Credential Evaluation and Credential Recognition: What Is the Difference?

by Shaunna-Marie Kerr

Your education is the foundation of your career. Therefore, it can be frustrating when you cannot apply your credentials once you arrive in North America. But you should not have to start over. That’s why it’s important for skilled immigrants to consider a credential evaluation. A credential evaluation can help you gain recognition for your academic experience. However, this is not the same thing as credential recognition. Learn the difference between these two related, but different, phrases. Knowing the difference can help you make decisions that will shape your future.

What Is a Credential Evaluation?

An expert can evaluate your degree or diploma from overseas, and then provide a verified report that explains what the degree or diploma would be worth in the U.S. or Canada. This process is known as credential evaluation.
There is not one official government agency that provides this service, though. Therefore, you need to choose a trustworthy organization to prepare your report. That is because a proper credential evaluation can be completed only by experts who have the necessary insight into, and knowledge of, international education systems.
The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) keeps a membership list of qualified, approved credential evaluation providers. You can find a list of NACES members, including World Education Services (WES), here. Employers, regulatory bodies, and academic institutions rely on these organizations to help them understand overseas credentials.
In some cases, schools and employers only accept evaluations from a specific organization. It’s important to find out if your employer or school needs you to use a specific company before you order a credential evaluation.
What Is the Process for Ordering a Credential Evaluation?

At WES, you get started by creating an account. Once you have completed your application, you will be able to start mailing the required documents to WES. Then, a credential evaluator will verify the authenticity of each document.
Credentials are then assessed according to various criteria, including:
  • Your country’s educational system
  • The status of the institution you attended
  • The content of your program of study
  • Any entry or graduation requirements you had to meet
This information is then measured against Canadian or American standards. All grades and courses converted to the correct Canadian or American equivalency (depending upon which country you request). Once this initial evaluation is complete, a senior credential evaluator reviews it for accuracy. Then, they will approve it, and the credential report is complete. WES will send your report to the recipients who you named when you ordered the report (such as an employer, agency, or school).
Getting a credential evaluation will allow you to fully embrace the opportunities that you earned through past academic achievements.

What Is Credential Recognition?

Your credential evaluation will help you succeed during the college admissions process or while navigating the labor market. However, credential recognition is another important part of the process. In theory, it is the second part; it will come after you receive a credential evaluation.
That’s because your credential evaluation is sent to a recipient, like an employer or school. This is the “end-user.” They will provide your credential recognition (rather than an organization like WES).
Here are a few examples of “end users” for credential recognition:
  • For employment purposes, an end-user would be the company where you are hoping to work.
  • If you are trying to enter a regulated profession, an end-user would be the regulatory body for the industry and location where you want to work.
  • For educational purposes, an end-user would be the university or college where you would like to enroll.
As a skilled immigrant, you should be proud of your academic achievements. It is a big step to pursue your personal and professional goals in a new country. And it is important to order your credential evaluation. However, it is ultimately up to your school or employer to recognize your credentials by accepting your credential evaluation report. Agencies like World Education Services can evaluate your education, and encourage wider recognition of foreign credentials. But only end-users have the power to recognize these evaluations.
Timothy Owen, Deputy Executive Director of WES, explains the relationship this way: “It is important to understand that a credential evaluation report is an advisory opinion. It is up to these ‘end-users’ to recognize the value of the education described in the report.”
The key phrase in that statement is “advisory opinion.” Credential evaluation services, including WES, do not have the authority to insist that employers or other end users have to accept the report that they provide. For example, WES evaluates engineering degrees and diplomas; however, many professional licensing bodies in the field of engineering prefer to do their own evaluations. Similarly, some employers prefer to do their own research to determine if candidates meet their requirements.
How can you improve your chances of credential recognition?

Obviously, you have put in a lot of work to succeed in your new life in the United States or Canada. So you should take a few extra steps, if possible, to make sure your credentials are recognized.
First, be sure to find out if your “end user” prefers a specific organization for credential evaluations (or if they would rather do it themselves). You can also be in contact with them throughout the process. For example, you can let them know to expect your credential evaluation from WES. This will also help ensure that you have all of the right contact information and details you need so that it reaches them on time.
Second, you can help your “end-user” understand and recognize your credentials by explaining your accomplishments and merits. For example, if you are searching for a job, you can create a LinkedIn. Be sure that your profile is filled out in full detail and matches the achievements that you will be calling to attention with your credential report. With WES, you can also order a free Digital Badge and display this online version of your credential report to potential employers on LinkedIn. Present your credential evaluation when you apply for jobs, during job interviews, and when you are negotiating your salary. This will call to attention how your past academic achievements inform the current skills and value that you are bringing to the organization today. Find more job search tips, including how to make the most of your credential evaluation, here.
As one last example, if you are applying to schools, you can explain your past achievements in your personal statement. For more information, watch our webinar on “The Secret to Writing a Great Personal Statement in English.”


