Do Background Checks Show Education?

With the hope of getting a job to earn a living, most job applicants are willing to do whatever it takes to make their resume look more impressive.

In some cases, they may boast about their academic achievements or list degrees they don’t possess.

However, employers are now wary of such false claims, and many are turning to educational background checks to verify the information on job applicants’ resumes.

This article will cover what you need to know about educational background checks, how employers verify degrees, and the potential consequences of lying on the resume.

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Does a Background Check Show Education?

Yes, most employers do educational background checks to get information about applicants’ qualifications and academic achievements.

Though it is a simple background check, an educational assessment can help verify that a candidate is appropriate for the role.

An education background check is usually composed of tracking transcripts from previous schools, verifying enrollment information, and checking diplomas.

Why do Employers do an Education Background Check?

Better hiring choices

Employers want to know if applicants are qualified and educated enough for the role they’re applying for.

An education background check gives employers an idea of whether the applicant can bring valuable knowledge and skills to the workplace.

It is also a way to gauge if the candidate fits the company’s culture and values.

For an employer, choosing between two great candidates, educational achievements, or advanced degrees may sway them toward choosing one applicant over the other.

Doing an educational background check can help employers make a decision based on false information.

Uncover possible dishonesty

With the competitiveness of the job market today, many entry-level positions now require a postsecondary degree.

It’s no wonder some people lie about their credentials to make themselves look more qualified in the eyes of employers.

Some people who apply for jobs are willing to risk lying on their resumes, which not only questions their qualifications but also raises doubts about their character.

Employers want to hire people who embody their company’s values of honesty and transparency.

Have a basis for the compensation

Most employers choose candidates who graduated from more prestigious schools or have higher degrees.

They are willing to pay them higher salaries because they believe these job applicants are more qualified.

Generally, an employee’s level of education and professional achievements will play into how much the potential employer will pay them.

It is why when discussing the compensation with an applicant, ensure to verify if the applicant has the degree he declared in the resume.

Part of compliance with state, federal, local, and industry regulations

Depending on the industry, employers may be mandated to check candidates’ educational credentials before hiring them.

For example, with particular roles in the healthcare and medical fields, employers are required to verify that their employees hold valid certifications or degrees.

In these cases, hiring someone without verifying his qualifications would put an employer at risk of incurring fines or other penalties.

How Do Employers Verify Education?

DIY verification

Employers may verify a candidate’s education by contacting the educational institution and requesting the transcript or verification of the degree.

The DIY route might also be time-consuming if the applicant attended multiple schools. 

Employers should not violate privacy regulations, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which limits who can view student records.

Asking for the applicant’s transcript of records

Although the undergraduate course is general, employers usually care more about the skills a candidate learned or if they took a nontraditional degree path.

Some employers will ask for a transcript to verify a candidate’s degree, grades, and courses. 

This method is affordable, and time-efficient as most candidates can download transcripts easily. 

Hiring a third-party background-checking service

Opting for professional education verification services is the best way to confirm a candidate’s academic credentials.

These third-party providers are efficient, accurate, and compliant with applicable laws. 

Background check services are not only helpful for conducting education verification, but they can also provide other pieces of information with just one authorization form from the candidate.

Without such assistance, you may encounter legal problems and significant delays.

What Shows Up on an Education Background Check?

Whichever route the employer takes for the education background check, they only look for several crucial pieces of information about the applicant like the following:

  • Candidate’s full legal name
  • The degree that the applicant got
  • The date when the applicant acquired the degree
  • Name of the educational institution/s that the candidate attended
  • The candidate’s GPA or honors received

These pieces of information can help employers make an informed decision when hiring their next employee and ensure they get the best person for the job.

It also helps them avoid costly legal issues related to misrepresentation or fraud.

What Happens if Employers Find Out That the Applicant Lied on his Resume?

If the background check reveals discrepancies between what the applicant said on their resume or application and reality, the employer may choose not to hire them.

It’s up to the employer whether they would like to overlook this information.

Lying about having a degree is a serious issue that breaks the trust between an employer and an employee.

It can also damage the applicant’s reputation, and he may be blacklisted from other organizations. In this case, the employer will most likely decline the application.

Therefore, it is essential to practice honesty and transparency when applying for a job.

A potential employer should always verify the applicant’s credentials with professional background check services or contact the school directly for more information.

It will help ensure that an employer gets the best candidate for the job without discrepancies.

Some applicants might lie about their educational background on their resumes, which is why a background check is necessary.

However, if the employee has already been offered the position, the employer should consult legal counsel to ask for immediate next steps.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to do an education background check? 

The cost of an education background check varies depending on the information and the company offering the service. But the price ranges between $7 to $15 per search.

Do companies ask for proof of degree? 

Yes, most employers ask for proof of degrees like diplomas, transcript records, and letters of recommendation from the school.

Some employers may also require letters of recommendation from past employers or colleagues.

How long does an education background check take?

The time it will take to complete an education verification check will depend on the method.

If the company chooses the DIY and contacts each institution the applicant has claimed to have attended, the process can take a week or a month.

Hiring a background check service provider can speed up the process and complete the verification in two to four days. They already have the resources and database to deliver faster results.


An education background check uncovers a candidate’s attendance dates, majors, and degrees from high schools and colleges in the U.S. and other nations. 

It is an essential step for employers when hiring new employees. Although an education background check may cost companies a few dollars, it is worth every penny for the assurance that the candidate they are hiring is honest and qualified.

Organizations should ensure education background checks to promote trust between employers and employees. It will help them find the right person for the job, increase productivity and efficiency, and reduce legal risks.

bryan rucker
Written by Brian Williams

Brian is an expert in security, privacy, and information. He has studied background checks, criminal, people search, and such topics over the last 5 years. He is also an avid writer and enjoys sharing his knowledge through this blog. Read more of Brian's articles.