Digital Credentials

What Are Stackable Credentials?

Stackable credentials are the real deal. They are in trend and gaining momentum by the day. Even Harvard University has incorporated stackable credentials into its education system. Today, prominent universities are adopting programs that provide digital certificates, which can come in handy to further enroll in higher studies or specialize in their respective fields. 

Stacking credentials is one such example that shows how mere programs can sum up to be career ladders. This is why more and more students and employers are investing in programs offering online badges.

Not only colleges but also low-income students are benefitting from such programs. Degrees cost more, but stackable programs are far more affordable. Students prefer enrolling in such programs to earn skills and find jobs quickly, as opposed to prolonged wait times to finish a degree.

Before we answer the question “What are stackable credentials,” let’s first look into the global trends. According to a study by Rand, the stacking rate in colleges in the U.S., especially community colleges in Colorado and Ohio, stands at 20 to 63 percent. It indicates that students enrolled in different colleges might have various opportunities in terms of stacking credentials. 

What are Stackable Credentials and How are They Beneficial?

What are Stackable Credentials and How are They Beneficial

In layman’s language, stackable credentials pave the way toward learning options that help learners achieve skills and competencies in their respective fields. We can also say that a stackable credential is a short-form course or certificate that can further lead a student to enroll in a long-term and higher education program such as a degree.

The reason why it is gaining so much popularity is because it helps students make up their minds about what they want to do with their lives. As stackable programs are short, a student takes a risk to understand if his field of choice is worthy enough for him to make a career in. In a bid to avoid those instant regrets, stackable credentials help students make the right career choice. 

Young learners acquire valuable skills and accrue an appetite for learning with the medium of short-form courses and certifications. It helps build confidence among students as they work toward achieving their dream goals.

Many students question what are stackable programs and, despite the hype, need help moving to new ways of learning. Unlike traditional methods, where first one completes high school, then college, and moves towards degrees, these short-term programs help students understand what they want to do in their lives. It is not that risky to leave a program halfway and register in a different field if one is not doing a degree. As stackable programs have enough weightage to help students enroll in higher studies later on, students find it more convenient this way.

Benefits of Stackable Programs

Benefits of Stackable Programs

There are numerous benefits of stackable programs. Below are some of the most important ones:

Earn Credits!

One of the most important benefits of stackable credentials is credits! The credits earned through certificates can often add up toward a degree. Undoubtedly, degrees have more value, and universities can enroll students bearing enough stackable certificates. Not only this, but the study period also shortens, which means you’ll be able to acquire jobs faster than the traditional way. Many students opt for two or three programs at a time, get their certification, and enroll in a degree program quickly. They do all this while studying and working in their jobs simultaneously.

A new study conducted in California on stackable credential programs suggests that individuals who completed certificates in stackable programs were around 16 percent more likely to attain a second credential. These programs also help colleges save a lot of money as more students enroll, which they can use to improve their education system and introduce more such programs. 

Saves You Money and Time

If you still need clarification regarding what are stackable credentials, this point will help to get rid of it. Stackable credentials offer flexibility to learners in terms of pricing, time, and overall commitment.

As an adult, you might face many challenges in pursuing your degree program. It is not easy to handle both job and study. But, with stackable credential programs, it is time-saving and also cost-effective. You can still be at the top of your game and earn promotions with the help of short-term programs providing authentic certifications.

The study gap can put off one to pursue education again. But to excel in professional life, degrees, diplomas, certifications, and credentials play a significant role. But for those in a profession already, with responsibilities around the clock, stackable credential programs are the real deal. Not only do you gain certifications, but it also helps you move toward degree programs. 

It can help you cut short the time, too. How? Many certifications are countable in degree programs. If you need 12 semesters to earn a degree, you could cover two to four semesters while completing short-term stackable credential programs. It depends from university to university.

Help You Get More Traction

The rising trend in the assessment of credit-for-prior learning and with many higher-education institutions accepting industry-required certification is broadening its scope significantly. This is helping gain more traction as the “stacking” concept takes hold in industries such as information and technology, the business world, engineering, and health sectors. This is why there is an increased interest in earning online badges, including soft skills, leadership, and team building.

What are stackable programs in the business world?

What are stackable programs in the business world

There is also a rise in demand for stackable programs in the business world. Prominent names in the business industry are trying to build programs that can help enhance the skills of their employees. This way, onboarding new hires becomes quite easy and efficient at the same time. So what are stackables programs in the sphere of business industry?

These programs are tailor-made to the company’s needs. They are flexible and customizable programs, which take into account employee background and educational qualifications. The reason is that it helps nurture employee growth, which in return enables companies to generate adequate revenue. A healthy workforce means healthy income flow.

The business industry looks for individuals with relevant skills. Skills acquisition is at the top of the mind of the corporate world. An individual with relevant skills at times can have more chances to bag a job than someone with a degree. The world is uncertain! This is why, big companies encourage their employee to enroll in programs offering certificate badges.


Stackable credentials make it easy for adult learners to enhance their skills while they are in their jobs. Not only that but for young learners unsure if their choice of field is correct for them, these short-term programs help save time and make decisions. 

Stackable programs can also be counted toward a degree; saving time and money. But, of course, this depends on the institution. We hope your query for what are stackable credentials has been resolved.

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Hi there! I'm Begum, the Marketing Manager at Sertifier! In addition to trying to reach more people with Sertifier's creative solutions daily.

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