Excessive Credentialing Wastes Talent, Limits Opportunity

We, as a society, think university-granted degrees are more valuable than they actually are. Consequently, college degrees are often demanded to qualify for a job when degrees are not necessary. A degree might even cause us to think someone is qualified when they are anything but.

While I was in graduate school, two tenured economics professors vehemently argued to me that United States silver coins had never actually consisted of the element, silver. Actually, prior to 1965, they were 90 percent silver. I’d already had doubts about the true value of an advanced degree, but that discussion put my doubts into overdrive.

Many state jobs require a college degree for one to be hired, but could be filled by individuals with relevant experience but who have no degree. The 1889 Institute identified several state agency openings that unnecessarily required college degrees. Organizational skills can be obtained in a number of ways without college. Many state information technology positions require college degrees, but IT experience and certifications produce well-qualified candidates.

We require teachers in prekindergarten and kindergarten to have bachelor’s degrees to be certified, even though mastery of the material should have happened by 5th grade. Shouldn’t a properly structured associate’s degree be enough?







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