Credentials are attestations of qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant or de facto authority or assumed competence to do so. Thus, it typically refers to formal learning and education (e.g., professional designation, degree, or diploma) required for regulated professions (e.g., engineering, trades, and medicine). However, this emphasis on formal learning has resulted in non-regulated occupations being largely overlooked.
Examples of credentials include academic diplomas, academic degrees, certifications, security clearances, identification documents, badges, passwords, user names, keys, powers of attorney, and so on. Published works can be viewed as similar to credentials by some people, especially if the publication was peer reviewed or made in a well-known journal or reputable publisher.
Bylsma, Lisa and Sophie C. Yohani, “Immigrants in Canada.” In Blythe C. Shepard and Priya S. Mani (editors). Career Development Practice in Canada: Perspectives, Principles and Professionalism. Toronto: Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), 2014, p.270.
Institute for Credentialing Excellence. “Terminology Documents.” Online: http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=14 (Retrieved on August 7, 2014)