How Do Employers Verify College Degrees?

Updated December 12, 2022

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

An educational background verification is a necessary component of many background checks when applying for a job. While checking and verifying an applicant’s education credentials may be an extra step in the hiring process, a complete background check helps employers identify and hire great talent. An education background check also helps the employer to know you better as a potential hire.

In this article, we take a look at educational background checks, including how degree verification is carried out and what the consequences are if an applicant is found to have falsified their education.

What is an education background check?

An education background check is a method used to verify the required education for job applicants. This type of check is typically used to verify the dates of attendance and whether the degree listed on a resume was earned. Most degrees can be verified by the records office of the applicant’s school, but sometimes the verification is performed by a third-party company, which usually incurs a fee.

Related: Do Employers Check GPA?

How do employers perform degree verification?

Sometimes, a hiring manager may ask you to present your diploma, so they can keep a copy of it in your file. Other applications can require you to submit or order a sealed transcript. Another way a hiring manager may authenticate your education is by contacting the schools or universities that you attended.

Sometimes companies will hire third-party verification services to screen their potential job candidates. The third-party services will request your transcripts from the school or university in a similar manner to an independent request from a company.

Related: FAQ: Why Should I Pursue an Education Degree?

Why employers need education background checks?

With the wealth of information they find in standard background checks, you might wonder why a hiring manager or company might need an education background check from you. Employers need education background checks for several reasons. The first and most obvious is to verify that you have the education and skills for the job. 

Furthermore, advanced education shows that you have the perseverance to set goals and attain your goals. Goal setting is a valuable trait for employees and the ability to complete tasks is critical for teamwork and meeting company goals and objectives.

Related: 25 Most Useful Majors To Get Your Degree In

Here are some more reasons for employers to verify education:


In today’s competitive job market, many candidates find that even entry-level positions often require a postsecondary degree. It’s not surprising that some applicants take to exaggerating their qualifications to improve their chances of getting hired.

Some candidates are willing to risk being discovered lying on their resumes. The disadvantages, however, could include poor performance at a job due to inexperience or being fired when the lie is discovered.

Related: 6 Interview Questions About Integrity

Diploma mills

Diploma mills are companies that offer degrees, diplomas or certificates for purchase, requiring no academic effort at all. These degrees, of course, are not legitimate, as the companies are not accredited educational institutions. Diploma mills are purely transactional. Employers are becoming more aware that a degree can seem legitimate until a thorough background check unearths the truth.

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