Your job applicants expect to provide education information when they apply for a position with you. While most applicants are likely honest about their education level, this isn't always the case. It's important to verify academic diploma information to ensure they're qualified for the job and to protect your business legally.

Certified Diploma Copies

As part of the verification process, some employers require applicants to provide signed, sealed and certified copies of their diploma. While many schools charge a small fee for this service, the applicant typically covers this expense and hand delivers the diploma with their application. The diploma should come in a sealed envelope with an imprint of the school seal. While it's possible for people to fudge this, it's harder to fudge than a photocopy of a diploma.

Verify School Contact Information

When an applicant lists school contact information so you can verify their diploma, make sure you do a web search for the educational institution. The contact information listed online should match what you've been given. If it doesn't, use the contact information given online to get in touch with the proper party at the school and ensure you're talking with a legitimate representative.

Verify the School and Accreditation 

Schools that typically issue diplomas include high schools, technical schools, vocational schools and hospitals. It's wise to ensure that the educational institution requires a formal course of study in order to receive the diploma and isn't a diploma mill. Some schools also have accreditations and you can check on those online or by contacting the school and accrediting body.

Contact the School

When you have the proper contact information and have verified that the educational institution is legitimate, you can contact the school to verify that your job applicant received a diploma after completing a course of study. Some institutions will require you to present a signed release from the applicant and pay a small fee in order to receive this verification. The diploma verification may be mailed, faxed, emailed or given by phone, depending on the institution.

Request Academic Transcripts

Requesting sealed and certified transcripts is an excellent way of checking up on an applicant's level of knowledge and performance, especially if they're applying for a job just out of school. The transcript gives you clues about which areas of interest they're most knowledgeable in and which areas they may need additional training in. You'll see the school's requirements for receiving a diploma and ensure your job candidate is fully prepared to begin work.

Verify a GED

If an applicant earned a GED instead of a high school or professional diploma through an educational institution, you'll need to verify the GED through the Department of Education in the state where it was earned. Most states require you to provide a name, date of birth and the date of the GED exam. Once you fill out the required forms, submit them with a check to the state's Department of Education, who will get back to you with verification.

Outside Verification Services

While going through the steps to verify a diploma isn't labor intensive when you only have a few applicants, it's another story when you have hundreds or thousands of applicants. Your business can choose to utilize an outside verification agency who will do all the legwork for you. This can be expensive, but these fees could be worth finding a quality candidate.

Employment Application Fees

Almost every method of verifying education involves a fee. In some states it is legal to ask prospective employees to cover these fees themselves, but states like Iowa, Kansas and Massachusetts prohibit this practice. Hawaii prohibits application fees altogether and some states only allow them for governmental jobs but not in the private sector. Always check your local laws and statutes before charging any kind of fee during the hiring process.