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CTE Industry Recognized Credentials


Industry Recognized Credentials (IRCs) provide a means of independently attesting to a learner's level of knowledge and skills in a particular career area. An IRC may be useful in helping learners transition to a postsecondary and training opportunity (e.g., apprenticeship, community college) or directly to career. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) defines an IRC as follows:

"An education- and work-related credential can be defined as a verification of an individual's qualification or competence issued by a third party with the relevant authority to issue such credentials (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). The term credential encompasses educational certificates, degrees, certifications, and government-issued licenses."   ACTE - "What is a Credential?"

IRCs in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) maintains a collection of IRCs that CTE Programs of Study (POS) may access to independently represent what learners completing a POS know and are able to do.

  • The credential is a required or highly desirable element from the perspective of industry.
  • The credential reflects technical knowledge and skills accumulated over the span of the CTE Program of Study.
  • The credential reflects employability skills as recognized by business/labor/industry/trades in Oregon and articulated through the Knowledge and Skill Statements in the six Career Learning Areas.
  • CTE IRCs are a component of High Quality Programs of Study.
  • CTE IRCs are tracked as a part of the Secondary Career Pathway process—an Oregon state grant/article of legislation. (OAR 581-017-0287)

Current IRCs

Oregon's list of IRCs is updated on a regular basis. As we strive to continuously refine the list, the goal is to enhance value for the learner while at the same time addressing the needs of business, labor, industry, and trades as expressed in the definition above.

CTE teachers should collaborate with their CTE Regional Coordinator, community college partner, and partners in industry to select and implement credentials that offer the highest value for learners in terms of advancement for future education, training, and career prospects.

Recommending a New IRC

The curation of IRCs is an ongoing process. It involves an application process that includes written evaluations from industry experts and postsecondary education and training partners to ensure that the suggested credential meets the needs of industry and will prepare learners for advancement in education/training and/or career.

Not all credentials are created equally, and not all provide the validation that business/labor/industry/trades prefer or require. Before completing the initial recommendation, work with your CTE Regional Coordinator, community college partner, and partners in industry to do an initial analysis to determine whether the proposed credential will meet the following criteria:

  • Credentials must be available to eligible students across the state.
  • Credentials must be tied to a high-wage, high-skill, and in-demand occupation as identified by the Oregon Employment Department.
  • Credentials must be attainable by a high school student by the end of August following graduation.
  • Courses required for credential must be available to a high school student prior to graduation.
  • Credentials must be aligned to at least entry-level technical requirements for high-wage and in-demand occupations or be included in a portfolio of credentials that align to entry-level technical requirements.
  • Credentials must be aligned to the Knowledge and Skill Statements addressed in the associated CTE Program of Study.
  • Credentials must represent a substantial body of technical knowledge and skills gained within three credits of CTE instruction.

CTE IRC recommendations require written validation from business and industry partners as part of the assessment for approval. Local, regional, and/or statewide business and industry experts, in addtion to a postsecondary partner, need to submit the Industry Recognized Credential Evaluation Form prior to any CTE IRC approvals. 

Related Resources

Please contact the IRC Team should you have questions, comments, or concerns.