employers verify education

How Do Employers Verify Education? All You Need To Know

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An education background check determines whether an applicant attended the school that they claimed to have attended. It also includes confirmation of degree courses and time frames of attendance. Employers verify the education status of prospective employees to be sure they don’t hire frauds.

Education background checks can search for official records as far back as they need to go. Employers can verify a candidate’s diplomas and degrees regardless of when they were got. 

An education background check may reveal GPA and honors earned sometimes. If this information applies to the position for which you are applying, an employer will request it (such as a higher education teacher). Typically, an education background check will not confirm licenses.

Assume an employer needs to verify that an applicant has the certifications to work in a specific field. In that case, they’ll need to conduct professional license verification, which is a different type of background screening. 

What Exactly Is Education Verification? 

Employers conduct education background checks to verify candidates’ certifications, training, and educational histories and to identify potential misrepresentations. 

Consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) frequently conduct education background checks on employers’ behalf.

These services can aid in the verification of applicants’ high school diplomas, vocational certifications, and undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

An education background check reveals candidates’ dates of attendance, majors, and degrees at high schools and universities in the United States and other countries.

These checks are not used to validate professional licenses. Professional license verification is a better way to get these types of background screening services. 

Education verification services are necessary because some applicants misrepresent, embellish, or inflate their qualifications in order to get positions for which they are unqualified.

Some applicants will claim to have attended schools they did not attend or to have received degrees they did not receive. 

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Why is it Necessary for Employers to Verify Education? 

Employers who conduct background checks should also determine whether a potential hire has the education they claim in their application and the training to perform the job. Earning an advanced degree shows a person’s ability to persevere and achieve a goal. 

You can also determine the nature of the degree claimed during the education verification process. Some “universities” operate as diploma mills, awarding degrees with little or no effort. 

A background check can help determine whether a degree is legitimate and from an accredited university. Consider how this practice can assist you in weeding out dishonest candidates who would undoubtedly be a problem as an employee. Education verification is not limited to institutions; it can also validate any licenses or certifications. 

The following are several important reasons education verification should be included as part of your background screening during the hiring process. 

Ensure that all of your applicants are fully qualified

When you hire new employees for your company, you want to make sure that they are fully qualified and have the education to perform the tasks of their jobs. Education verification allows you to confirm the educational levels of your applicants.

This allows you to identify those who have the certificates, diplomas, or degrees and meet the minimum standards for your open positions. 

Avoid being held liable for negligent hiring

When you hire employees, you ensure that they have the skills, abilities, and knowledge to do their jobs. If you do not verify that they have the education and qualifications to perform their jobs, you may face a negligent hiring lawsuit if they cause harm to others because of incompetence. 

Screening applicants before hiring them help identify those who may not be suitable for the positions for which they have applied. 

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Recognize phony degrees and institutions

Diploma mills, or companies that sell forged credentials and degrees, have proliferated online because of the advancement of modern technology. It is simple for people to place orders with these companies claiming to have attended fictitious colleges and earned degrees they do not have. 

If you simply call the contact number listed on the resume to confirm a candidate’s degree, a diploma mill will use an answering service to provide false verification of the applicant’s claims.

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Confirm that an applicant possesses the certifications, degrees, and licenses

Certain industries, such as health care, education, the legal field, fitness, cosmetology, and others, require employees to have specific degrees, certifications, and licenses to be qualified for positions. These requirements are necessary to ensure that they have the skills to do their jobs. 

If you hire someone without first ensuring that he or she has the degrees, certifications, and licenses, your company may be exposed to significant liability. 

Recognize false statements about degrees conferred or schools attended. 

Some applicants make false claims about holding degrees they did not get or attending schools they did not attend.

Some applicants, for example, claim to have attended prestigious schools although they did not try to make themselves appear better on paper. Others claim to have degrees that they never received.

Employers want to find qualified and trustworthy candidates. Education verification can assist you in quickly identifying any misrepresentations an applicant has made about the schools he or she attended and the degrees he or she earned, allowing you to hire only honest employees. 

Get quick and accurate results to expedite the hiring process

Verifying an applicant’s educational claims by contacting each institution listed on their resume and waiting for transcripts to confirm their claims can take weeks.

If an applicant has omitted a school from his or her resume, attempting to verify his or her educational background in this manner may yield insufficient results. 

Have confidence that your company abides by privacy and data security regulations

It is critical to safeguard the confidentiality and security of sensitive information about your applicants.  

