Stackable credentials are sequential postsecondary awards that allow individuals to progress on a chosen career path. Learners who work to achieve stackable credentials can study a range of disciplines to earn a certification for each unit they complete.
Over time, this completed coursework then combines to form a larger credential, such as a degree or professional qualification.
Students are able to pick their own learning pathway, combining coursework from different fields and completing them in succession, meaning they can carve out their own bespoke curricula and gain a recognized certification at every step of their educational journey.
For instance, a student may choose to complete a short-term certificate in computer science and apply those credits to a technology degree later on in order to earn their associate’s degree.
Commonly, students embarking on a learning pathway that involves stackable credentials will benefit professionally in several ways, due to their becoming more qualified at every step of their journey. In other words, their prospects in the workplace can progressively improve long before they earn their degree.
Stackable Credentials Take Three Main Forms
Vertical stacking is where a single subject is learned in increasing difficulty. Here, students can select a chosen, specialized subject to explore in-depth over the course of their studies. At first, the coursework they complete may be simpler, less advanced topics that will earn the student a more basic qualification when completed.
However, as the student progresses, they will achieve more highly-regarded certifications, which will eventually culminate in their receiving a degree or full professional qualification.
Horizontal stacking is where students learn different topics (i.e., marketing, data handling, technology, and cyber networking) and combine the certifications they achieve into a highly tailored set of qualifications that can closely fit the student’s ambitions and interests.
Additionally, horizontal stacking can assist students in developing a wide range of professional skills across a variety of fields, while progressing toward an overall certification or degree that will substantially improve their prospects in the workplace.
Hybrid stacking is a mixture of both the vertical and horizontal approaches and involves learning a variety of subjects with increasing difficulty. For example, students may choose two or three fields (e.g. cybersecurity, computer science, digital marketing) in their pursuit of an online technology degree, then begin by studying the more basic aspects of each subject.
Once they complete this coursework — and achieve the associated qualifications — they can progress to a more advanced phase of study for each topic. As they continue further down their educational pathway, they will obtain more advanced qualifications in each subject area, furthering their expertise in a range of fields.
Then, when the student has completed their studies in each of their chosen subjects, they will be rewarded by receiving the overall professional qualification or degree toward which all their accomplishments up to that point have been geared.
How Stackable Credentials Provide Career Pathways
Under a traditional degree program, students may not necessarily have any industry qualifications to show for all their hard work until they’ve graduated.
By contrast, studying via stackable credentials allows you to achieve a recognized award for each completed module.
Stackable credentials also offer flexibility for those students who require it. Generally, these programs are studied online, giving students the chance to create their careers from the comfort of their own home and around any existing commitments they may have.
Credential Stacking is the Future Norm
As students progress through a bespoke curriculum, they’ll have the opportunity to take greater ownership of their education, thereby tailoring their own pathway to gain a specific skill set that more perfectly suits their chosen career path.
Not to mention, research indicates stacking credentials can offer higher wages, better employment prospects, and an increased chance of career progression. Indeed, this educational pathway could quite easily become the “new normal” and conventional route to attaining a degree.
Bonus Tip: Ways to Find the Right Education for Your Career
Okay, after we explained what stackable credibles are and how they can improve your knowledge and skills for a wide range of areas, let’s move to another tip that will mean a lot for you.
Have you ever wondered what is the best way to find the right education for your needs? For starters, you are a lucky person as you live in the 21st century where technology can help you in multiple ways.
That means you can find all the answers that bother you and make the selection of a college, school, or any other form of knowledge improvement a lot easier. Let’s find out together some of the most useful ways to find the right education for your career!
Use Education Platforms
To find the websites and platforms that somehow relate to education, you should strive to look for those domain names that end with .edu as that confirms you are on the right path. The good news for all the people is that there are many platforms such as DeVry University where you can find the field of study and classroom preference with a couple of clicks.
Currently this website helps people boost their skills in industries such as IT, software information systems and others with a certificate program as well as technology degree. Click here for more information.
Eliminate the Schools or Programs that Will Not Meet Your Needs
Without any doubt, technology is going to help you a lot, but you also need to know what you are looking for exactly. Most people are not pretty sure what they want, but they know exactly what they DO NOT want.
Eliminating certificate programs is going to be easier that you think. Logically, you primarily need to eliminate those programs that do not provide the education for skills that you plan to improve.
Despite that, you need to know who are the mentors that will help you improve your skills online and why they deserve your attention and trust. Highlight all the features that are important for you and check them one by one!
Check the Reviews of Other People
As a rule of thumb, most certificate programs connect like-minded people. There is a big chance that previous students of a particular program are people that have the same passion and goals as you.
Because of that, their experience can mean a lot to you. If they liked what they got, then you will like it as well. That is the reason why we strongly recommend that you read reviews of previous students and use that option to find the best possible education for yourself.
Read the Description of the Degree/Certificate Program
Generally speaking, we do know that most people will read the description of the program they want to attend. This may seem like a basic piece of advice, but we need to remind you of how crucial this is for the selection of the right degree.
The description primarily needs to come in a form of in-depth analysis. If you see that many details are missing, this is a red flag. However, if you see that everything is described properly, then you need to ensure that all the details are clear to you. That way, you will know that you are making a good choice!