More than 90% of colleges and universities now offer alternative credentialing and one in five issue badges, according to research conducted by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. The popularity of microcredentials is driven by workers who understand that displaying badges makes it easier to highlight specialized skills.
“You can present an employer with a résumé and it shows what you have collectively done over the years,” Charlene Templeton, assistant dean for continuing education at Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD, said in an article for University Business. “But a badge shows there are specific things you have achieved.”
Badges can be added to a résumé or shared on social media, allowing employers to see links to detailed descriptions of the skills and competencies developed during the course. Anne Arundel has awarded hundreds of badges in the last two years, while Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, has handed out 130 badges in professional development to working professionals in human-resource management and higher-education administration.
“You may be waiting two or four years to earn a degree, but you’re developing skills and knowledge along the way—badges make this knowledge visible,” said Ken Kindblom, interim dean for the school of professional development at Stony Brook.