Virginia’s Credentialing Requirement

  • “Beginning with first-time ninth grade students in 2018-2019, graduation requirements shall include a requirement that students either (i) complete an Advanced Placement, honors, or International Baccalaureate course or (ii) earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Board, except when a career and technical education credential in a particular subject area is not readily available or appropriate or does not adequately measure student competency, in which case the student shall receive satisfactory competency-based instruction in the subject area to earn credit. The career and technical education credential, when required, could include the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness skills assessment.”

    Why This New Requirement?

    The Virginia Department of Education approved this requirement as an option for students to earn student-selected verified credits required for graduation and as an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability in specific entry-level job skills and knowledge required by business and industry.

    Who Can Earn an Industry Credential?

    Any high school student who enrolls in a career and technical education program in one of the three high schools or enrolls in the career and technical school (The College & Career Academy at Pruden) may earn an industry credential.

    What is an Industry Credential?

    An industry credential is an approved Virginia Department of Education industry examination, licensure, or occupational competency assessment that is based on business and industry standards and achieved (passed) by students.

    Some examples of industry exams offered include but are not limited to AutoCAD; Automotive Collision Repair and Finishing, Electrical/Electronics Systems, Engine Performance, and Engine Repair; CompTIA A+; Customer Service & Sales; Emergency Medical Technician (EMT); Financial Literacy; Hospitality Management; Microsoft Office Powerpoint; Microsoft Office Word; Oracle; Customer Service; Virginia Board of Barbering and Cosmetology; Virginia Board of Nursing Nurse Aide; Welding; and Workplace Readiness.

    What are the Benefits of This New Requirement?

    In addition to providing students the opportunity to earn student-selected verified credits, with a credential in hand before graduating from high school the new graduation requirement provides the following benefits.


    • Shows that students are job-ready in a specific set of job-related skills and knowledge required and recognized by business and industry
    • Helps students stand out in today’s competitive and technical job market
    • Adds value to student transcripts for postsecondary education
    • Adds value to student resumes when obtaining entry-level positions
    • Boosts students' self-esteem by achieving business and industry standards that are recognized in this global marketplace.


    When Can a Student Earn an Industry Credential?

    Students may earn an industry credential during the completion of the last course in the required sequence of courses. Industry credentialing exams are generally administered in the Spring of the school year which allows students as much time as possible to cover the curriculum in preparation for the exam.

    Where Are Industry Credentials Offered?

    Industry credentials are offered at each of the three high schools and at the division’s career and technical school, The College & Career Academy at Pruden.

    How Can a Student Earn an Industry Credential?

    Students must enroll in the proper sequence of courses in order to be prepared for the industry credentialing exam. The proper sequence of courses may be found in the school division’s Program of Studies.

    For more information, contact your child’s high school guidance counselor.