Find the best Certification Tracking Software

What is certification tracking software?

Certification tracking software helps you create, manage and track your employees' certificates. For instance, a medical practice requires its employees to complete different certifications throughout their careers. The practice can then use the software as an online repository to store and manage employee certifications.
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Accord LMS

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bxp software

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Buyers Guide

Last Updated: November 23, 2022

Finding employees with the right skill set is a struggle for many small and midsize businesses (SMBs). In a 2017 Software Advice survey1, SMBs revealed that hiring the right people was their top business constraint.

To overcome the challenge of hiring employees who lack skills and industry knowledge, businesses of all sizes use online training programs to bring new hires up-to-speed on industry best practices. But a key challenge of online training programs, whether delivered in-house or via third-party training firms, is the notoriously low completion rates.

One way SMBs can dissuade employees from abandoning online training programs is by making certification mandatory. They can do this and track course completions with the help of certification tracking software (CTS).

These tools are especially important in specialty industries, such as construction or health care, where employee certification is necessary to meet compliance requirements.

There are many CTS tools to choose from that offer a variety of features. The right tool for your business depends on whether you want to just manage employee certification or create training courses using learning management systems (LMS).

We created this Buyer's Guide to help you understand the core capabilities and use cases of certification tracking software. Use this report as a starting point to analyze and compare different CTS systems and make an informed purchase.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Certification Tracking Software?
Common Features of Certification Tracking Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations

What Is Certification Tracking Software?


Certification tracking software helps you create, manage and track your employees' certificates. For instance, a medical practice requires its employees to complete different certifications throughout their careers. The practice can then use the software as an online repository to store and manage employee certifications.

Along with tracking employee course completion rates, these tools help you set up automatic certificate expiry alerts. These alerts remind employees to retake certain training programs.

Talentguard certification tracking dashboard

Certification tracking dashboard in TalentGuard (Source)

An important caveat is that CTS solutions are different from compliance management systems. CTS solutions are part of the larger LMS category, and they let you track certificates related to employee training programs. Compliance management systems are more specific to meeting compliance requirements regarding your corporate ethics policies, partner policies and other business-related policies.

Common Features of Certification Tracking Software

Certification tracking helps you assess whether employees have successfully completed the training and make a correct analysis of their current skill sets.

Here's a look at the key features found in CTS solutions:

Certificate creation Create new certificates using built-in templates or edit existing ones before issuing them to employees.
Document management Upload, store and retrieve employee details and digital copies of their certificates.
Compliance reporting View the status of employee certification and set automated reminders for recertification.
Self-service portal Allow employees to upload their certificates and notify their managers/HR team/trainers to approve the certificates.
Certification roadmap Build workflows to help employees understand the training certifications they need to complete in order to advance their careers.
Online workspaces Communicate and interact with employees via online discussion boards.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Certification tracking software has two primary buyer types—those whose priority is compliance management and those whose priority is creating training certification programs for their employees.

Here's a quick look at the two buyer types and their primary concerns:

Buyers primarily looking for compliance management. If you fall into this category, you're mostly interested in maintaining a detailed record of employee certifications for compliance requirements. Therefore, you should look for a best-of-breed tool that offers specific functionalities such as the ability to track details and certifications of the entire workforce, which may be spread across multiple locations.

An important feature for these buyers is a self-service portal, which lets employees submit their certificates for management's approval. The automated notifications feature that sends certification expiry reminders to employees is a must-have functionality for such buyers.

Buyers that need to create employee certification training programs. If you fall into this category, you not only want compliance management functionalities, but also the ability to create training programs. In other words, you want a full LMS with built-in certification tracking capabilities.

You most likely want the ability to administer training to employees and follow it up with course certification. For that reason, you'll need the whole gamut of LMS capabilities such as course authoring, learner progress tracking, a content management system, virtual classroom and quizzing/testing features.

Key Considerations

Certification tracking software can augment your organization's learning and development programs. The right tool for you depends on your industry, organization size and software budget. Therefore, you need to keep all these factors in mind when you decide to purchase a CTS solution.

Let's take a closer look at these considerations:

  • Industry. Universities, schools and independent learning centers need CTS to create and issue certificates to their learners. But if your educational institution offers distance learning courses, then you'd be better off buying an online course platform that offers a built-in or third-party integration with certification tracking software. That way, you don't have to buy a course authoring platform, which you'll invariably need to create and offer online courses to your distance learners. Thus, CTS solutions will benefit businesses that just need to be compliant with standards. But if training and development is a top priority for you, opt for an LMS that offers certification tracking as a built-in functionality.
  • Integrations. Though available as stand-alone solutions, certification tracking systems are part of the LMS market. And LMS software is part of the human resource software market. That's why CTS solutions should offer open APIs or third-party integrations with tools used by your HR department, such as employee goal setting software and performance management software. The integrations allow your HR staff to seamlessly export and import employee details from different systems, saving them the hassle of doing it manually. You should also check for integrations with other tools such as ERP and compliance management software.
  • Pricing. The pricing of certification tracking software depends on whether you choose a cloud-based or on-premise solution. Cloud-based tools have a subscription-based pricing model, where you pay a monthly or annual fee. This makes it an ideal, short-term choice for businesses with a limited software budget. On the other hand, on-premise solution vendors usually require an upfront, one-time license fee, which could be expensive for small businesses. When you're calculating the total software cost, check whether the vendor charges extra for priority phone support or adding new users to the system.

1Information on Software Advice's survey on technology trends:

Gartner conducted this survey in April and May 2017 among 699 U.S.-based SMBs with more than 10 employees and annual revenue of less than $100 million. The survey excluded nonprofit organizations. The qualified respondents are decision-makers or have significant influence on the decisions related to purchasing technologies for their organization.