Employment with an unaccredited degree

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by TeacherBelgium, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. innen_oda

    innen_oda Active Member

    This is, unfortunately, the weakness with many poorly designed surveys and 'market research': when there is no cost to them in doing so, the vast majority of respondents will give you a positive answer, or the answer they think you want to hear. This is a natural part of human psychology, and our nature as social animals.
    People also like to think of themselves as bias-free and divorced from mindless adherence to social norms, and so if you did indeed frame it as 'would you give them a chance?', fewer respondents are going to say no. Far nicer to think to oneself 'why yes, I am not subject to lazy thinking; I instead evaluate each opportunity and individual on its merits, even if that means risk taking! I am a brave free-thinker.'
    However, when there is a potential cost to themselves, you will find the vast majority of individuals are actually much more conservative and cautious.

    This is why so many products come to market by first-time inventors and entrepreneurs and utterly fail, leading to confusion because 'I ran surveys and everyone said they would totally buy my product - so why isn't anyone buying it?'

    In a survey, there's a social cost to saying no, or giving an answer the survey creator doesn't want to hear. In reality, there's a literal cost in buying a product/hiring a person. I think you can see where a disconnect may occur.

    Well designed market research attempts to account for this disparity. Poorly designed research ignores human psychology and instead takes the errant result as gospel and runs with it.

    Also: I spent a little bit of time in West Vlaanderen. They absolutely do not speak the same language as the Dutch. I don't care what anyone says - that was not Dutch I heard.
    Nevermind the Netherlands and Belgium not being the same country - Belgium isn't even the same country as Belgium. Strangest 'nation' (amalgamation might be a better word) I've ever visited.
    Mac Juli likes this.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It was a joke he didn't get.
  3. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    West-Vlaanderen speaks Dutch. They just have an accent.
    Same with the deep south in the states. To me that doesn't sound like English either but it's English nevertheless.
    I think I know better than someone who doesn't live here what languages are spoken in my home country.
  4. innen_oda

    innen_oda Active Member

    I'm sure you do know Dutch better, although your humour-detector could do with a bit of a tune-up. Goodness.
  5. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    Let's not derail the thread. Let's stay on topic, please.
  6. innen_oda

    innen_oda Active Member

    You responded solely to the off-topic element of my comment (which comprised, what, maybe 15% of my post?), and now you're going to have a go? Come off it.

    Happy to have a discussion about surveys, but I can only work with the content I get in return.
  7. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    This thread is going to waste by these pointless posts. Please let's get back on topic. I apologize if I offended you.
  8. innen_oda

    innen_oda Active Member


    My experience is that although the US (and to a similar degree, Canada) is quite stringent in terms of their tertiary accreditation, when it comes down to it, North America is noted for its ability in valuing hard work over and above qualifications. In both nations, as long as you are able and willing to earn good money/credos for your company, most any qualification - or lack thereof - can and will be worked around.

    By contrast, Europe seems much more focussed on requiring an explicit list of qualifications and certifications, and no amount of competency can overcome what the rules say.

    Australia is sort of a mix of the two, although it tends to lean far more towards the European approach in needing a certain specific bit of paper someone in a distant office has defined as 'necessary'.

    I'm not sure whether the accreditation aspect of higher education in the US is the counterbalance to the cultural mores, OR if the cultural mores have developed in response to the strict accreditation process, but I would suggest they are not unrelated.

    Editing to add that this is solely in relation to private enterprise. Government jobs are the same bureaucratic maze world over.
  9. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    Hmmm there is truth in your assessment of Europe but on the other hand it's too black and white to present it like that.
    Here in Europe work experience is definitely very valued.
    You can have 100s of degrees, but if you have too little work experience they will turn you down.
    It would be true that even if you have much work experience but no degrees at all, they will not give you a chance.
    But if you have for example an associate's degree and they ask a bachelor, they might work around it.
    In the first place because associate's degrees are little known here. Most employers assume it's a bachelor.
    In the US associate's degrees seem to be very popular. Here they are quite a new invention.

    So I would say that even if you have a degree under the degree that they require, if you're able to sell it well they will let you get away with it.

    I passed to the second round for a very fancy company here in Belgium and they didn't make a problem from the fact that one of my degrees was not accredited governmentally.

    They asked more questions about my knowledge of languages, about my skills, about my ability to work in teams and stuff like that.

