Back to School Special: How Education Verification Confirms Qualified Teachers

Back to School Special: How Education Verification Confirms Qualified Teachers

By Tricia O'Connor

Millions of children are heading back to school this week. And while many parents may be breathing a sigh of relief, there is always a looming fear for their children’s safety at school.

COVID-19 is certainly impacting this fear once again. But there are other causes for concern, like, “Who is teaching my child?”

In most cases, families don’t learn who their child’s teacher is until mere days before the start of the school year. So, it’s up to the school district to ensure they are hiring qualified teachers.

Here, we examine how school districts use education verification to confirm a teacher’s credentials and explore why more businesses should be using the same tactic.

The Importance of Education Verification

The Workforce Institute 2021 Engagement and Retention report says more than 50% of America’s workers are searching for a new job this year. While teaching normally bucks unemployment trends (the higher the unemployment number, the greater the number of teachers who stay put in current jobs), 84% of teachers and administrators say morale is lower than it was before COVID-19, and one-third of teachers say the pandemic is making them more likely to leave teaching or retire early.

If morale continues to nosedive and districts still struggle to assist teachers to balance the new demands the pandemic has put on them, there is a strong likelihood teacher attrition will reach new heights. If that’s the case, districts will need to be prepared to hire large numbers of teachers in a fast, accurate, and safe manner. That means comprehensive background checks, including criminal records, sex offender registry search, and employment and education verification.

What is Education Verification?

An education verification researches and confirms an applicant’s education history. It’s a critical component to any teacher background check because it will verify a teacher’s credentials, including their degree(s), certificates, and diplomas, and when and where they attended educational institutions. It does not include professional license verification; there is a separate check for that. Education verification will highlight any inaccuracies in a teaching candidate’s resume or application, such as if they attended a college, but never graduated.

What Gets Checked?

Gathering information for education verification begins with these steps:

  • Signed authorization from applicant
  • Obtain full name applicant used when attending school or institution
  • Obtain dates of attendance or graduation date
  • Have a clear indication of whether a GED, diploma or degree was earned, and what type
  • Name of institution, including city, state, and campus

Once that information is collected, the education verification can begin.

Education verification may look at these items:

EBI Education Verification
Source: ebiinc.com

Not all these items may be requested by an employer. Employers may decide what information is relevant to them and just request those checks. Education verification examines the educational records at high schools, universities and colleges, and vocational institutions.

Why Conduct Education Verification?

Unlike some criminal record checks, there is no searchable database to uncover a teaching candidate’s education history. The responsibility lies with the school district to ensure it’s performing due diligence in verifying teachers’ credentials.

Verifying a candidate’s education helps employers:

  • Confirm information provided by a teaching applicant is true
  • Mitigate risk of a bad hire
  • Reduce administrative costs
  • Onboard faster
  • Satisfy parents’ needs for a safe and solid education for their child

Education verifications can be performed by the school district itself, but this is often a longer and less thorough examination of a teacher’s credentials. The safest, most accurate, and timely education verification should be performed by an internationally accredited background screening provider like EBI. Third-party Consumer Reporting Agencies (a CRA is another term for a background screening company) have dedicated verification and compliance teams to make sure your education verification checks are accurate, compliant, and comprehensive.

The Importance of Verifying International Education

Diploma mills continue to be a challenge for employers in all industries, especially academia. World Education Services reported in 2017 there were more than 1,000 estimated diploma mills in the US and more than 2,600 worldwide.

The degrees can be from high school to the top tier of higher education. That same WES report cited 400 diploma mills in the US award an estimated 500 fake Ph.D. degrees monthly.

Leading accreditation experts say the people most vulnerable to the enticing nature of diploma mills are often students and parents in developing countries attracted by the opportunity to get a high-end, foreign degree.

Education verification can help spot a fake degree. Here are some ways to tell if a degree is fake:

  • Does the name of the institution seem obscure or similar to a well-known university?
  • Can the school’s physical location be verified through additional resources? Is it a PO box or someone’s residence?
  • Verify if the school is accredited through a government resource such as www.chea.org or www.unesco.org.

Education Verification with a Consumer Reporting Agency

Education verification, employment verification, and reference checks will continue to grow in necessity as the job market continues to get flooded with applicants.

Partnering with a CRA like EBI can streamline the education verification process. We have an entire verifications team dedicated to delivering these services with utmost accuracy, compliance, and timeliness.

EBI is widely known for delivering safer and smarter background checks that improve the candidate experience, streamline administrative processes, and mitigate risk to your school district. Education verification is an important step in this process as candidates get more creative to stand out from the crowd.

When children’s safety and education are on the line, school districts best position themselves by partnering with a CRA to perform education verifications. For more information on EBI’s award-winning background check services, contact us today.

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About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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