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Industry-Based Certifications


Industry-Based Certifications

Are your students trying to earn an Industry-Based Certification or IBC? What is an IBC and how can CompuScholar help obtain these certifications?

IBC - What and Why?

An IBC is a certification earned through a well-known technology or testing company such as Oracle, CIW, Certiport, Microsoft, and others. These certifications are earned by studying for and passing a certification exam. Job-seekers will typically list certifications on their resumes to provide 3rd party verification of the skills that they claim.

IBCs were originally aimed at job-seeking software engineers who have already graduated college. However, today, certifications are popular in the 9th-12th grade market! Teachers may be strongly motivated by state or district goals to gain certifications for their high school students. Often, there are financial rewards distributed by the state or district to schools, teachers, and even students for gaining certification! Students can also list certifications on college applications or a resume to help land an internship.

State Approval

Industry-Based CertificationsMany states will publish a formal list of IBC that are approved for their students. Here are just a few examples:

States will often reward districts and teachers based on the number of students who gain one of the certifications on the approved list. Your students can still earn "off-list" certifications, but that may not result in typical rewards from the state or district. Therefore, teachers are usually motivated to help students prepare for certifications that have been approved by their state. Contact your state BOE for IBC program details!

We know that state certification lists sometimes don't make a lot of sense. Teachers have contacted CompuScholar asking for help because the IBCs on their approved lists are not appropriate for high school students and are difficult to obtain without years of experience. Teachers and districts usually have a voice in the construction of an approved IBC list, and each state will have a process for changing that list over time. Be sure to work with your state and district to make changes when needed!

We also know that teachers are sometimes asked to pursue certifications for a classroom due to a high-level similarity between an IBC name and the class subject matter. For example, teachers in a "Foundations of IT" class might be asked to prepare students for a "CompTIA IT+" certification because, hey, they both have to do with "IT" right? However, if you look at the state curriculum requirements for Foundations of IT and the IBC exam requirements, they may have little in common. This puts a lot of stress on the students and teachers to pursue two different goals simultaneously. If you are asked to prepare your students for a specific certification, be sure to closely study the IBC exam details in comparison to your state curriculum requirements. If there isn't enough overlap, let your administration know!

Ideally, you can use the curriculum - like CompuScholar's - that you've chosen to meet your state standards to also help prepare for an IBC.

CompuScholar Approach

Our main goal at CompuScholar is to provide great courses that meet relevant state standards. That said, there can be plenty of natural overlap between the skills needed to satisfy state requirements and the skills needed to pass a certification exam. This means you can possibly use a CompuScholar course to both meet state requirements AND to help study for an IBC exam. We can help teachers understand if there are specific skills required for an IBC that are not covered in a CompuScholar course. Teachers can then close those small gaps, if desired, with their own supplemental instruction.

A few important logistical notes:

  • Students will register, pay for, take the exam, and receive results through the company that establishes the certification. Your school, district, or state DOE can likely help explain the process in your local district.
  • Certifications are a big business! Companies that provide certifications usually like to sell you customized test-prep material to help pass their exams. If you feel this is needed in your classroom to close gaps or give students extra reinforcement, your school may be willing to purchase the extra material.
  • CompuScholar does not administer exams or certify results. We are simply providing guidance on how to prepare your students for IBC exams using our state-aligned courses.

Exploring Our IBC Alignment List

To help teachers understand IBC exam requirements and alignment to CompuScholar courses, we have published a variety of alignment documents on our Certifications Page.

Visit the CompuScholar Industry-Based Certification Alignment Page

Finding CompuScholar's IBC Alignments page

From this page, simply click on the name of an exam like "IT Specialist: Java" to view a PDF alignment guide. The exam requirements are listed on the left and citations for a CompuScholar chapter and lesson are on the right.

Sample alignment document

Some exams will have 100% alignment to a CompuScholar course, which is an ideal case. For other IBC, you may notice some "N/A" marks for specific line items. This means our curriculum doesn't cover that skill. If you think the skill is important to pass the exam, you'll want to cover it with your students on your own.

Requesting New IBC Alignments

If you are hoping to prepare students for a specific exam and don't see it on the CompuScholar alignment list, let us know! When making a request, it's helpful to provide a specific link to the exam you are considering. We're happy to review specific exams in the context of our courses and provide some quick guidance on which courses are the best fit. If there is strong enough overlap, we'll gladly publish a new alignment document on our Certifications page.

For More Information

Check out our April 2024 Professional Development Webinar - "Industry-Based Certifications" - for further details and a video discussion. As always, please Contact Us if you have questions!