How Do Employers Verify Education & College Degrees?

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Posted by: David Garcia November 10, 2023

Applicants will go to great lengths to land a job.

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that nearly 80% of job applicants have lied or would consider lying on their resumes. This falsification includes making up their education credentials.

As a hiring manager, you should always conduct education background checks, also known as education verification checks. This process will ensure you hire someone honest and qualified. Background screening will also protect you from liability.

Not sure how to work with a background check company to conduct education background checks? Look no further! This post will tell you everything you need to know about the process—and how to make it as quick and painless as possible.

What Is an Education Background Check?

An education background check confirms an applicant’s education claims, verifying their attendance and degrees earned at high schools, colleges, and vocational schools.

What Does an Education Background Check Show?

An education background check shows whether the applicant attended the schools they claimed to have attended, proof of degrees, training, and certifications, and dates of attendance.

Generally, education background checks can go back as far as they need to search for official records. Employers can confirm a candidate’s diplomas and degrees no matter when they received them.

In some cases, an education background check shows GPA and honors earned. An employer will request this information if it is relevant to the position they are hiring for (such as a higher education teacher).

Usually, an education background check does not verify licenses. Suppose an employer needs to confirm that an applicant has certifications to work in a specific field. In that case, they’ll have to use another type of background screening known as professional license verification.

How Do Employers Verify Education?

Employers verify education by requesting diplomas, sealed transcripts, or contacting educational institutions directly. Some companies employ third-party verification services to ensure accuracy.

Too many employers forgo education verifications. There are lots of reasons for this, one of the most common being that employers think the process is too complicated.

In reality, the process is quite simple. You will start by collecting basic information from the applicant. This data includes:

  • The full name of the candidate (Note: Be sure to get the full name that the person graduated under. For instance, a female candidate might be applying under her married name but graduated under her maiden name.)
  • The name and address of the degree-granting institution
  • The dates attended (Note: Month and year should be sufficient. For instance, 08/2005–05/2009)
  • The title and field of their degree
  • A signed authorization release from the applicant

Your candidate will likely be familiar with the hiring process and be ready to give you this information.

Once you have the information, what’s next?

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Use a Third-Party Education Verification Service

The easiest thing to do is to hand it off to a third-party education verification service like ScoutLogic. We verify your applicants’ credentials directly with their respective institutions or a 3rd party service called the National Student Clearinghouse. By taking care of the process, our background screening team saves you time and hassle. If the verification is a high school, ScoutLogic will reach out to their registrar’s office.

The DIY Route

Some employers choose to handle the education verification process themselves. If you go this route, here’s what you can expect:

You’ll have to contact the institution and provide the information you collected from your applicant. Then, the institution will complete verification.

If you verify education via the DIY route, you must:

Anticipate Running into Problems

In a perfect world, education verification would be easy. However, the truth is that employers often run into problems. Issues like the following can slow down the process:

  • You received the wrong information from your applicant (incomplete degree name, their maiden name instead of the name they graduated under, etc.).
  • The institution only allows former students to access information.

By anticipating problems like these, you’ll keep the process moving along smoothly.

Watch Out for Diploma Mills

Throughout the education verification process, you need to watch out for diploma mills.

Diploma mills are essentially phony universities. They are unaccredited and sell fake degrees to “students.” Diploma mills might try to appear legit by accepting prior work experience or providing bogus online courses. Others will outright sell fake degrees.

So, when verifying education, be sure the institution has recognition from a valid accreditation agency.

Verify International Education

Some applicants may have received their degree abroad. If this is the case, you’ll want to be extra careful.

It can be easier for a candidate to falsify credentials from a foreign school. So, ensure you are thorough. Also, make sure that the diploma is equivalent to the required credentials.

Screen Beyond Education

There’s no doubt that verifying your applicant’s education history is crucial. However, it’s not the only thing that should concern you.

You’ll also want to verify your applicant’s criminal history, previous work experience, credit history, etc. This screening ensures you hire a great employee from the start and avoid problems down the line.

ScoutLogic offers a variety of screening services in addition to education verification. Learn more by contacting us today!

How Long Does Conducting an Education Verification Check Take?

Another common reason that employers forgo education background checks is that they think they take too long. Employers might be too impatient to wait around. Or, they might be desperate and need to hire someone right away.

No matter how much of a hurry you’re in, the wait will be well worth it. You’ll hire someone qualified from the get-go. You won’t have to find out later that the person lied, saving you and your company the hassle of rehiring.

Even better is that education background checks don’t take that long. Some institutions have procedures that drag out the process. But, for the most part, employers expect the results within a few days.

Why Do Employers Need to Verify Education History?

Here are some of the most compelling reasons to conduct education background checks:

It Helps You Weed Out Dishonest Candidates

As we mentioned earlier, lots of candidates lie in their applications. You would be naive not to verify their degree credentials.

By conducting an education background check, you confirm that your candidate has the education they claim to have. You also ensure that you’re hiring someone honest. As a hiring manager, you probably don’t want someone who lied on their resume as your employee.

It Ensures You Hire Someone Qualified

An education background check not only ensures your candidate has good moral character. It also ensures they have the qualifications to do the job. A candidate with the proper education will adequately fulfill their role.

Additionally, hiring a qualified candidate protects employers from liability. This matter is crucial in healthcare, education, and other highly specialized fields. If you hire someone who falsified their credentials, your company will be responsible.

It’s Affordable

Employers might avoid education background checks to cut down on expenses. In reality, background checks are very affordable.

The cost of background checks will depend on several factors (including how many you’re running). With services like ScoutLogic, you can save big when you run multiple background checks. We also keep our costs low through our partnerships with institutions.

So, don’t let cost stop you from running education background checks. The small price you pay will end up saving you money in the long run. You’ll be hiring someone good that will help your company profit. And you won’t have to go through the recruiting process all over again.

Get Your Free Assessment Today

If you are a hiring manager, education background checks are a must. They ensure you hire someone honest and qualified. They also protect you from liability.

Lucky for you, education verification doesn’t have to be complicated. ScoutLogic takes care of the process quickly while staying within your budget. With us, you’ll be on your way to hiring the right applicant for your company.

Ready to get started? Click here for your free assessment.

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