Credit Validation and Accreditation for Your Courses and Trainings

How Connecting with a University Partner Adds Value to In-House Educational Programs

If your organization offers courses and trainings, and wants to make these offerings as valuable as possible to your participants — you may be exploring your options for “course accreditation” or “credit validation.”

However, one of the challenges is that the terminology describing this scenario is not always clear. In this post, we’ll break down the key differences between course accreditation and credit validation, and explain why — if your organization is aiming to offer credit to your participants under the auspices of a reputable education and training partner, you may want to explore your options for “credit validation.”

What is Course Accreditation?

While some organizations may use the term “course accreditation” to mean providing accreditation services for in-house training programs offered by large companies and other organizations, an online search for this term typically reveals more information about the accreditation of colleges or universities and their academic programs. For example, the University of San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Since the term “accreditation” is most commonly used in this context, some providers of the service described above instead refer to it as “credit validation.”

What is Credit Validation?

One common denominator among the most successful organizations is that they prioritize educational and professional development opportunities for their members, and one way to accomplish this is to support training programs and courses that will help them excel in their jobs and careers.

Such professional growth opportunities can occur through established third-party programs or, in some cases, organizations will create their own customized, in-house training programs to boost specific knowledge and skill sets.

In some instances, such organizations find it beneficial to partner with an academic institution or an industry advocacy organization to be able to offer official credit to successful participants.

One example of an industry organization that works with employers to offer credit for their in-house training programs is the Institute of Risk Management. In terms of benefits, the IRM emphasizes that teaming up with a well-regarded industry partner:

  • Conveys that the course, its learning objectives and content have been reviewed and approved by a respected professional body
  • Provides participants with valuable opportunities for professional development
  • Assures your flexibility to tailor and update your courses as required
  • Provides participants with a certificate of completion

One example of an academic institution that offers credit validation services is the University of San Diego’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE). In addition to hundreds of high-quality, academic courses and certificate programs, PCE regularly works with organizations of all kinds to help them add value to their courses and trainings by establishing a structure to offer graduate level extension credit for work completed in trainings, conferences, workshops and other professional development programs. 

The organizations that partner with PCE in these offerings include private companies, nonprofits, public agencies such as school districts or county education offices, and professional organizations. For example, the Los Angeles-based Museum of Tolerance requests credit validation from the University of San Diego for its educational workshops for teachers. The following organizations are also among those that partner with USD for credit validation services:

  • National Geographic Society
  • Montessori Institute of San Diego
  • Dyslexia Training Institute
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Mathematics Vision Project
  • Great Books Foundation

How to Get Course Credit Validation

At USD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Education, which has been partnering with organizations to offer credit validation for over 25 years, the process is relatively simple.

  • Contact PCE
  • Submit information about your course or training to undergo detailed review
  • Receive a website link that provides participants with an easy way to enroll for credit
  • Competitive and affordable credit validation fees include a printed transcript for students

Courses can be classroom-based, online or blended. Successful participants receive the agreed-upon graduate level extension credits, as well as their complimentary printed transcript. Sponsoring businesses and organizations receive personalized white-glove service from your program coordinator, support from a dedicated enrollment and student services team, and affiliation with an accredited, nationally recognized university.