Internationally educated migrants rely on employers, regulatory bodies, and academic institutions to recognize their academic credentials. When these credentials are not recognized, individuals can end up underemployed, underpaid, and unable to achieve their goals. However, credential evaluation reports allow skilled immigrants and international students to fulfill their potential.
If you wish to order yours today, you can get started here.

Would you like to learn more about the differences between credential evaluation and credential recognition? Watch our on-demand webinar for free!

How to Market Your International Education to Employers

by Jodi Tingling

As you immigrate to a new country, you bring a wealth of international experience and a global perspective with you. At most companies, your diversity will be embraced and valued. However, you may face some barriers to entering the job market because employers may not initially recognize your international education. Employers are often unfamiliar with international education institutions and how they compare to the Canadian or U.S. educational systems. As a result, employers may pass on opportunities to hire skilled immigrants and miss out on hiring from a skilled talent pool.
As a job seeker, you can take a proactive approach to market your international education to help mitigate those lost opportunities. It is essential that employers understand how international education can add value to their business. You can advocate for and market your international education in a way that appeals to an employer’s desire to bring on a candidate with the talent and skills to meet their business needs. Marketing your education can make a significant impact on launching a successful career in the U.S. or Canada by addressing a common barrier: lack of recognition of international education.

First Steps

Many newcomers bring with them a vast skill set and education from their home country. This can be viewed as an asset, particularly for employers who are looking for skilled talent to grow their business. The first step you can take to help employers understand your international education is to get a credential evaluation.
credential evaluation is a useful tool that you can present to employers. The report compares your academic accomplishments to standards in the U.S. or Canada. A credential evaluation helps institutions like schools, employers, licensing boards, and immigration authorities better understand your educational background. In completing a credential evaluation, you are providing employers with a familiar point of reference: local degrees they know and commonly see on résumés. If you do not have a credential evaluation, consider getting one to help employers recognize your education.

Marketing Your Education

If you already have a credential evaluation, you are off to a great start! This means you can begin to market your education to employers. Under the education section of your résumé, state that your credentials were evaluated and put the equivalency of your education, as indicated in your credential evaluation report.
For example, if your education was evaluated and your results reveal you have the equivalence of a four-year Canadian bachelor’s degree, you can add the following tagline to your résumé under your degree: Evaluated by World Education Services (WES), as equivalent to a four-year Canadian bachelor’s degree.
Adding this tagline to your résumé helps provide employers with the information they need to clarify your education level. Some employers may request a credential evaluation to verify the job candidates’ international education. When applying for positions, ensure you are prepared; read the company’s website to understand the employer’s expectations and requirements, including whether or not you need a credential assessment to apply for the role.
In addition to adding a tagline about the equivalency of your education to your résumé, be sure to attach a copy of your credential evaluation report to your employment application; include it when you attach your cover letter and résumé. This also gives employers an in-depth breakdown of your education and its equivalency. This takes away the guesswork for employers and helps them better understand your education.

Marketing via Social Media

Employers often use LinkedIn to recruit potential job candidates and screen job applicants for a specific role. They will look at your profile to determine if you may be the right fit for the position they are trying to fill.
You can use LinkedIn to market your international education. When creating your profile on LinkedIn, under the education section, find your school’s official name and logo. Add this to your profile. When employers look at your education section they can simply click on your school name to find more information. Additionally, use the description box under each program to state the equivalency of the degree. If you haven’t had a formal evaluation completed, you can include course names to demonstrate relevancy and similarities to Canadian or U.S. programs.

Marketing While Networking

When speaking with a recruiter or an employer, explain the value of your international education and experience. Be sure to emphasize how it will benefit their team. Do your research when approaching employers, so you can offer an insightful perspective on what you can bring to their companies. For example, do you have previous training in an area of technology that has not yet been introduced in Canada or the U.S.? Offering international expertise can help you gain a competitive edge. Doing your research and providing solutions to employers based on your international education is a great way to market your skills.

