June 7th, 2022 | Sterling

What Do You Need for an Education Verification?

What Do You Need for an Education Verification?

A resume is an important part of the job hunting process, as it’s how a potential new employer gets the first impression of skills, experiences, and qualifications. In today’s competitive employment market, job seekers are using a variety of resume types and styles to promote themselves, their education, and their past work to catch the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. However, some may be tempted to exaggerate qualifications on a resume.

According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, 66% of hiring employers agreed that candidates exaggerate or even falsify skills and competencies listed on their resume. Applicants are searching for ways to compete with one another, and a common way is by padding, embellishing, or even fabricating their resume. How can employers know if the education, licenses, and certifications listed on aresume are legitimate?

What are Certification and Education Verifications?

Education verifications are another aspect of the pre-employment background check. In our earlier blog post, Criminal Record Checks 101: What Job Candidates Need to Know, we shared the information which a third-party background screening provider or internal HR team needs to run a comprehensive criminal record check. All the components of an employment background check help organizations get a better picture of their candidates and provide the insight needed to make an informed hiring decision.

As a part of pre-employment background checks, education verifications confirm the type of degree, honors received, and date of completion directly with the school registrar. Professional background screening companies maintain a database of legitimate educational institutions as well as known diploma mills in order to quickly identify them during a candidate’s education verification process. This moves the hiring process along more quickly and also provides certainty that the company conducting the verification is obeying all background screening regulations.

Via background screening providers, employers are able to verify professional licenses and certifications to make sure that a candidate has the accreditation they claim to have. There are thousands of licenses that can be verified, including, but not limited to, licensing and certification for medical doctors (MD or DO), registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), certified public accountant (CPA) and lawyers (JD), as well as for stockbrokers, teachers, engineers, pilots, and other exam-certified professionals.

What is a Diploma Mill?

One way some applicants try to pad their resume is by using illegitimate universities, or “diploma mills,” on their resumes. Diploma mills are organizations that claim to be an institution of higher education and grant invalid academic degrees and diplomas for a fee. These degrees may claim to give credit for relevant life experience, evaluate work history, and require submission of a thesis or dissertation for evaluation to give an appearance of authenticity. Most diploma mills have very convincing websites and will provide their “students” with official-looking degrees and transcripts.

While diploma mills can be found all over the world, the US has a very high number of occurrences, with the UK coming in a close second. In the United States, universities and colleges are accredited by the Department of Education. If a college does not have the government accreditation, they could be considered a diploma mill. These types of colleges have excessive costs and usually do not offer any financial assistance to their students. A background screening provider like Sterling provides a robust database of accredited colleges and universities to simplify verification.

What Do Candidates Supply for an Education Verification?

The information needed for an education verification will vary depending on a company’s needs. Depending on the role they are hiring for, some companies will require more detail about educational background and certifications for their pre-employment background check. In addition to the information provided for a criminal record check such as full name, social security number, birthday, any known aliases, current and past addresses, and driver’s license number, candidates may also be asked to provide the following information for an education verification:

  • Name and address of last school attended
  • Name and address of high school or GED
  • Name and address of colleges/universities attended, dates, and degree name
  • List of certifications and licenses specific to a particular position
  • Diploma
  • Transcripts

It is important to be informed about the process and what information is needed for the background check. Candidates should read the consent form carefully before signing it. Providing the correct information at the time of consent will help speed up the background check process.

What are Background Screening Regulations?

As a reminder, third-party background screening companies are regulated by federal, state, and local laws. At the federal level, background checks are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). One requirement of the FCRA is that an employer must notify the candidate that they will be performing a background check. The notice will explain that the results of the background check will be used for hiring, promotion, or retention.

After explaining the intent of performing a background check, employers must receive consent (either on paper or online) from a job candidate to run the background check and inform the candidate that the results will be used in making hiring decisions. While there are many background screening regulations for third-party background screening companies to follow, the candidate or person being screened also has rights. For more information, review the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) detailed article on your federal and state-mandated rights when it comes to background checks.

Background screening extends far beyond running a criminal record check. Understanding what information to have prepared for the background check will help the turnaround time and put candidates a step ahead of others. For further questions about the process, check out our FAQs on the Sterling website.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.