People desperate for a job and some who are just plain dishonest may present false credentials, such as a college degree, to land a coveted job. Be sure you hire a competent and trustworthy candidate. Verify that the candidate has a degree, and make sure it's a valid degree.

Step 1.

Ask for a copy of the candidate's diploma and transcript. This is standard practice. Tell the candidate to order a complete transcript and have it sent directly to your office. This way you have a sealed, tamper-free record. You can also call the college registrar's office to verify the candidate's attendance.

Step 2.

Check the school's credentials. You want to hire a degree-holding professional, but if the degree is the product of a diploma mill, it's worthless. Academic agencies scrutinize legitimate colleges and universities through rigorous peer review processes and then grant accreditation only if the school meets their standards. To see a comprehensive list of accredited schools, check the Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

Step 3.

Check the program's credentials. Colleges and universities granting degrees in education should be accredited by National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or The Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), both recognized by the Department of Education.

Step 4.

Be just as cautious about candidates holding degrees from other countries. To start, research the given country's higher education accrediting procedures on its federal website. Go to its Department of Education. You may need a translator.