College Degrees Don't Always Prepare Applicants for a Job.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Vonnegut, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    College degrees don't always prepare applicants for a job. Employers demand them anyway.
    Other Pew research found that one-third of Americans who lack a four-year college degree report that they didn't apply for a job they felt they were qualified for because the position required a bachelor's degree. Obtaining a diploma doesn't alone make you more qualified.

    Washington Post
  2. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Article goes down the rabbit hole, of the purpose of education.
  3. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    There are some systems businesses use that are not proprietary to those businesses and they are used in schools to prepare workers for the real job. But you have the matter of so many companies having proprietary software that unless a partnership is inked between a company and a school as a pipeline, there is going to have to be a period of training even for the most educated of graduates.

    Now, one could make the argument that a strong collegiate education is a catalyst for new employees to learn the systems in a more timely manner than those who lack that education, and I wouldn't disagree that having a good foundation can make a big difference. Although, a counterargument could be made that future success in the position beyond the training period is a better indicator of worker quality (measuring this through criterion-related validity evidence). I say this because I've seen people train well and stink at the actual job, and I've seen people who had a tough time in training and turned out to be superstars in the actual job. The question is, as a company, is it worth the time/financial risk of training groups of people only to have a good deal of them wash out? Even though that's generally a standard practice for most call centers, that approach can't work for every type of business without it eventually having a detrimental effect on operations to some degree.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    A high school diploma doesn't prepare one for entering a particular career, why should one expect a college degree to be any different?

    Yes, some professions and occupations require specific degrees, but I'm not convinced that a college or university owes you a job when you graduate. There are many reasons to graduate from a bachelor's degree program, not just this quid pro quo people fixate on.

    It used to be quite normal for people to drop out of high school--often for very good reasons. Completing high school was considered a luxury. But our society made dropping out a sign of delinquency, so we adjusted our expectations. (This put an incredible strain on the secondary school system to deal with people that didn't belong there, but they could not get rid of.)

    A college education--an elite practice--has now become (I think because of the GI Bill) de rigueur. But most college majors don't prepare graduates for particular occupations/professions, functioning instead like the high school diploma of yore: a diploma indicating one is reasonably well educated.
  5. AlK11

    AlK11 Active Member

    I think this is very degree specific. There are degrees that specifically prepare you for a certain job. My BA in physical education prepared me to be a physical education teacher. Same could be said for someone who gets a BSN or DPT. Those prepare you for a specific job. Other degrees such as a BA in history, psychology, mathematics, etc. doesn't prepare you for any specific job. It just gives you knowledge on the subject.
  6. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    And even there I've seen some Nurses complain that the BSN didn't give them anything much useful. Some said they were already RNs, knew the job, and had to wade through a lot of fluff. That may all be subjective or isolated to certain schools, hard to say. I've heard similar things from MPTs who got their DPT. But, pressure to overeducate, get left behind, or get out is becoming real in a number of professions.
  7. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Heck, even an MD degree doesn't guarantee a residency much less a career in medicine, but I'm on the fence about how it should be handled. On the one hand, no one is guaranteed a job and that should be understood. But on the other hand, having people leave school with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt unable to get into the career they pursued that would pay them enough to cover it creates another issue.
    Graves likes this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Absolutely not! I am not sure about others; I have seen people are brilliant in academic with a 4.0 GPA. However, when it comes to job performance, they are clueless.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    I was once told that what it meant to earn a black belt in martial arts was that you now were prepared to begin to learn real skills. Similarly, my degree did not prepare me to do my specific job but it got me to the point where I could learn the real skills I needed to do my job. It is possible that someone could do most of my job without having earned an engineering degree (although it would be difficult) but there are some situations where specific skills learned in the classroom are required. If I were to switch places with another engineer in my company I might be able to fake my way through some things but for the most part I could not do their job and they could not do mine despite the fact that we both have engineering degrees.
  10. Graves

    Graves Member

    It's only a problem if the college or faculty convince students a degree has direct application with a career field. I do think this is problematic in career fields like computer science where certifications often hold more weight than degree level alone. A lot of these programs fail to offer, prepare, or give credit hours based on certs. But there's also career field overlaps people fail to consider at times. I'm well aware my M.A. in psychology won't allow me to become a practitioner by itself. But I do have a degree that allows me to do entry-level psychology research, and that could help me become a practitioner in the future. So I'm not disappointed with my choice.
  11. Graves

    Graves Member

    Because many college majors are specialized, applied, and more functional. You can't specialize in high school unless you attend a trade school, or are dual enrolled at a college. My M.A. is in general psychology. I don't expect to walk into a research facility, or assist with clinical work. But if I earn a PhD in clinical, experimental, or I/O psychology from a reputable college? (Marketability and supply/demand aside) Why wouldn't I expect to be qualified for most jobs? The only thing left is licensure, CEUs, and experience. Specialization should have meaning. Most individuals with a major that isn't general (liberal arts, general studies, social science, etc...) are likely preparing for a occupation at least somewhat related to their major. If the industries change to expect specific certs, experience, or extracurricular coursework: They need to let students know about it. Period.

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