Why Students, Employers and Schools Need to Move Faster To Make Stackable Credentials Available to All

While there’s no disputing the value of a college degree when it comes to earning potential, nearly three-quarters of grads end up working in a field that’s unrelated to what they studied in school.

Liberty Street Economics made that forecast after studying Census Data from 2010.1 Academics have spent the years since discussing ways to connect the dots between learning and professional achievement, leading many — including us here at Parchment — to advocate for what are known as stackable credentials.

Forming a Career Path, One Credential at a Time

Simply defined, stackable credentials are a series of earned milestones. Complete the “stack” and collect the associated credentials and you’ll have verifiable expertise that has a value. The more credentials you have, the more valuable you should be to an employer.

And you don’t need to have a college degree to benefit from this concept. High school grads and professionals with some community college can also benefit from the pathways formed by stackable credentials.

Say you’re a nurse with an associate’s degree who works at a local doctor’s office. Adding a patient care technician certificate could lead to switching to long-term care, and earning more for your services. Stackable credentials codify and certify achievement, and, as such, it behooves the major players in each industry to design the “stacks” that teach the skills they’re seeking.

The combinations are virtually endless, and they’re not always vertical. Think of IT managers. Competency can be measured by certifications in different types and brands of systems — from Microsoft to Cisco to Oracle and more. That horizontal progression isn’t available to financial analysts, who advance vertically by passing different levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam.

Credentials can be stacked for the purpose of broadening a portfolio or for leveling up in a particular skill. Or, sometimes, for both. For example, a nurse looking to get hands-on experience in a hospital emergency room could need at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as a certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to administer an IV or emergency pharmacology to revive patients suffering heart trauma.2

nurseWorking Together to Make Stacking Real

Today, students stack credentials on their own because there’s been no other alternative. Schools and employers can work together to change that, though the nonprofit Lumina Foundation has already put in place one of the key pieces. Through an initiative called Connecting Credentials, Lumina is bringing together some 80 distinct institutions to help set common standards for certifications so that learning and achievement becomes easier to quantify, helping employers find candidates who’ve proven they have the skills that hiring managers need most.

Bringing consistency to credentials is important, but it’s also just a first step. Four-year, two-year and vocational education institutions also need to pitch in by helping to better define pathways for students. Think of the undergrad student who wants to make films. What credentials should they stack, and in what order? Helping define not just a curriculum for that student but also a relevant stack is crucial if they’re to graduate with meaningful job prospects to go with a big tuition bill. In that area, in particular, learners have never needed our help more. Each second, U.S. student loan debt rises an estimated $2,276.

Watch the clock here. Then wipe your brow, take a drink of water and remember: with stackable credentials we can do more to make education valuable. But we need to act now.


  1.    http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2013/05/do-big-cities-help-college-graduates-find-better-jobs.html#.V3LyxZMrJE5
  2.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_cardiac_life_support

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Parchment is redesigning our website!

We’d love to get  YOUR help while we are in the designing phases. We are looking for high schools and colleges that send or receive academic credentials to participate. It’s important to note that you DO NOT need to be part of the Parchment member network to help. In fact, we’d love to hear from those of you that have not yet experienced Parchment.

Participating in the usability test will require no more than 30 minutes of your time and can be done from any place, as long as you have an internet connection and telephone. In exchange for your time, we will happily thank you with a $25 Starbucks gift card.

To determine if you qualify, please email feedback@parchment.com and include your name and title, the name of your institution and identify if you have an existing relationship with Parchment. Our team will review all emails and reply directly should you qualify.

Thank you for helping shaping the Parchment experience.

K12 Admin Training: Sign Up!



One of the biggest requests we get from our members is MORE TRAINING!  Everyone wants to learn more about how to process transcripts faster, better, stronger. Well, we are certainly down with that!

Brush up on your best practices by registering for one of these upcoming trainings for K12 Administrators.  We offer them every week so pick a time that works for you.

There’s a lot to learn about the ins and outs of Parchment 7 … and we’re here to help. Sign up for training today!

Parchment 7 is Here!


We Are So Excited!

Your suggestions inspired us to create the most advanced academic credential management system: Parchment 7. Thousands of your enhancements will help you process incoming transcript orders faster and better than ever before!  Thank you for helping build the best!

See the 7 Best things about Parchment 7:

Get more information about the features included in Parchment 7 with these resources:

Log in today to see what we’ve all been waiting for: The future of credential management!

Parchment 7: Our Top 3 Recommendations

Last week we announced the upcoming release of Parchment 7. Click here to read all about it

This week we want to share with you the optimal way to set up your account using the new features in Parchment 7. By following our recommendations below, the time you spend fulfilling orders will be greatly reduced, benefitting both you and your students.

Our recommendations

We recommend that you upload your roster and transcripts before your students place orders, so that by the time they do place orders, their transcripts are in place and ready to go. If you do not follow our recommendations, you can still fulfill orders, but the fulfillment process will take a little longer.

Once we release Parchment 7, we will provide detailed instructions explaining how to prepare your account, which is made up of three key steps:


After completing the steps above, you will have three things in place and matched together – roster record, transcript, and Parchment.com registration. When your students place orders, you simply click Approve and the transcripts will be on their way!


If you want training on how to do each of these steps, sign up for a live webinar.

* Registration codes are not mandatory but they do speed up the registration process for students, and ensure that roster records automatically match Parchment.com registrations. When your students register for a Parchment.com account using a registration code, they do not have to enter any of the information that you already provided in the roster, such as their name and date of birth, and they do not have to add your school to their account as it will be added automatically. You can email or print registration codes.

The Parchment 7 Release is Coming Soon!


We are very excited for this release because we are bringing you (and your students) a slick new user interface along with helpful new features to ensure seamless transcript delivery!

Once we launch, our Help Center will be stocked with support material for you and your students, including user guides and videos. We realize this is a big change for you and we will be ready to help you every step of the way.

Two big changes

  1. Brand new interface!
  • You and your students will see updated interfaces with more intuitive navigation to make both transcript ordering and processing easier than ever.
  • When you sign in, you’ll land on your To Do List right away. Information previously displayed on the dashboard has moved to the Analytics tab.
  • Some labels are changing. For example, instead of Students, you will see Learners. Here are more:

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 1.58.16 PM

  1. The Credentials Library is coming!
  • The Credentials Library is where all the documents that you upload will be stored. This means that whenever and however you upload transcripts they will reside in the Credentials Library thereafter.
  • You can (and should!) upload your transcripts to the Credentials Library before your students ever place orders, so that transcripts are in place and ready to go.
    • Tip! You should also upload a roster*, so that you can associate/match the correct student with the correct transcript. Any transcripts that remain unmatched to a student record can be removed automatically from the Credentials Library, which you can control in your settings.
  • When new grades are posted, the new transcripts you upload will replace the older version for each student in your Library.

Stay tuned!

Our next blog post will take you through our recommendations on how you should set up your Parchment Send account to ensure the fastest fulfillment possible. We’ll also be showing you how the student ordering pages on Parchment.com are changing.

*Notice to Higher Education Senders: Uploading a roster will be new to Higher Ed institutions. We’ll be providing step-by-step instructions after we launch to help you. It’s not mandatory to upload a roster, but if you can, it will save time and help ensure that the transcripts reach their destinations as fast as possible.


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