Credentialing is the process of verifying the qualifications and backgrounds of professionals or organizations. For a professional, this process is generally initiated when he or she seeks employment and submits an application. Verification of credentials is repeated at certain intervals in various fields to ensure that the employee is still qualified to remain in his or her position. The credentials of an organization, such as a healthcare facility or school, might also require verification to ensure that it complies with all regulations. Credentials can include licenses, certifications, educational or experience requirements and accreditation.
The credentialing procedures can vary depending on the profession and can be based on the criteria set by the business or organization or by any applicable laws. Generally, when a professional seeks a position that requires credentialing, he or she is presented with a form that has been designed to gather the data that needs verification. This form might request information regarding the applicant's education, training, experience, licenses and certifications. The employer or organization then seeks to verify the provided information by contacting the sources that granted those credentials.
Another form of credentialing occurs when an organization grants a professional a qualification. The credential that is granted to the individual is an indication that he or she has met the standards set by the credentialing body. This credentialing body reviews the individual's achievements and background to determine whether he or she qualifies for the designated credential. The credential can be in the form of a certification or membership in an association. A credential that is awarded to an individual can lend significant recognition and is an indication of an acceptable level of achievement.
Verifying credentials is important to ensure that the predetermined standards of quality set by the employer or organization are met. A set of standards that is consistent is critical. This helps to evaluate each prospective employee of a given profession uniformly. It is also critical to ensure that all professionals in their field possess an acceptable level of competency. Many fields require continuing education or training in order for an individual to remain qualified.
Examples of professions that require credentialing include educators, physicians, attorneys and insurance agents. Additionally, various types of organizations require credentialing to verify that they are meeting the standards for accreditation as well as any legal requirements. These include hospitals and other healthcare facilities, schools and institutions. Establishing that individuals and organizations meet the standards set by their governing bodies ensures a consistent level of quality and professionalism.