Montana State University
Career, Internship
& Student Employment Services

Montana State University
177 Strand Union Bldg.
P.O. Box 174180
Bozeman, MT 59717-4180

Tel: (406) 994-4353
Toll-Free: 877-777-8489
Fax: (406) 994-5488
careers@montana.edu

Credential File Set-Up Information

What is a credential file?

A credential file is a packet of background information that is sent to prospective teaching employers when a teaching candidate is applying for a position. Credential files provide a professional, convenient, and dependable system to aid in the job application process.

Who should set up a credential file?

Anyone seeking a teaching position ranging from kindergarten to high school should set up a credential file.

When should someone set up a credential file?

All students in the field of education should set up a file before graduation.

What goes in a credential file?

All of these forms must be typed, and each form listed is a link to a downloadable document:
Personal Data Sheet
Summary of Collegiate Work
Summary of Undergraduate Record
Summary of Graduate Record (only if the teaching candidate has attended graduate school)
Letters of Recommendation
Transcripts

How to complete the forms:

Personal Data Sheet:

  • Use your full and legal name.
  • In the sections for education and work experience, start with the most recent at the top and finish with the oldest at the bottom.

Summary of Collegiate Work:

  • You must put all classes in either semester credits OR quarter credits. You cannot use both types of credits when filling out the sheet. To convert semester to quarter credits, multiply by 1.5. To convert quarter to semester credits, divide by 1.5.
  • Give the total number of credits you have earned in the course of your college career.
  • Include all credits you will have completed by graduation.
  • In the graduate credits column, only list graduate level credits. All credit work numbered below 500 should be entered in the undergraduate column.
  • In the section for scholastic distinctions, activities, etc., list the most important awards or distinctions first. This section may be as simple or elaborate as you desire.

Summary of Undergraduate Record:

  • Do not list all of your undergraduate classes.
  • List only those courses which support your major, minor, or endorsement.
    • For education majors: List all classes pertaining to your undergraduate level educational coursework in the left-hand column. Include all courses that will be completed by graduation.
    • For other majors: List all classes that that were a part of your major in the left-hand column. Include all courses that will be completed by graduation.
    • In the right-hand column, list all classes pertaining to an area of concentration, a minor, or any professional coursework.  Include all courses that will be completed by graduation.
  • All courses should be alphabetized according to rubric (Art, Engl, Math, Psy, etc.) and listed in ascending numerical order within each rubric (Art320, Eng121, Eng123, Math181, Math182, Psy101).

Summary of Graduate Record:

  • This page is to be used only by persons receiving a graduate degree
  • Do not list all of your graduate classes.
  • List only those courses which support your major, minor, or endorsement.
    • List only graduate level courses on this page (500 level or above) unless an undergraduate course has been accepted as part of your graduate degree program.
    • For those receiving a graduate degree in education, list all classes pertaining to your graduate level educational coursework in the left-hand column.  Include all courses that will be taken by graduation.
    • For other graduate degrees: List all classes that were a contributed to this degree in the left-hand column.  Include all courses that will be taken by graduation.
    • In the right-hand column, you may list all classes pertaining to an area of concentration, a minor, or any professional coursework.  Include all courses that will be taken by graduation.
    • All courses should be alphabetized according to rubric (Art, Engl, M, Psy, etc.) and listed in ascending numerical order within each rubric. (Art101, Art103, Eng121, Eng123, M181, M182, Psy101).


See an Example of Completed Forms

What other forms need to be completed to set up a credential file?

These forms do not go into your credential file.  However, they are necessary paperwork.
New Graduate (You only need to fill out the top half of this document, and it must be typed. This document also requires your signature.)
Checklist
Recommendation Form
Authorization/Release (This document requires your signature)

What is NOT in a credential file?

You must send these documents to your potential employer on your own:
Resumes
Teacher evaluations

What to do once you have completed the forms:

Step 1: Return the forms to the Career, Internship & Student Employment Services Office.  To return the forms, you may do one of the following:

  • Walk into our office and drop off the forms.  Our office is located in the basement of the Strand Union Building in room 177, next to the Bobcat Grill and across from the SUB Rec Center.
    OR
  • Mail the forms to:
    Montana State University
    Career, Internship & Student Employment Services
    177 Strand Union Building
    Bozeman, MT 59717
    OR
  • Email the forms to: credentialfile@montana.edu

Your forms can be either a PDF or Word document.