    Then the woman who assessed my resume and had personal conversations with me said that I would start on bachelor level but that there was much ability to grow. She just thought I was too young to start on master's level.
    Contracts haven't been signed yet but I'm still thinking about going with this company.

    The only pity is that they want me to start immediately and that I am still doing an additional programme (a postgraduate diploma) but that the company doesn't really see any need for me to continue that one. I'm not going to drop out though. I paid 3000$ for it. I would have heartache if I dropped out now.

    But she never made a problem from one of my degrees not being accredited. She was more interested in me as a person, which I really liked actually. She put me at ease instantly and they were so friendly.
  10. innen_oda

    innen_oda Active Member

    This isn't really unique to Europe, and is the case in the US, Canada and Australia also. Witness all the 20-somethings graduating with two Master degrees but can't find work because they have zero tested proficiency to work in an office environment.

    I wouldn't like to say this is the case all over Europe, but certainly in many parts, if you don't have the 'right' Bachelor degree, you won't be getting the job. Have 20 years experience in HR, and an undergrad in Sociology? Sorry, but an undergrad Psych degree is required for this HR job. Rules is rules. Have a Master in I/O Psych but no Psych undergrad? Cue confusion from European as they query how on earth you can get a Master without the requisite undergrad in the same topic. And then rejection, because this job requires a Psych undergrad. Sorry.

    By contrast, in the US, where there is concern about having a tertiary qualification, it's going to be more a question of which uni you attended, and much less about what degree you got. If you went to the same school as your boss, and s/he likes you, you could have a degree in West-Chinese Bicycle Repair and you'll be hired. If you got your degree from DeVry . . . 'thank you for coming in today, it was great to meet you, but we won't be proceeding with your application. Best of luck in your search!'
  11. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    I don't know for other countries than these, but in the Netherlands and in Belgium it's more about '' being able to sell yourself well ''.
    Something they also really really put emphasis on is your presentation here.
    If you are dressed well, are hygienic, are eloquent etc that really goes a long way.
    I have sollicited for a job that required a bachelor's degree once when I didn't have any college degrees yet and they hired me because I studied Greek and Latin in high school and because they found me ''emotionally intelligent and well spoken ''.
    It likely helped that I speak three languages and that I love to write and that I'm quite passionate about everything I do.

    I worked there for a year and then stopped.

    I would say there definitely is wiggle room but you have to persevere.
    Something I see young people do often is just accept no for no.
    I'm more perseverant and will try to convince that person.
    It has often helped me open doors that I had expected to stay closed.

    Being social and seeking rapport also helps quite a lot imho.
    My sense of dressing is rather classic and old fashioned so people expect me to be formal and boring when they first see me, but then I open my mind and they experience that I'm talkative and chatty and such and then their ideas about me change and then usually we have long conversations.
    I once had a conversation with a notary that lasted 3 hours. He eventually offered me the job but I decided to decline because he expected too much for what he was willing to pay. But then next day he called me and said '' I have hesitated because you don't have the qualification that I'm looking for, but you're a pleasant person to conversate with and you seem to learn quickly so I'm willing to offer you the position ''.
    It boosted my self esteem and made me realise that selling yourself well goes a long way.
  12. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    I think a more interesting question would be this; if you had a job where the requirements were 2 years of experience and a degree, and a candidate submitted a resume which showed 2 years of experience and an unaccredited degree, would they be considered to have met the requirements for the position?

    Of course requirements may be waived but if they are not, I don't think an unaccredited degree would be considered a "legitimate" degree and make it through HR. In Canada, for example, if you presented a degree from an "unknown" institution it would be vetted. If it didn't pass muster (e.g. regional accreditation, etc.), it would be headed for the trash.
    innen_oda likes this.
  13. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    Never experienced that problem here in Belgium. I'm aware that the Anglo-Saxon world is much more severe when it comes to hiring.
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yep - it is. When my ancestor, Serfric, a Saxon, came over on a day-raid from Bremen, in 554 C.E. he stayed, even though all he could get, with his qualifications, was farm work. Most of his descendants did that, right through the Norman conquest - until the 1500s, in fact. Then King Henry VIII bought a couple of coal mines in Somerset. (He actually did own coal mines there - you can look it up.) Then they mostly worked there until the 20th century. That changed everything! :)
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    This is mostly BS of course, (but you knew that, right?) but I was actually born in Somerset - that and Henry VIII's mines are about the only true parts. And yes - at least a couple of my ancestors did work in Somerset's coal mines. All coal mines there are now closed.

