Education Verification for Employment Screening

Why verify education?

Understanding how education verification works and what it can do for your company will make your organization more effective, productive and mitigate risk. Resume fraud is quite common; between 25 and 50% of all job applicants lie on their resumes, according to several sources. Even more resumes are misleading and embellish job descriptions, duties or alter titles.

Fraudulent resumes present several legal challenges to Human Resources departments. HR departments are usually responsible for verifying that employees are qualified for a job. It is a critical piece of the hiring process helping to reduce the risk of a negligent hiring claim. Imagine hiring an engineer who does not have the proper education and training to design a bridge!

Verifying a prospect’s education assists is part of the background screening process. Although the procedure can take additional time to finish, it is mission critical in some cases that in addition to the formal degree verification that professional accreditation and licensure, has been verified and remains up to date.

If your company desires to build a successful team, then confirmation of all degrees, licensed, and/or licensure claims from the prospect should be part of the background check process. Taking these steps helps to make sure your new team members have the skills and knowledge needed to meet your companies strategic and tactical goals. Most important is how do you meet your companies needs if your workforce is not qualified to do the job. Education verification is a commonsense piece of the hiring process.

 How does an education verification work?

 Although an education verification can use a lot of different methods, the general procedure includes the confirmation of a prospect’s academic, certification, and/or licensure-related claims. Education verification processes can be performed for any level of education including high school, and GED equivalency exams, colleges, universities, and professional accreditations or licenses.

 These background checks can include discovering info not only on whether someone finished and attended from the schools they claim, but what grades they received within specific topics of research study that may be important within a particular trade or field. Most of the time, what education verification is referring to is education and degrees from universities and colleges.

 In almost all cases the college/university will require a signed release from the candidate before releasing records or an applicant’s transcript. The verification can take up to 30 days in some cases if the school is no longer in business or the records are older than 10 years. In most cases however the verification cab ne completed within 48 to 72 hours.

Legal requirements of education verification

When verifying a prospective hire’s previous education, businesses require candidates to supply their name, date of birth, and Social Security Number. Whether you are utilizing a background check service or not, it is best to offer the prospect what the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires and permits of businesses. Utilize a signed background authorization on a separate form from the application. Make sure the applicant is given their summary of rights under the FCRA or any other State or Local laws.

EEOC requirements of verifying education

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that there be no discrimination, intended or otherwise, during the review process. Employers should be consistent in how their program of conducting background checks is executed. All candidates should receive the same type of review, including methods used, turnaround time, etc. Note that local laws could also come into play based on both the locations the employer is hiring and where the candidate is located.


To ensure that your organization is conducting legally compliant education verifications and to alleviate some of the workload on your HR department consider using a qualified consumer reporting agency. For instance, Employers in Ohio can be sued for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision claims, even without the employee(s) in question being named in the suit and regardless of whether criminal charges were filed against anyone for the underlying wrongful conduct. Examples like these are a good reminder that you have a legal duty to your workforce, customers and the public to exercise reasonable caution and care when it comes to hiring, training, supervising, and retaining employees.