Nevada Industry Recognized Credentials


A credential can be an educational diploma or degree, occupational state license, certification from industry or a professional association, certificate, or examination. The term credentials is often used in the labor market and used as evidence of individuals gaining the appropriate skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to be successful for 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 – There must be transparent evidence of the competencies mastered by credential holders. A definition of a quality credential need not include any standard regarding length of time.
      • Aligned – Credential is linked to a Career and Technical Education program of study


      Businesses are looking to hire workers with relevant skill sets and postsecondary credentials can assist in identifying qualified workers, upskilling their current workforce, and helping them better compete in the marketplace. For job seekers, obtaining credentials can improve their employability by documenting the skills and competencies they bring to an employer, and can lead to higher earnings, greater advancement opportunities, and enhanced job security. 

      Evidence shows that education and training beyond high school increases jobseekers’ ability to attain family-supporting wages in today’s economy, and well-paying jobs in high-demand industries generally require some form of postsecondary education or training. The earnings gains that accompany postsecondary credentials are well established.


        The public workforce system has a vital role to play in developing a skilled workforce that meets the needs of business; and credentials can play an important role in this endeavor. A strong workforce development strategy should offer training that provides the skills needed for in-demand jobs and leads to credentials that attest to an individual’s skills and competencies. Such credentials can serve as an important signal to businesses that they are hiring qualified individuals. It is important to conduct a thorough assessment of a candidate’s basic and occupational skills and provide services that support the successful completion of postsecondary credentials.

        However, identifying all the relevant credentials in a local area may be challenging. Credential Engine (, for example, has identified hundreds of thousands of different credentials available in the U.S. from certificates to degrees, certifications to licenses; and yet new credentials emerge regularly. It can be challenging for jobseekers, workers, and workforce professionals to identify which credentials and which training programs are the best fit. Employment and training grantees will need to consider local economic conditions, local employer need, and the skill gaps in the local workforce, which also change over time.


          Objective: GOWINN 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 eight targeted statewide 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 GOWINN’s determination.

              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.


                Step 1 - Review the Guidelines and ensure the credential qualifies 

                    • The institution providing the credential is in good standing; meets national quality standards; and is third-party validated
                    • The credential must support one of Nevada’s high-demand, target industries ( Information Technology; Health Care and Medical Services; Manufacturing; Logistics; Aerospace and Defense; Natural Resources; Construction; Mining and Materials; and Tourism, Gaming, and Entertainment)
                    • The credential must have at least five Nevada employers who endorses the credential for hiring.

                  Step 2 - Submit the Form

                  Step 3 - GOWINN will review the application and provide one of three response

                  • APPROVED: 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.
                  • PENDING: 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.  
                  • DENIED: If the credential does not meet the quality criteria guideline then the credential will be rejected.

                    Recognized Credentials

                    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.

                      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.).

                      Nevada’s Targeted Industries: *Information Technology; *Health Care and Medical Services; *Manufacturing *Logistics; Aerospace and Defense; Natural Resources; Construction; Mining and Materials; and Tourism, Gaming, and Entertainment. (*denotes high priority industries)

                      Governor’s Workforce Development Board (GWDB): The mission of the GWDB is to bring Nevada business and workers together to shape strategies that best meet the workforce needs in order to foster a healthy and growing economy in the state. At least 51% of the state board’s membership is representative of businesses.

                      Industry Sector Councils: The mission of the GWDB Industry Sector Councils is to convene representatives of Nevada business, education, and labor in order to facilitate data-driven recommendations concerning sector-specific workforce needs and challenges that will help guide State workforce development efforts. There are nine targeted industry sectors. The Sector Councils are made up of a majority of businesses/employers.