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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?"

IRC in Oregon: Guidelines and Requirements

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. 

IRC Guide

This guide shows credentials, certifications, and licenses in the current collection. There is ongoing review by business, industry, labor, trades, and community colleges (collectively, community partners). Credentials that are required or highly desired by postsecondary partners will be listed to make it easier to select high-quality credentials that provide a significant advantage for learners based on technical knowledge and skills.

CTE Industry Recognized Credentials (IRC) Guide

Please review the information provided below to better support your decisions about including relevant, high-quality credentials that support learner success. Also, watch for updates and opportunities to learn through office hours and webinars as we move forward.

​ODE has aligned the annual timeline for requesting new IRCs with CTE program applications; hopefully, as CTE programs undergo development and review, it'll be a natural time to recognize which credentials would further benefit students' skill set knowledge and create additional opportunities. This does not mean that IRC requests can only be submitted at the same time as a CTE program application.

  • Deadline for submitting NEW CTE IRC requests to ODE for consideration as an approved credential for CTE program reporting purposes is June 30.
    • ​​All materials (the IRC request form, relevant attachments, and Business and Industry/Postsecondary Education Partner evaluations) must be submitted to ODE by June 30 of each calendar year.
    • Submissions that are incomplete or are received after the June 30 due date will be considered in the next review cycle; these candidates will not be available until fall of the school year following the next submission deadline.
  • ​New CTE IRC requests and evaluations submitted to ODE between July 1 and June 30 will be reviewed and approved by July 31. Newly approved IRCs will be added to the CTE Information System before the last Thursday in August, so they are available for state approved CTE programs to select as a program offering in the new school year.
  • ​​State-approved CTE Programs can select existing Industry Recognized Credentials (IRC) as part of their program offerings during the Program Yearly Update or with applications submitted in the spring.
    • Program Yearly Updates are due for schools on the last Friday of October.
    • Start-up/Full/Renewal CTE program applications are due June 30.
  • ​Newly approved IRCs will be reported to ODE's IT team as a change to the CTE Student collection. The CTE Student collection and associated materials will be updated before the CTE collections open in mid-May. CTE programs will have the newly approved IRC available in the CTE Student collection as a credential option for reporting.

CTE IRC Basics

CTE Industry Recognized Credentials (IRC) are reported through the CTE Student data collection each school year. The CTE Student collection​ opens mid-May and closes in early July. Credentials can only be reported in the year they were earned.

Instititutions should report credential data on all 9th through 12th grade students who attempted to earn a CTE IRC even if they did not meet the requirements. Each attempted credential reported in the CTE Student collection must include data on whether the student met/didn't meet the attempted IRC and the associated IRC administration date. Any credentials earned after the close of the CTE Data collection and before July 31 of the same summer should be reported using the most recent CTE IS Summer Template available each year on the CTE Collections web page​ on the ODE District website. While most credentials are earned during the regular school year, there are some that may be earned only after the learner has attained age 18; this may have an impact on timely reporting. For those who complete age-dependent credentials, school representatives may work with the CTE Data Analyst, Rebecca Amodeo, between July 15 and September 15 to facilitate reporting.

Please check the CTE Collections web page​ for official CTE Student collection reporting dates and the CTE Submitters Guide​ for additional technical details on reporting CTE IRCs in the CTE Student collection.​

​If a program elects to add credentials as a required element (meaning that completing the credential has an impact on the learners' grades in the course and that completion of the credentialling process is required to complete the course), the program and/or school must cover the costs of curriculum and certification testing (and retesting, if required). In the event that the credential is an elective element of the course (e.g., the student can choose to prepare for and take the credentialling test as an optional part of the course--OR--as an event that happens outside or after the course), the costs associated with the credential preparation and testing are the responsibility of the student. While Perkins funds CANNOT be used to pay for the credential for a single student, there are other funding sources (e.g., McKinney-Vento, Secondary Career Pathways) that can help address the costs of credentials for learners who cannot otherwise afford them.

Because this is a complex area, ODE's IRC Team is planning monthly office hours and occasional webinars to help clarify the issues and answer questions. 

Please use the links below in IRC: Questions and Answers to connect for help.​

IRC: Questions and Answers

If you have questions about IRC, the credential process, and/or data reporting, please contact the following team members to assist you:


Secondary Career Pathways and Credentials