Tool to Use

If you have not had your credentials evaluated, or if you are in the process of getting them evaluated, you can still help employers understand your international education. The Degree Equivalency Tool can help employers recognize your education. Although this is not an official way to verify your credentials, it will let you see how your international credentials compare to degrees in the U.S. or Canada. You simply enter your educational information and it will produce the results instantly. Once you understand how your education compares, you can start to articulate this to employers.

Next Steps

By helping employers understand your international education, you can improve your employment prospects. Marketing your education can make a difference in whether you make it through the initial screening process. Employers typically take less than 20 seconds to review your application for employment. Make the decision to hire you as easily as possible by incorporating references that are familiar to hiring managers.
Continue to be proactive about marketing your international education and develop a marketing strategy that is right for you. Employers need to understand your education to hire you.

Thinking about getting your academic credentials evaluated? Learn about what a credential evaluation can do for you and the different credential evaluations we offer here.

How a Credential Evaluation Can Help You Find Employment

by Jodi Tingling

One of the most important job search skills is understanding the perspective of an employer. Most employers use job postings to describe the specific skills and attributes they seek. However, if you want to stand out from other applicants,  you should think past the job ad.
Additionally, if you are an internationally educated professional, you may need to submit a credential evaluation with your job application. This will help you quickly verify your overseas education and qualifications.
In a recent article on how to market your international education to employers, we described the steps involved in advertising your international education, and why it is important for employers to understand your education before they can hire you. By learning how and why employers use credential evaluations, you can better meet their needs as a candidate.

The Screening Process

Employers typically describe the key requirements of—and qualifications for—an open position through a job posting. To appeal to employers, job applicants need to demonstrate how they meet a role’s specific criteria and qualifications; you will typically share this information through your cover letter and résumé.
Many employers require that applications be submitted via the company website. They may include additional screening questions such as, “Are you educated outside of Canada?” This query may prompt others, such as, “Have you had your credentials evaluated?” If you check “yes,” they will then ask you to upload a copy of your credential evaluation report.
A human resources department, hiring manager, or third-party organization contracted by the employer will carefully review all incoming applications. They will ensure that candidates meet the role’s specific requirements. Then, employers will consider the applicants that most closely meet the qualifications. For example, if you fail to provide your credential evaluation, or if it shows that your level of education is not suitable for the position, you will not move on to the next round.

Meeting the Requirements of the Role

Meeting a role’s minimum requirements is, for most employers, standard protocol and is sometimes even essential for public safety and quality assurance purposes. For example, the Toronto Transit Commission, one of the City of Toronto’s largest employers, requires applicants for transit operator positions to have a minimum education level of grade 12. For applicants educated outside of Canada, it accepts equivalency documents from three of the six credential evaluation organizations in Canada, including World Education Services. Internationally educated candidates cannot move forward from the first round of screening without an evaluation that documents the Canadian equivalency of their education. Requiring this step helps to verify that applicants meet the minimum requirements of the role.
Similarly, in some major financial institutions in Canada, particularly in higher level roles and in positions that require a security clearance, requirements can be strict. Candidates must provide evidence that they meet the specific criteria in the job posting. If not, the employer does not move forward with their application.
Understanding whether the skills and qualifications in a job posting are necessary (and not just assets) will provide insight, as well. This will help you determine whether you truly qualify for the role and will help you explain your candidacy. Required qualifications are must-haves for a position; qualifications advertised as assets are not. Make sure you know the difference and can meet at least the minimum qualifications before you move forward with your application.

Background Checks

Depending on the position offered and the employer’s business needs, some employers conduct background checks.
A background check can be used to:
  • Verify a candidate’s experience (through reference checks)
  • Confirm that there is no criminal history (through a criminal record check)
  • Understand an applicant’s credit history (through a credit report)
But a background check does not verify your education. To do this, an employer might ask a job candidate for official transcripts, a copy of their diploma or degree, or a credential evaluation.
WES credential evaluations verify a candidate’s international education by demonstrating its equivalency in Canada. One employer we spoke to uses credential evaluations to verify the accuracy of claims made on employment applications. Another uses credential evaluations to determine a new hire’s level of employment and salary. As stated by a human resources representative we work with, “We leave it up to the experts to determine the Canadian equivalency and whether the credentials are from a recognized, accredited institution.”
Not all employers conduct background checks. However, when the risks of a position are great, background checks may be necessary. Examples of high-risk jobs include those involving finance, infrastructure, or the health and safety of the public.

