Frequently Asked Questions

What are certifications and credentials?

Certifications (sometimes referred to as industry credentials) are assessments created and evaluated by external organizations in order to validate a specific skill set demonstrating employability in a given industry or career path.

Who needs them?

Certifications prove a valuable addition to the accomplishments of ALL students.  Industry credentials validate competence in core content and performance standards in a specific set of work-related tasks established by an industry-recognized third party. This demonstration of knowledge and skills can set the stage for a lifelong path of professional achievement.

Which certifications are approved by VDOE?

The current list of industry certifications approved by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), state-wide pass rates, information, and resources can be found on the VDOE Path to Industry Certification Website. 

What are the benefits of earning an industry certification/credential?

Industry certifications compliment rigorous and relevant competency-based Career and Technical Education (CTE)  instruction by providing employers with a reliable predictor of success for entry-level employment, adding value to a transcript for higher education, validating in-demand skills, and increasing job opportunities and/or advancement in a chosen career path.

Who decides what certifications are available to students?

High School administrators and CTE teachers develop an annual industry certification plan to meet the needs of their students. Each plan is reviewed at the District level to ensure consistency with the overall industry certification testing initiative developed by CTE staff in the PWCS Office of Student Learning. ​

How many different certifications are given each year?

While PWCS administers approximately 25 to 30 different industry certifications in a given year, the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination can be administered to any and all CTE students as it assesses the core workplace readiness skills that all employers expect. All CTE courses incorporate instruction in these areas as required by VDOE.

Why doesn't PWCS offer all of the approved certifications?

Some certifications have a minimum age requirement or minimum years of experience in the career field that not all students can meet. In addition, not all certifications are aligned to the curriculum that students receive in high school. Every attempt is made to choose the most appropriate assessment for PWCS students.

Where can I find information and resources to prepare for the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination?

For more information on the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination, students and parents can access the resources available from CTECS – the Career and Technical Education Consortium of States.

What certifications have been given, and what are the pass rates for each?

Information on assessments and pass rates in PWCS for the previous three years is available on the Certification and Credential Pass Rates page.