number of Nevadans with industry-recognized credentials and education and training beyond high school. Not only do employers express concern about finding adequate replacements as their current workforce ages, but the significant growth in emerging industries in Nevada requires individuals to attain industry-recognized credentials to be successful in today’s labor market.

          For example, according to research and data from the National Skills Coalition, 51% of all jobs in Nevada in 2015 were middle-skilled jobs. Middle-skilled jobs require education beyond a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. By 2024, 48% of all jobs will be middle-skilled and 22% will be high-skilled as seen in figure 1.

            Figure 1

            Job Openings by Skill Level

              Furthermore, as seen in figure 2, a strong case can be made for increasing credential attainment in Nevada when examining the typical entry-level education of only the 2017 targeted industries of the Governor’s strategic priorities. Approximately 47% of the in-demand occupations are middle-skilled and 34% are high-skilled, all of which requires credentials beyond a high school diploma. Only 10% of the occupations require no formal education.

                Figure 2

                 In-Demand Occupations 2017

                  Attaining an industry-recognized credential verifies that individuals have the qualifications, competency, skills, and knowledge to be successful in the labor market. Industry-recognized credentials not only add value to students’ transcript for college and careers, but will increase job opportunities available to students in their career pathways.

                     Is state support for industry-recognized credentials new?
                    Many high-performing states have been leveraging industry-recognized credentials for years. There are a number of states that leverage industry-recognized credentials and even provide incentives to students in various forms. Those states are Florida, Kansas, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Colorado, Virginia, Minnesota, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In fact, the state of Florida has had tremendous success for years and the state of Virginia has been leveraging industry-recognized credential for almost 15 years. Data from Virginia’s Department of Education shows that during the 2009-2010 school year, 29,057 students earned some form of credentials (i.e. occupational competency skills, state license, industry certification, or workplace readiness) and by 2013-2014, 103,599 students earned some form of credentials.

                      Legal authority
                      Senate Bill 516, passed by the 79th legislature and signed into law by Governor Sandoval in 2017 establishes the Office of Workforce Innovation for a New Nevada (OWINN). Section 20 (d) directs OWINN, in consultation with the Governor’s Workforce Development Board to “…identify industry-recognized credentials, workforce development programs and education…” The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) also gives priority consideration to training that leads to industry-recognized credentials. Furthermore, AB 7, also passed during the 79th legislative session, provides for the state board of education to adopt regulations that prescribe the criteria for a pupil to receive a college and career ready high school diploma; and, provides for the state board of education to prescribe the criteria for a pupil to obtain a college-ready endorsement and/or a career-ready endorsement on his/her diploma that is established so that it is recognized and valued by industries and postsecondary educational institutions.


                        Objective: OWINN seeks to identify industry-recognized credentials that meet national quality standards, are recognized by third parties, support improved employment prospects, and have market value.  While a credential does not guarantee employment the state’s vetted list of credentials will help protect students and adults transitioning into the workforce from poor quality credentials and promote credentials that can assist Nevadans in securing employment by providing evidence of skills and information on entry points into relevant industries. A handful of states already leverage a statewide list of industry-recognized credentials, but the vetting process are typically not as rigorous or include industry input. The statewide credentialing list will focus on entry level certifications, certificates, and examinations.

                          There are thousands of credentials that can be reasonably considered. However, in order to manage the process and align to the immediate needs of the workforce community, Nevada will first seek to prioritize the identification of entry-level certifications and certificates that fall within Nevada’s statewide targeted eight industries identified by the Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Workforce Development Board. Many young adults or adults transitioning into the workforce need initial guidance regarding where they should begin. The State’s Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Industry Sector Councils and employers will play a critical role in identifying industry recognized credentials. Credentials will be reviewed annually and can be added or taken off based on the Council’s input and OWINN’s determination. 

                            Target Audience: entry level certifications or certificates that secondary students or adults transitioning into the workforce should prioritize (i.e., young adults, veterans, adult education, etc.).

                              Credential Approval Process

                              • Complete the Industry Credential Request Form
                              • GOWINN will review the application and provide one of three response
                              1. If the credential meets the quality criteria guidelines AND requirements for workforce and economic development alignment, the credential will be automatically approved and the list will be updated   
                                • To meet guidelines: the credential has to be in one of Nevada’s high-demand, key industries (Information Technology; Health Care and Medical Services; Manufacturing and Logistics; Aerospace and Defense; Natural Resources; Construction, Mining and Materials; and Tourism, Gaming, and Entertainment) and have at least five Nevada employers who endorses the credential for hiring
                              2. If the credential does not meet the quality criteria guideline then the credential will be rejected
                              3. If the credential meets the quality criteria guideline, but does not meet the workforce & economic development alignment guidelines, the applicant will be asked to present the credential at an upcoming Industry Sector Council meeting (if credential is one of eight targeted industries) or Governor’s Workforce Development Board meeting for final approval

                                The State’s Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Industry Sector Councils and employers will play a critical role in identifying industry recognized credentials. Credentials will be reviewed annually and can be added or taken off based on the Council’s input and GOWINN’s determination.