Industry-Recognized Credential Seal

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Guidelines for Schools and Districts

Under Ohio’s long-term graduation requirements, students must demonstrate readiness as a part of their pathway to earning a high school diploma. To demonstrate readiness, students must earn at least two seals, one of which must be a state-defined seal.

The Industry-Recognized Credential Seal is a state-defined seal. To earn the Industry-Recognized Credential Seal, students must earn an Ohio Department of Education approved industry-recognized credential or group of credentials aligned to a career that is considered in-demand in Ohio. Learn more about approved industry-recognized credentials that have demonstrated ongoing state or regional employer demand on the Department’s website.


Industry-Recognized Credential Seal – General Requirements 

Ohio Revised Code Section 3313.6114(C)(1)

An industry-recognized credential is a qualification of a specific set of competencies related to an industry or occupation. These credentials can take many different forms, including certificates, certifications and licenses.

To earn Ohio’s Industry-Recognized Credential Seal, students must do one of the following:

  • Earn a 12-point industry-recognized credential; or
  • Earn a group of credentials totaling 12 points in a single career field – as outlined here; or
  • Obtain a state-issued license for a practice in a vocation that requires an examination

Each Ohio Department of Education approved industry-recognized credential has been assigned a point value based on employer demand and the role the credential plays in the hiring process. Students can bundle smaller valued credentials within a career field to earn a total 12 points. Find the approved industry-recognized credentials per career field on the Department’s website. More information generally about the list, credential programs, and other credential-related initiatives can be found here.

Earning Credentials

Students can pursue many routes toward earning industry-recognized credentials. No matter how students are earning credentials, schools and students should consider the following requirements in Ohio law regarding industry-recognized credentials:

  • Schools are required to pay for the cost of a student’s industry-recognized credential and are eligible to be reimbursed by the Department when a student is reported as earning the industry-recognized credential.
  • Schools must notify students enrolled in related career-technical education courses of the opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials.
  • The Innovative Workforce Incentive Program may be a funding resource for this work. Find more information on the Department’s website.


Some examples through which students can earn credential programs include:

  • Career-technical education programs (in high schools or at career centers) through traditional career-technical education programs or through Senior Only Credential Programs;
  • In coordination with employers (formal and non-formal school partners);
  • Traditional coursework, such as electives that focus on subjects relating to credentials and academic coursework aligned to credentialing requirements; 
  • Online training platforms;
  • Postsecondary education programs aligned to credentials (for example, College Credit Plus);
  • Third-party industry credential vendor training programs;
  • Credit Flexibility;
  • Outside partners, such as OhioMeansJobs Centers and regional workforce collaboration.

Students can earn industry-recognized credentials with help in school:

Students can earn industry-recognized credentials through the various training programs listed above. The Department also encourages connecting with other schools offering industry-recognized credentials. Every school district in the state is part of a Career-Technical Planning District. Your Career-Technical Planning District leadership can offer additional assistance in starting new programs that lead to industry-recognized credentials. For example, a career-technical education director in your district or career center leadership in your area may be able to assist with selecting appropriate industry-recognized credentials to offer students.

Schools also may bring in outside partners to prepare students for industry-recognized credential exams or use current staff to assist in the industry-recognized credential earning process. Schools should consider all staff who may be helpful, including individuals who have earned their own industry-recognized credentials and understand the process of earning specific industry-recognized credentials. For example, school nurses may hold various health-related industry-recognized credentials, such as Phlebotomy and State Tested Nurses Assistants (STNA) credentials. These individuals could be valuable assets in readying students to earn these industry-recognized credentials. 

Students can earn industry-recognized credentials on their own:

Students also may earn industry-recognized credentials on their own with community mentors or through their own employment. For example, a long-term health care facility may be an approved STNA provider, meaning students working there are eligible to earn their STNA credentials and use them toward graduation. A student who is exceptionally gifted in technology may be able to find enough online training resources to be prepared and eligible to earn Adobe industry-recognized credentials. 

Students should match the industry-recognized credentials they pursue with their career plans:

It is important to guide students in choosing career path options that allow them to explore their interests and talents. Industry-recognized credentials create opportunities for potential employment in wage-sustaining careers. They also allow students to explore fields they may want to pursue for their future careers.
It is important to connect students to career exploration resources. There are many tools available, such as:

As students take ownership for their own career goals, schools can help connect students to awareness and exposure activities. However, each student ultimately must take charge of his or her own future. Once students have identified career areas of interest, they can utilize the Department of Education’s website to explore industry-recognized credentialing options that lead to graduation pathways. 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

General Questions

Are middle school students eligible to earn industry-recognized credentials?

Yes, middle school students can earn industry-recognized credentials that count towards graduation requirements. However, it is recommended to all schools looking at middle school credentialing to research the offered industry-recognized credentials thoroughly as some credentials have age requirements or could even have an expiration date before high school graduation.

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Can my students earn an industry-recognized credential that is not included in their chosen career field?

