Career Development & Placement Center
Northern State University
Student Center 240
1200 South Jay Street Aberdeen SD 57401
Q & A:
What is a Credential File? Your Credential File is database information containing your career objective, educational background, work or volunteer experience, desired work locations, letters of recommendation, and student teacher evaluations. This file is part of your educational record and is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privileges Act. You may view your own file, and it is normally sent only to school employers who are considering you for employment in a given system. This information is confidential and is not to be shared with anyone else for any other reason.
What are the benefits of having a Credential File? A Credential File is an essential component of your job search in education. Having your file submitted to a school system is generally a required part of applying to teach. In addition, a credential file is a secure location for your evaluations and recommendations, allows our office to refer your name and background information to employers, ensures that you have all the information you need to begin a job search, and links you to up-to-date resources to prepare you for this process.
What is the cost? The cost has remained unchanged for several years, and covers the expense of storing materials and mailing your credentials to employers. Costs are assessed for one recruitment year (September 1 through August 31).
Current students: $20 to open your file and have it sent to 5 employers during one recruiting year
Additional sets (after above 5): $3 per set, payable at the time of request
Alumni: $30 for the above package of services
Mailing the Vacancy Listing (free on-line): $20 per recruitment year to registered candidates
Faxing credentials to an approved employer: $10
How long is my file active or maintained? Files are active for one recruiting year (September 1 through August 31, or the remaining portion thereof), OR until you accept a position, whichever comes first. Files are stored in the Career Development & Placement Center for five (5) years from the LAST DATE OF ACTIVITY, then deleted. Student Teacher evaluations are stored for 20 years.
Please notify our office when you accept a position. This is necessary for two reasons: employment ethics requires that you stop looking for positions when you accept one and that we stop sending your materials when you accept a position, and we are obligated to report placement statistics each year for all graduating students.
What about letters of recommendation? Ask for letters to be written on the forms provided here or on institutional letterhead, making sure your name is on the recommendation form. Only names listed on your registration form will be included in your file. The maximum number of recommendations is 5. Candidates normally need only 3 when applying for positions. Student Teacher Evaluations are not considered as part of your 5 written recommendations.
May I add or delete recommendations? Yes. You can add a name by requesting in writing or indicating on a reactivation form. Keep in mind that your total number allowed is 5. Alumni who have not paid the annual fee can add recommendations for $3.00 each. You can delete a name by requesting in writing or indicating on the reactivation form, and that letter will be permanently removed. It is strongly recommended that your Student Teacher Evaluation not be removed from your file. In addition, writers may ask that their letters be removed from a file by contacting our office. When this happens, we notify the student or alumnus that this has occurred.
May I see my recommendations? Yes. Review your recommendations or evaluations by stopping in the Career Development & Placement Center weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. You may not receive copies of the file materials, as that would jeopardize the security of the system.
What if I apply to a district that uses one envelope for all application materials? A few districts have gone to this policy. If you do apply to one of these out-of-state districts, you simply need to plan ahead and allow enough time to bring it in so we can add the sealed materials to your envelope of completed materials and mail it. Postage costs can be reimbursed exactly if you call a day ahead to arrange that, or you can pay a flat fee of $3.
Are my resume and transcripts included in my file? No. The file contains a data sheet, courses completed, recommendations, and Student Teacher Evaluations. Transcripts must be obtained from the Registrar. Normally, applicants send an unofficial (and often incomplete) copy of their transcripts when they apply, and purchase an official copy only when hired.
How and when should I send my file to potential employers? When the file is complete, fill out a Credential Request Form, available in the Career Development & Placement Center, or telephone our office at 605-626-2372. Credentials are processed within 24-hours. Do not wait until an interview is scheduled, thinking you will hand-carry your file. If caught in a tight time crunch, be prepared to spend $10 to have the file faxed to the interviewer. The best approach is to have your file sent when you apply to a specific teaching or coaching position in a given system. Normally, your application file in a system is complete only when you have submitted your letter, resume, district application form, file, and transcript. Do not have your file sent when sending letters of inquiry, as this could be quite costly.
How many files may I send? How much will this cost me? You may send your file as often as needed. Your initial fee covers the first 5 mailings of credentials. Additional mailings will be sent at a cost of $3 each. Faxing your file to a district office costs $10. Occasionally (for hard-to-fill positions), a district will contact us to have a file sent--there is not charge to you in such cases. Your file must be active/paid to have your credentials sent.
How do I make changes in my file? You may change information at the Career Development & Placement Center in the NSU Student Center, Room 217. Alumni may call to arrange necessary changes or updates. Once changes are made, please review your file's contents. Be sure to keep your name, address, and phone information current - it's your responsibility.
How do I learn of vacancies? The Vacancy Listing is a listing of jobs that we generate at the Career Development & Placement Center. The Vacancy Listing is available online at no charge. If you do not have access to the Internet and need to have the Vacancy Listing mailed, you must let us know and pay the $20 fee to cover postage.