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How Do Employers Verify Education

Too many employers do not conduct education verifications. One of the most common reasons for this is that employers believe the process is too complicated. In reality, the procedure is straightforward. You’ll begin by gathering basic information from the applicant. This information includes: 

  • The candidate’s full name (Note: Get the full name of the person who graduated. For example, a female candidate may apply using her married name but graduate using her maiden name.)
  • The degree-granting institution’s name and address
  • The dates of attendance (Note: Month and year should suffice. For example, 08/2005–05/2009)
  • Their degree’s title and field
  • The applicant’s signed authorization release 

Your candidate will most likely be familiar with the hiring process and will be willing to share this information with you. 

What happens now that you have the information? 

Once this information is gathered, a third-party service can verify education by utilizing the Student Clearinghouse or contacting the institution’s registrar. One advantage of using a third-party service is that many providers can integrate with your applicant tracking system, allowing you to keep all applicant materials in one place. 

If you do not use a verification service, an HR team member may perform education verification manually. 

This do-it-yourself approach would entail contacting the university’s registrar, providing information about the prospective employee, and requesting verification. 

Alternatively, company representatives can submit a verification request to the National Student Clearinghouse. 

These requests are subject to a processing fee. Verifying high school graduation can be more difficult, especially if the applicant has a GED. 

In these cases, you must write to the department of education in the state where the person got the GED in order to verify that credential. 

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Things you should note..

Keep in mind that when conducting the education verification process in-house, you may encounter some difficulties.

Incorrect information can often make it difficult to locate a former student’s record. Some universities require students to request transcripts and will not release them to third parties unless they tell them to do so.

Some older records may not be accessible electronically, which may cause verification to be delayed. 

It’s also worth noting that if you verify education for new employees, do so for all employees to avoid potential discrimination claims.

Employees who are already on the payroll can be grandfathered in and do not need to have their education verified. 

Regardless of how you approach education verification, it is critical to budget for this step in the recruiting process. 

Allow at least three business days for education verification, and possibly more time if you aren’t using a third party. 

Colleges and universities, on average, can respond to requests faster than high schools or trade schools. Keep in mind that school offices may be closed or have reduced working hours at certain times of the year. 

Verifying education is an excellent method for quickly vetting potential employees. It can help ensure that you hire the right person for the job and reduce the possibility of hiring a dishonest person. 

These checks ensure you will have a thorough and fair system in place to screen potential employees. 

How Regularly do Companies Verify Education?  

Most likely, all companies have HRM (Human Resource Management) departments that handle these issues. The HR department is usually in charge of everything from hiring to verification, probation to confirmation, claims, and so on. 

It has become necessary to monitor the candidate’s profile, activity within the company, and background (Educational, Job, and other) information. So, while mentioning educational and other information on your resume, prepare yourself for the verification process. 

How to Recognize a Fake Degree on a Resume 

It is not always easy to spot a diploma mill forgery. You might not tell if the listed educational institution is accredited based on a resume. 

However, there are some red flags to look out for that may show the listed degrees are fake. Keep an eye out for the indicators listed below. 

Degrees are listed in a jumbled order. 

People advance through education in a specific order, which includes: 

A high school diploma/GED, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree are required. 

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A Master’s or a Doctoral degree 

If a candidate claims to have an advanced degree but does not have a Bachelor’s degree, or if he or she claims to have a Bachelor’s degree but does not have a high school diploma or GED, the claimed credential could be from a diploma mill. 

Degree got far too quickly 

Another sign that a claimed degree is a forgery is if the applicant got it in an unusually short time.

Students will need three to four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree will typically take one to two years, while a Ph.D. will typically take four or more years. 

If an applicant claims to have earned a degree in a much shorter time or lists multiple degrees earned in the same year, investigate further. 

Degree from a Geographically Distant University 

While there are many accredited online degree-seeking programs, investigate further if an applicant claims to have earned a degree from a university that is far from where he or she works or lives.

You can find out if the institution is accredited. If not, the credential may have been got from a diploma mill. 

Schools with Similar Names 

If an applicant claims to have a degree from a university with a name that sounds similar to a well-known university in another state, investigate further.

There are some legitimate, accredited institutions with names that sound similar to those of prestigious institutions. 

Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, for example, is sometimes confused with Columbia University in New York, but it is not nearly as prestigious.

It is, however, regionally accredited. Some diploma mills print fake documents with names that sound similar to well-known institutions but do not exist and are not accredited. 

If an applicant claims to have a degree from a foreign institution, look into it further. While this may be difficult, if an applicant claims to have a degree from an institution in a country where he or she has never lived, you should definitely look into it further. 

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Employers should also know the employment verification process may have flaws. They frequently run into problems because of incomplete and/or inaccurate information. 

They may not get information about an applicant because some institutions only allow former students access to information. 

Finally, an employer can conduct an education verification check, but they may not always get the desired results and may need to conduct additional background checks. 




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