In order to reach industry-recognized credential graduation requirements, students must earn 12 points worth of credentials within one career field. However, students are eligible to earn any industry-recognized credentials on the Ohio Department of Education’s Approved Industry-Recognized Credential List. Credentials outside their chosen (or even identified) career field may enhance their skill set for the workforce but are not able to be reported through Education Management Information System (EMIS) to count towards graduation.

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How are new industry-recognized credentials added to the Ohio Department of Education’s Approved Industry-Recognized Credential List?

Multiple factors determine the decision to add a new industry-recognized credential to the Ohio Department of Education’s Approved List. After an application is submitted, industry feedback is gathered by survey, Ohio labor market data is pulled and Education Program Specialists in the Office of Career-Technical Education review the alignment of the credential to Ohio’s Career Field Technical Content Standards. This information is compiled into a review report and provided to the Industry-Recognized Credential Review Committee. The committee is comprised of representatives from Ohio industry associations and organizations. The committee is tasked with reviewing the report to determine which credentials will be added and at what point values.

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How can my school help students plan their pathways to graduation based on their career interests?

Thoughtful career advising and student success planning can help students and their adult mentors through the process of planning appropriate pathways to graduation. If a student’s post-high school aspirations are aligned to a career field that emphasizes the use of industry-recognized credentials in its hiring practices, it may be appropriate for that student to earn credentials as a pathway to graduation. Use this tool to explore suggested credentials that align to occupations.

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How can my school help students understand long-term labor market trends when identifying their long-term goals?

A student’s interest area may not always lead to a wage-sustaining career. It is important for educators, parents and students to understand what careers are in demand in Ohio and have a clear understanding of what those careers will pay, along with the education and training that are necessary to obtain a career in that area. 
Resources like the Employment Projections tool can help students and their families see the careers that are projected to have openings in the future. The Workforce Supply tool can help them find institutions of higher education that are preparing students in those areas. 

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How do I locate or decide on a vendor for the credentials listed on the Multiple Vendor Credentials Page?
Certain industry-recognized credentials on the Ohio Department of Education’s list of approved credentials are available from multiple vendors. For these credentials, the vendor and delivery model are a local decision. The decision is up to the school to research and select a vendor whose guidelines align with the school’s needs.

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How does my school receive the reimbursement for my students earning industry-recognized credentials?

Reimbursement is stimulated by reporting the industry-recognized credential assessment code in Education Management Information System (EMIS) and indicating the student passed the credential exam from the vendor or state licensing agency. It is important for a school to indicate that they paid for the credential to ensure the money is sent to the correct school, as it is possible for more than one school, such as a career center, to report a student.  Reimbursement is for the cost of the credential exam only. The amounts have already been assigned to each credential in the system. The Industry-Recognized Credential reimbursement list is found on the Industry-Recognized Credential Webpage. Credentials reported as earned for the 2021-2022 school year will be reimbursed in June of 2023.

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How is the point value of an industry-recognized credential determined?

Multiple factors are included in the determination of the point value of an industry-recognized credential. The first step in this determination is gathering industry feedback through a widely dispersed survey. The feedback indicates the recognition and importance that industry gives the industry-recognized credential. After gathering industry feedback and other labor market research, the Industry-Recognized Review Committee evaluates the credential with the research provided to determine an appropriate point value. Point values are not determined by the amount of time and rigor required by the student to complete content but by industry demand for the credential.

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What is considered an industry-recognized credential?

An industry-recognized credential is a verification of an individual’s qualification or competence. A third party with authority issues a credential. Industry-recognized credentials are valued in the labor market and are a validation of knowledge and skill. They can take many forms, including certifications, certificates and licenses. Further guidance regarding the definition of the term industry-recognized credential can be found on the new Industry-Recognized Credentials Guide webpage.

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What is the difference between the industry-recognized credential reimbursement and the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program Incentive Payment?

The industry-recognized credential reimbursement program is stimulated by reporting the industry-recognized credential assessment code in Education Management Information System (EMIS) and indicating the student passed the credential exam from the vendor or state licensing agency. Reimbursement is for the cost of the credential exam only. The Innovative Workforce Incentive Program Incentive Payment is an incentive payment in the amount of $1,250 for six points and higher credentials for high skill in-demand jobs. Only certain industry-recognized credentials are eligible for this incentive payment and are listed on the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program Credential List. The incentive payments are stimulated by reporting the assessment code for the eligible industry-recognized credentials to EMIS. There is no further action needed to receive the $1,250 incentive payment.

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Where can I send any industry-recognized credential questions?

All industry-recognized credential questions can be sent to

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Why are some industry-recognized credential Education Management Information System (EMIS) Codes listed as TBD on the Industry-Recognized Credential Website?

As industry-recognized credentials are reviewed to be added to the list quarterly, new credentials are only made available for the next school year. EMIS codes are assigned annually and are not available to be updated until July of the next school year. Only new credentials will have TBD listed as the EMIS code.

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Last Modified: 5/24/2024 10:58:33 AM