Guide to the National Career Readiness Certificate | Albert Resources (2024)

As the job market evolves, showing workplace skills becomes increasingly important for young adults. The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)™, administered by ACT®, verifies these skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and applied math. This comprehensive guide explores the significance of the NCRC and ACT® WorkKeys assessments. In this post, we’ll outline how to boost career advancement and prepare for a successful professional life. If you’re getting ready to enter the workforce, understanding the NCRC is critical to achieving your career goals.

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Understanding the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)

What is the National Career Readiness Certificate?

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) demonstrates an individual’s capability in essential workplace skills. Administered by ACT®, the NCRC measures skills critical to job success across industries and positions. These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, reading comprehension, and applied math. Importantly, the certificate is a reliable indicator to employers that a potential employee has the necessary skills to perform various duties.

Guide to the National Career Readiness Certificate | Albert Resources (1)

How It Benefits Young Adults in the Workforce

Here are several ways the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) can boost a young professional’s career prospects:

  • More Job Opportunities: Primarily, many employers value the NCRC as evidence of key skills. This can lead to more job openings, especially for roles that require specific skills upfront.
  • Improved Job Readiness: Secondly, the NCRC helps young adults understand what skills they need to excel at work. This understanding makes them stand out as candidates and increases their confidence in their job performance.
  • Potential for Higher Earnings: Additionally, research indicates that having an NCRC might lead to better starting pay. Employers trust the NCRC and often prefer to hire certified workers.
  • Career Development: Moreover, getting the NCRC can help young adults advance in their careers. It boosts their resumes and promotes ongoing learning and skill improvement, key for long-term success.
  • Widely Recognized: The NCRC is acknowledged nationwide, allowing young professionals to seek jobs across various states and industries without having to prove their skills again.

Obtaining the NCRC shows commitment to professional development and readiness to tackle modern workforce challenges.

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Overview of ACT® WorkKeys Assessments

What Are ACT® WorkKeys?

ACT® WorkKeys is a series of tests that help employers choose, train, and keep effective employees. Specifically, it evaluates basic and more complex job skills, offering a standardized method to measure and compare these skills nationwide. The tests are crucial for earning the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), which shows an understanding of key workplace abilities.

How ACT® WorkKeys Are Related to the NCRC?

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The NCRC is given to those who excel in three key ACT® WorkKeys tests: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. These assessments check a person’s ability to handle common job tasks. Passing these tests earns the NCRC, proving a person has the necessary skills for various jobs.

Types of Skills and Abilities Assessed by ACT® WorkKeys

  • Applied Math: This test looks at how well a candidate can use math to solve practical problems, like figuring out order costs, margins, or product output.
  • Graphic Literacy: This test measures the ability to interpret and use information from visuals, such as charts, graphs, and blueprints.
  • Workplace Documents: This test evaluates how well someone can understand and use written materials in the workplace, like emails, memos, and instructions

These tests determine if a job candidate is ready and suitable for jobs that demand high performance. They provide a trusted measure of the skills that employers consider important for success in professional roles. Doing well on the ACT® WorkKeys assessments helps get the NCRC and boosts job prospects in various fields.

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Preparing for the NCRC Test

Preparing for the NCRC test involves understanding and enhancing core skills that are essential in today’s workforce. Here are some tips and strategies to help you effectively prepare for the exam:

