Glossary: Licensure and education
The process by which an individual is granted recognition for specialty practice by meeting predetermined criteria specified by an association or agency. Certification may or may not denote advanced or special competency.
Evaluation of an applicant’s credentials, specifically academic records, including transcripts and diplomas, as well as licensure/registration documents, to ensure validity and, in the case of licenses/registrations, to ensure they are not encumbered. Unencumbered means that it is not revoked, suspended or made probationary or conditional by the licensing or registering authority that issued the credential.
Process by which an agency of a particular government grants permission to an individual to engage in a given profession upon determining that the individual has attained the essential degree of competency necessary to ensure the public’s health, safety and welfare will be reasonably well protected. In the United States, the authority to practice nursing is granted at the state level, not at the federal level. A state board of nursing, therefore, grants state nursing licenses for registered nurses and practical nurses. Means by which licenses are granted are as follows:
Process by which qualified individuals are listed on an official register maintained by a government or non-government agency. Similar to licensure, it enables such persons to use a particular title and attest to employing agencies and individuals that minimum qualifications have been met and maintained.
Educational records and diplomas from secondary and tertiary schools and programs of study. Academic records include transcripts, which are official records of coursework and grades, per term, for each school attended.
Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. It is preceded by preschool or nursery education and is followed by secondary education. In North America, this stage of education is usually known as elementary education. In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education, though in many jurisdictions it is permissible for parents to provide it. The transition to secondary school or high school is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about eleven or twelve years of age. Some educational systems have separate middle schools with the transition to the final stage of education taking place at around the age of fourteen.
The major goals of primary education are achieving basic literacy and numeracy amongst all pupils, as well as establishing foundations in science, mathematics, geography, history and other social sciences. The relative priority of various areas, and the methods used to teach them, are an area of considerable political debate.
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary school. Secondary education is generally the final stage of compulsory education. However, secondary education in some countries includes a period of compulsory and a period of non-compulsory education. The next stage of education is usually college or university. Secondary education is characterized by transition from the typically compulsory, comprehensive primary education for minors to the optional, selective tertiary, "post-secondary", or "higher" education (e.g., university, vocational school) for adults. Depending on the system, schools for this period or a part of it may be called secondary schools, high schools, gymnasia, lyceums, middle schools, colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools, and the exact meaning of any of these varies between the systems.
Tertiary education (also post-secondary)
Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school, university-preparatory school. Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education and training beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.
Colleges, universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics are the main institutions that provide tertiary education (sometimes known collectively as tertiary institutions). Tertiary education generally culminates in the receipt of certificates, diplomas or academic degrees.
A diploma is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study, or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, the word diploma refers to a level of academic award. The words diplomat and diplomacy have the same origin, from the official “folded papers” of accreditation delivered by ambassadors or delegates. In some countries, such as the UK and Australia, such a document can be called a testimonium or testamur, Latin for "we testify" or "certify" (testari), and so called from the word with which the certificate begins. In Ireland, it is generally called a parchment.
An academic certificate is a document that certifies that a person has received specific education or has passed a test or series of tests. In many countries, certificate is a qualification attained in secondary education. For instance, students in the Republic of Ireland sit the Junior Certificate and follow it with the Leaving Certificate. Similarly, other countries have awards, for instance, in Australia the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in New South Wales, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in Victoria, is the examination taken on completion of secondary education.
In many other countries, certificates are qualifications in higher education. For example, in the Republic of Ireland, the National Certificate, which is soon to be replaced by the “Higher Certificate”. These have the titles Certificate (at an undergraduate level), Graduate Certificate (at an undergraduate level, but requiring the completion of a prior undergraduate degree for admission) and Postgraduate Certificate (at a postgraduate level). In Hong Kong, students take the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Certificate is below the standard of the associate degree and higher diploma, which are below the bachelor’s degree. Postgraduate certificates are taken after the bachelor’s degree and are more vocational oriented than master’s degree.
In the United States, a certificate may be offered by an institute of higher education. These certificates usually signify that a student has reached a standard of knowledge of a certain vocational subject. Certificate programs can be completed more quickly than associate’s degrees and often do not have general education requirements.
Government-approved nursing school or program
An academic program that has been approved or recognized by the country’s official government to ensure compliance with minimum standards. As part of the evaluation of an applicant’s eligibility to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®, CGFNS reviews academic records to determine graduation from a government-approved, general nursing program of at least two years’ duration.