More and more students are entering higher education each year in order to pursue a degree which will eventually lead to them taking a job. However, before hiring someone for a job, many employers will carry out background checks. These can include health checks, DBS checks and an education background check.
In short, almost all employers do indeed check the degrees of their applicants. They do this by carrying out an education check to make sure that the person they are hiring has the correct formal education needed for the job. An education background check confirms an applicant’s education claims of where they obtained their qualifications and when. This is especially important in careers like medicine and finance where employers expect you to learn many of the skills needed for the job during the degree.
Whilst the main purpose of an education background check is to identify the authenticity of a degree, I recommend you read on to find out more about how this process works.
How do employers check degrees?
During the hiring process, it is common for the hiring manager to ask you to present a copy of your diploma or submit a sealed transcript. These will be kept in your file. These are the methods to verify your education from you.
To do a thorough background check, an employer may instead choose to contact your institute of higher education or use a third-party verification service.
Although third-party services often charge an enquiry fee, they can keep costs down for the employer if they are running multiple checks due their partnerships with many institutions. It may also make the process better as they can screen candidates against certain academic criteria.
The education check will reveal your date of graduation, certification level and your grades in specific subjects. Employers may hire you if you have an unrelated degree to the job if you have a high degree classification. You can find out more about the university grading system by clicking here on this Think Student article.
To perform an education verification, the employer will need to collect basic information about the applicant. This includes information like the candidate’s full name that they graduated under or the field of the degree.
However, most importantly, the employer must receive consent from the applicant to perform the check.
An education background check is not limited to just your degree. Employers will usually look at an applicant’s degree but if requested they can look at an applicant’s educational background as far back as they want.
This includes checking your GCSE grades. You can find out more about this by checking out this Think Student article here.
What is an accredited degree?
If you have been looking at different university degrees, you may have come across the term “accredited course”.
An accredited course is a course that has been approved by its related professional organisation. This organisation must be approved by OFQUAL in order to accredit courses.
If a course is accredited, it means that all the modules in the course have been regulated and covers all the information that will prepare you for a career in the industry.
For example, to become a pharmacist, you must complete a course that has been accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
For many careers, an accredited degree is the legal requirement. Most accredited degrees will lead to a specific job and the foundation of training for the job will be covered throughout the degree to develop the high level of skill needed.
Having an accredited degree means that you will be registered with the professional body. A lot of the job titles associated with them will be legally protected. For example, you cannot be called a pharmacist if you are not registered with the GPhC.
Employers will absolutely check if your degree is accredited as part of the education check. However, this is not the case for jobs that do not typically have specific degree requirements.
For more information about the whether or not you should do an accredited degree, check out this article from theuniguide.co.uk.
What is a diploma mill?
The main reason why education checks are done is to prevent the hiring of unqualified employees with illegally obtained degrees.
A diploma or degree mill refers to an organisation that claims to be a higher education institution and provides illegitimate degree documentations for a fee. Universities and employers therefore have thorough checks to make sure they have the correct information about an applicant’s education.
Many diploma mills will be unaccredited but supported by accreditation mills, which also have no academic recognition. Third-party verification services often will have a database of candidates who have false documents and the institutions that issued them, so it is easier to spot.