Tips and Strategies to Prepare for the NCRC Test

  • Understand the Format: First, familiarize yourself with the layout and types of questions on the ACT® WorkKeys assessments through the official ACT® website. Knowing this can help alleviate test-day anxiety and improve your approach to tackling questions.
  • Review Key Concepts: Next, concentrate on the core assessment areas of Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. Additionally, online resources for math and reading comprehension can be used to strengthen these skills.
  • Take Practice Tests: Furthermore, find practice tests with resources like Albert that mimic the ACT® WorkKeys format. Regular practice with these tests will not only familiarize you with the exam structure but also pinpoint areas where you need more focus.
  • Study Groups and Tutoring: You should also participate in or form study groups with peers who are also preparing for the NCRC. Tools like Discord can facilitate virtual study sessions if in-person meetings are not feasible. Additionally, consider finding tutors who specialize in areas you find challenging.
  • Set a Study Schedule: Finally, use scheduling tools like Google Calendar or apps like My Study Life to organize and stick to a consistent study plan. These tools can help you manage your time effectively, ensuring you cover all necessary material without the stress of last-minute cramming.
Guide to the National Career Readiness Certificate | Albert Resources (3)

Ready to boost your ACT® WorkKeys scores? Explore our plans here!

NCRC Practice Test – Your Path to Success

Taking NCRC practice tests is a crucial step in your preparation strategy. Here’s how they can benefit you and where to find quality practice tests:

How Taking NCRC Practice Tests Can Benefit Test-Takers

  1. Familiarity with Test Format: Practice tests give you a feel for the timing and pressure of the real exam, reducing test-day anxiety.
  2. Identification of Weak Areas: Regular practice helps pinpoint areas where you need more study, allowing you to focus your preparation effectively.
  3. Improvement in Speed and Accuracy: Continuous practice enhances your ability to answer questions quickly and accurately, which is critical under timed test conditions.

Resources for Finding Quality Practice Tests

  • Official ACT® WorkKeys Practice Tests: The best way to prepare is to use the official practice tests offered by ACT®. These are designed to mirror the actual exam in both format and difficulty.
  • Educational Websites: Websites like Albert provide resources for mastering Applied Math, Workplace Documents, and Graphic Literacy.
  • Local Community Colleges: Additionally, many community colleges offer preparation courses for the NCRC, which include practice tests as part of the curriculum.
  • Library Resources: Lastly, you should check your local library for study guides and practice test materials that can be used for free.

By integrating these strategies and resources into your preparation, you can ensure that you are well-prepared to succeed on the NCRC test and confidently move forward in your career.

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Interpreting Your WorkKeys Scores

Knowing your ACT® WorkKeys scores is key to understanding how well you might do in the workplace and for earning your National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Here’s a simple guide to these scores and why employers find them valuable.

Understanding WorkKeys Scores and What They Mean for NCRC

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WorkKeys has three main tests—Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. Each test scores from less than 3 to 7. A score below 3 means you haven’t met the minimum skill level needed. The NCRC is granted based on your lowest score in these tests:

  • Bronze: Scores of at least 3 in each area, showing skills needed for about 16% of jobs.
  • Silver: Scores of at least 4, covering about 67% of jobs.
  • Gold: Scores of at least 5, suitable for about 93% of jobs.
  • Platinum: Scores of at least 6, qualifying you for 99% of jobs.

How Employers View and Use These Scores

Employers look at WorkKeys scores to help them hire. Higher scores can set you apart in a tough job market because they:

  • Show Skill Levels: They prove your abilities in critical areas like math, reading graphs, and understanding instructions.
  • Cut Training Costs: Higher scores suggest you might need less training, saving employers money.
  • Boost Retention: Matching the right people with the right jobs means employees are happier and stay longer.

How Can I Prep for the National Career Readiness Certificate?

Altogether, earning the NCRC through the ACT® WorkKeys assessments is a smart move for your career. Here’s how you can prepare effectively and make the most of this opportunity:

  1. Learn About the Tests: Get to know the format of each ACT® WorkKeys test.
  2. Practice: Focus your study efforts and practice specifically for these tests.
  3. Use Good Study Materials: Find the best resources to help you prepare.

Employers really value the NCRC because it shows you have important job skills. This makes the NCRC a great addition to your resume. By preparing well and understanding your scores, the NCRC can lead to better job offers, higher pay, and ongoing career growth. Put in the effort, understand the scores, and use them to your advantage. Start your NCRC journey as a key part of your career development.