Step 2: Pay $30.00 to activate your credential file.  You can stop by our office and pay in person,   you can mail in a check, or you can pay with a card over the phone.  We accept VISA, Discover, and MasterCard.  Once you have paid, your file will be activated and will remain active for one year.  A file must be active before it can be sent out to your prospective employers.  We can send out ten credential files within the year of activation.  If you wish to send out more than ten files, see the list of fees below. Once activated, your file will be retained by Career, Internship & Student Employment Services.  You may update your file free of charge at any time while it is active.

           What does updating your file mean?

  • Making changes to your personal data sheet (changing your address, your phone number, your employment history, etc.)
  • Adding classes to your summary of collegiate work
  • Adding classes to your summary of undergraduate record
  • Adding classes to your summary of graduate record
  • Adding or deleting letters of recommendation
  • Adding transcripts

            Please note:

  • At the end of the year, when your credential file activation period ends, you may re-activate your file.  The cost of re-activating a file is $20.00.  If the re-activation fee is paid, we will keep your file active for another year and we can send out five more credential files during that year. 
  • Credential files will be destroyed twenty years after being set up if they have not been used within the past ten years.

Step 3: Submit your letters of recommendation
To submit your letters of recommendation, you must fill out your recommendation form.  On the form, you must choose to do one of the following:

  • Ask our office to send recommendation requests to the people you want recommendations from.  You will need to give us either their street address or their email address.  Once they have received the recommendation form, they will need to fill out the form and send it back to our office.
  • Ask the people you want recommendations from to send letters directly to our office.  These letters must come directly from the authors of the letters to our office.  These letters should be written on paper with professional letterhead if possible.  They can email their letter to credentialfile@montana.edu or they can mail their letter to:

Montana State University
Career, Internship & Student Employment Services
177 Strand Union Building
Bozeman, MT 59717

ALL RECOMMENDATIONS (FORMS OR LETTERS) MUST COME DIRECTLY TO CAREER, INTERNSHIP & STUDENT EMPLOYMENT SERVICES FROM THE AUTHORS OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS.  THEY CANNOT BE SENT TO OUR OFFICE FROM YOU OR FROM ANYONE OTHER THAN THE AUTHORS.

How many recommendations should you put in your credential file?
This depends on who is writing your recommendations.
The recommended number of recommendations to put in your file:

  • Recommendations from teachers with less than two years of experience: 5 letters
  • Recommendations from teachers with two or more years of experience OR a Master’s Degree: 8 letters
  • Recommendations from administrators OR teachers with a Doctorate Degree: 10 letters

Please note:

  • You must check periodically with our office to see if your recommendations have been received. Our office will NOT contact you to let you know when we have received your recommendations.
  • Requests for recommendations to be deleted must be in WRITING.  All deleted recommendations will be destroyed.

Step 4: Submit your transcripts
To submit your transcript from MSU, please ask the Office of the Registrar to send us your transcript.  If you have attended multiple colleges, please ask them to submit your transcripts as well.


Please note: Once your transcripts are in your credential file, they are no longer official.  If the school you are applying to requires an official transcript, you must ask the registrar’s office to send them a copy of your official transcript directly.  That is not a service that our office provides.

Step 5: Let us know what schools you would like your credential file sent to.  At your request, we will mail your credential files to graduate schools, school officials, or other potential employers. Files will be mailed as soon as possible, always within 3 working days. Requests are processed in the order we receive them.
            To have your file sent, either call our office at 406.994.4353 or email our office at credentialfile@montana.edu.  Please include:

  • Your name
  • Your current address
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address
  • Your graduation date
  • The address of your potential employer including the name of the school and any specific person, such as a superintendent or personnel clerk, to whom you want the credential file addressed

 
Please note:

  • If you wish to have your credential file sent with Federal Express, there is an additional fee.
  • We will send as many copies of your file as you request. You will be notified if you have an unpaid balance. Please keep us informed of your current address and phone number.
Payments and Fees
File set-up, activate, and send 10 credential files: $30
File re-activate and send 5 credential files: $20
Each additional credential file: $3.50
FedEx  (you must include the phone number and  Depends on where file is being sent
street address for where you want the file
sent)
Rush $15 additional
     
Fax Rates USA  $1.00/page
International  $3.00/page
Local & 800 #s $0.50/page
Incoming fax $0.20/page

 

Educator Supply & Demand
in the United States

Research from the American Association for Employment in Education

List of All Forms:

New Graduate
Checklist
Authorization/Release
Recommendation Request
Personal Data Sheet
Summary of Collegiate Work
Summary of Undergraduate Record
Summary of Graduate Record
Examples of completed forms