    Another strange-but true story of my Somerset family (I was unaware of any details about them until I was over 70) is that in the 19th century, no less than three of my direct ancestors were transported to the colonies (Australia & Tasmania) for the same type of crime: donkey-stealing. Strange things run in families. However, I've never had the urge to steal one. Don't really like the creatures. :)
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  16. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    Somerset, isn't that the English city from Midsummer Murders?
    I loveeeed that series by the way :)
    Johann likes this.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Help us clarify something from the Belgian perspective. When we say "unaccredited" in the US, it really means from an unrecognized institution. But in the rest of the world, it is central governments who do the recognizing. So....

    If a person had a degree from, say, Knightsbridge University, a once-living operation that had no recognized accreditation nor approval by any central government as a university, would such a person be able to use that degree successfully for employment purposes where you live?
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I loved it, too. Great series. Somerset is a large-ish county in the SouthWest of England. Midsomer is a totally fictional English county. The series was set in the fictional town of Causton. I don't quite get why the author had, or chose to use a fictional county.

    Somerset is a really beautiful place. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  19. TeacherBelgium

    TeacherBelgium Active Member

    If the institution was state authorized to award degrees, they would be able to use the degree if it was legalised in the country it was awarded in.
    State authorized but not accredited would be accepted for employment purposes here. The criterion that would really be decisive would be if the institution has legal authority to grant degrees.
    Whether the federal government formally accredited the degree would matter less if you were seeking employment in the private sector. In the public sector they would look in the chea database to see if it is accredited or not.

    Some diploma's are not up for evaluation because said qualification does not exist in Belgium. Like the English vocational degrees for example. So NARIC would refuse to evaluate let's say a level 7 diploma in International Business, even though it is mentioned on Ofqual's website.
    Employers however wouldn't care that much for an equivalency examination. They would accept it on their own conditions.
    So it is possible that even though you can't provide an equivalency for the degree, that they would still accept it on their own judgment.

    To work as a paralegal here for example, they often ask a bachelor in law practice. However, if you were to solicit with an associate's degree in legal administrative support, which is a shorter qualification, they would also accept it providing that you can sell yourself and your competences well. They wouldn't pay you less either. You would get paid on bachelor's level.

    The good thing is that associate's degrees here are not really well known. It's a typically American concept. Here in Belgium associate's degrees are less well known. So most employers accept it as a bachelor.

    It also depends on the culture of the company. Companies with a stringent, old fashioned culture will be more conservative. However, companies with a newer and more innovative mindset will look much further than degrees.

    I have known people to get into positions that require a bachelor's at minimum, while they only possess a high school diploma.
    A guy I work with at my internship work place only has a high school diploma and he has recently been hired for a position with the NATO.
    He meets ambassadors etc.
    They selected him because he engages himself in politics.
    Political activity here is also highly valued. It counts for as much as a degree. If you engage in local or more national politics, you will definitely have a step ahead of other candidates.
    Work experience here is much much more valued than degrees.
    Generally they will bat an eye at you if you are let's say 25 and are still studying. Here they expect you to be done with studies once you are let's say 22-23 years old. I'm 24 and I already have explanations to give when I apply for a job.

    It has also to do with the fact that education here is not expensive.
    When it's your first degree, you pay 800 euros tuition fees for a school year and about 500 euros in books.
    People with household income less than 25000 euros also get a scholarship from the government and reduced tuition fees.
    Student loans here are unheard of.
    An MBA with triple crown accreditation here can be had for 30000 dollars.
    Vlerick Business School is our most famous business school here.
    The best university here is KU Leuven. It's in the world's top 25 for its law school programmes.
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    When you say "State authorized," which "state" do you mean? That term in the US means one of the 50 states. This is the legal minimum to operate--we don't have a central authority to determine that. This is why we have accreditation--self-regulation of colleges and universities. State authorization is merely a business licenses. (Although some states have very stringent requirements to get that license.) It is NOT what recognizes a university in the US. Accreditation does.

    But if you mean "State authorized" as "the state"--meaning the central government, that's different. Again, we don't have that in the US.

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