Need help preparing for ACT® WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate?

Albert has hundreds of ACT® WorkKeys practice questions and full-length practice tests to try out.

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Guide to the National Career Readiness Certificate | Albert Resources (2024)


Is the NCRC test hard? ›

This Assessment measures the critical thinking, mathematical and logical reasoning, and problem-solving techniques for circ*mstances actually occurring in today's workplace. There are in total five levels of difficulty. Level 3 is the least complex among the rest of the levels, and Level 7 is the most complex.

What percentage of people get gold on WorkKeys? ›

Skill Level and Its Relationship to Jobs

Platinum Level Signifies an individual has scored at least a Level 6 on each of the three assessments and has the necessary skills for 99% of the jobs in the WorkKeys Job Pro database. Only 19% of individuals who earn an NCRC credential qualify at the Gold level or higher.

How to pass a WorkKeys test? ›

Eliminate as many incorrect answers as you can, then make an educated guess from the remaining answers. Answer every question. Your score on the WorkKeys tests will be based on the number of questions that you answer correctly; there is no penalty for guessing.

How many people get platinum on the NCRC? ›

5 Seven percent of the sample did not earn a WorkKeys NCRC, 21% earned a Bronze NCRC, 30% earned a Silver NCRC, 25% earned a Gold NCRC, and 17% earned a Platinum NCRC. 6 The average ACT Composite score for the sample was 20.2 with a standard deviation of 5.2.

What is a good score on the NCRC? ›

Students who score a 3 or higher on each assessment earn the NCRC, which is valuable documentation of their skills. Certificate levels are bronze (scores of 3), silver (4), gold (5) or platinum (6+). The highest score is 7.

How long does the NCRC test take? ›

How long will the testing take? It will take 1 hr. for one test, an hour and 45 min. for two tests, and two hours and 45 min.

Can you take a WorkKeys test online at home? ›

WorkKeys tests are computer-based (online testing) and each test takes 55 minutes to complete. You do not need to take them all on the same day.

Do you get a formula sheet on the WorkKeys test? ›

You should have a calculator and an Applied Math Formula Sheet to use for this test. You may use them for any problems you choose. The formula sheet can be found at the beginning of this test and may be torn out for easier use.

What is a passing score for WorkKeys? ›

The ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) is an official document that confirms you have the skills needed in the workplace. To receive the NCRC, you need a level score of at least 3 on the Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents sections of the assessment.

Should I put ACT WorkKeys on my resume? ›

Show off your skills

Put your WorkKeys score results and NCRC on your resume, on your application to a community college or technical school, or present your NCRC at a job interview to show the employer that you have the skills needed for the job.

Do colleges care about ACT WorkKeys? ›

In fact, if a student wants to use their WorkKeys scores as part of a college application, they must specifically site the credential on their application. WorkKeys scores can ONLY help the student. Scores will not hurt the student in any way, regardless of their performance on the assessment.

Can you use a calculator on an NCRc test? ›

Applied Math

While individuals may use calculators and conversion tables to help with the problems on the assessment, math skills are still needed to think them through. Get more information about what to expect on the Applied Math assessment.

What does the NCRC test consist of? ›

In order to earn the NCRC, three WorkKeys Assessments in Applied Math, Workplace Documents, and Graphic Literacy must be completed. These assessments measure a range of important workforce development skills, including the ability to: Complete basic mathematic operations pertinent to the workplace.

What level do you need to score in order to receive a NCRC? ›

To achieve an NCRC, an examinee must score a minimum of Level 3 on all three assessments.

How hard is the WorkKeys test? ›

The WorkKeys Test measures critical job-related skills and is designed to be challenging. However, it is possible to do well on the test. With the right preparation and practice, anyone can improve their skills and achieve a good score on the exam.

Is NCRC reliable? ›

The NCRC is based on highly reliable standardized assessments that have been used by thousands of employers across the nation since they became available nearly two decades ago.

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