Hiring Decisions

As stated above, employers also use credential evaluations to better understand an applicant’s international education. Without a credential evaluation, it can be challenging for hiring managers to assess your level of education and specializations.
For example, if you are a teacher, a credential evaluation can help a school determine what subjects you are qualified to teach. The school can also determine what level you should teach and what salary you qualify for, based on past experience.
Although having a credential evaluation is advantageous, it is up to you as a job candidate to highlight your skills, experiences, and qualifications that are most appropriate to the position. A credential evaluation helps employers understand your education, assess whether you qualify for the role, and ultimately decide if they want to hire you.

Your Next Steps

Continue to do industry research, and connect with employers to learn more about their business needs. Informational interviews are a great way to gain insight into your field, understand job requirements, and more accurately target your applications to increase your chances of getting a job offer. Learn your field’s requirements and the qualifications for your desired role. Then decide whether or not a credential evaluation will help you on your path to employment. Most likely, that answer will be yes.
Source: WES

6 Tips for Developing Your Personal Brand on Social Media

by Yetunde Oshinkale

WES Ambassador Yetunde Oshinkale is a doctorate student in educational psychology in the U.S. In this blog post, she shares six social media strategies that will help you build your network and develop your own personal brand.

You can improve how you represent yourself—your “brand”—on social media. Your online presence can be consistently professional across platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Make the most of your social media profiles by including these six elements:

  1. A compelling and attractive photo
  2. A clear brand definition
  3. A compelling story about your professional expertise
  4. A clear focus on professional and business connections
  5. An outstanding portfolio
  6. Your memberships in relevant professional organizations

How to Use Social Media Sites to Their Fullest

Social networking sites also offer online meeting places where professionals can connect with current and former colleagues. These sites offer professionals the potential to increase the number of their business connections and deepen the connections they already have. The sites can also foster the discussion of business ideas and enable users to search for jobs and recruit new hires.
Social media strategies have the potential to promote interaction, engagement, and network expansion. Overall, they will increase your professional opportunities.
Top-performing professionals join LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networking sites to engage with their peers and exchange ideas. As a result, these platforms become a vehicle through which professionals elevate their profiles. The control you exert over your presence and image on social media, along with the professionalism with which you respond to opportunities online, can impact your brand.
Use the following social strategies to promote your expertise:

  • An attractive profile photo: Upload a professional, attractive photograph of yourself in which you are smiling. Crop the picture perfectly.
  • A clear brand definition: Describe your areas of expertise. Demonstrate your vision, mission, and core values. Write an attention-grabbing headline such as: “Motivated, experienced, client-focused sales manager with over 23 years driving sales.”
  • A compelling story about your professional expertise: Highlight your achievements—how you have distinguished yourself from your peers, and how you have contributed to higher productivity and profit at your company. Share your career objectives. The more you share about yourself, your credentials, and your core values, the more your profile will make an impression.
  • A clear focus on professional or business connections: Be strategic about increasing the number of your first-degree connections—the people you know directly. The more first-degree connections you have, the more second- and third-degree connections you will have. The idea is not to amass a huge number of connections but to connect with the people who are in your field. The LinkedIn search algorithm will be able to find a place you at the top of the search results most appropriate for you. Follow a few LinkedIn influencers to keep abreast of news and insights from leaders in fields you care about.
  • An outstanding portfolio: With the LinkedIn professional portfolio feature, applicants can show prospective employers much more about their capabilities than résumés ever could. You can show samples of your work and presentations via images and video you embed in your LinkedIn profile.
  • Professional memberships: Including your memberships in professional organizations on your LinkedIn or Facebook page presents a great opportunity to optimize keywords in your profile. A professional university administrator, for example, could include membership in the American Association of University Administrators.

In Summary

Creating a professional online brand presence will help you stand out when competing for jobs. It will also allow you to demonstrate your goals, skills, and any other outstanding qualities. For example, those might include being a strong leader, team player, communicator, writer, or listener. By making the most of your online presence, you are sure to set yourself up for success in the professional realm where you hope to excel.
Source: WES

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