Credentialing Basics

Many civilian jobs have certain professional and technical standards. Obtaining credentials – certifications and licenses – shows that you meet these standards. For example, a welder can show their welding certifications to an employer to document that they have specific skills and knowledge. In the civilian world, credentials may be required for a job, or can make you more likely to be hired for a job.

Credentialing is important for several reasons:

  • Civilian credentialing can contribute to military career development, and may be accepted for self-development requirements and in performance evaluations.
  • Federal, state, or local law may require specific credentials to legally perform some jobs.
  • Employers may choose to hire only employees who have certain credentials or to pay those employees more.
  • Credentials may improve an employee's prospects for promotion.
  • Credentialed Service members demonstrate to prospective civilian employers that their skills are on par with their civilian peers.

For a Coast Guardsman, civilian credentials are important for two main reasons:

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Workforce Professionalization

The Coast Guard is dedicated to supporting workforce professionalization to ensure our Service members remain Ready, Relevant, and Responsive across our Total Mission Portfolio.

I want to maximize my development while on Active Duty.

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Smoother Transitions

When you transition back to civilian employment, credentials help you translate your military training and experience into something civilian employers can easily recognize. That can help you get hired, get a better job, or be promoted sooner!

I am transitioning soon! What steps should I take?

Credentialing boards determine the requirements for licensure and certification. Typically, they require a combination of the following:

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Education

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Training

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Work or Professional Experience

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Examinations

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Other Unique Job-Related Requirements

Do some states have specific credentialing requirements?

While most certifications are national and have the same requirements in every state, requirements for some occupational licenses vary by state.

Not all states license the same occupations, and for those that do, requirements can differ substantially. If you hold a license in one state but plan to relocate to another state, you need to find out if that state requires a license for your occupation and if it recognizes your license.

Some states will give consideration to individuals licensed in another state. For example the licensing board may:

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Recognize licenses granted by other states as equivalent, called "reciprocity."

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Issue a license based on the individual having met similar requirements out-of-state, called "endorsement" or "license by credentials."

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Credit equivalent out-of-state training, education, and examinations.

Even if a state recognizes another's license, you may still need to take an exam or pay a fee. Check with the state licensing board to find out more about the specific requirements.

You can obtain state licensing board contact information from the License Finder page of the U.S. Department of Labor's careeronestop website.

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This is an official U.S. Coast Guard website
Updated: February 9, 2020