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business It's Business

Is it Better to Have a Degree or Experience in Today’s Market?

February 1, 2017

In this day and age, there’s a job for everything. You name it, and it’s most likely a position somewhere in the world. Some of these jobs are more common and stable than others. There’s also a lot of opportunities for college as well. Not just for young people but for any age in general. It’s becoming more common to hear about people holding at least a two-year degree. Sadly, though, many of these people are still not doing any better as far as a job goes simply because the degree they got did nothing in the way of providing opportunities for them. Outside of that, even if they received a degree, the area of expertise they are in will most often times call for a certain amount of experience.

My friend was a college advisor for eight years. She herself has Master’s level credits and still struggles with a career. She has found a job she will settle with but it’s not truly something she had dreamed of. She gives the best advice when it comes to handling the choice between experience and a degree. She said to focus on both. She said that, especially in this current society, you truly need both to know that you can secure a job. Many colleges, when you get up to higher levels, and sometimes even lower levels depending on the concentration, will have opportunities for you to gain experience as a part of the program. Don’t pass up those opportunities because they shine like a gold star on your resume.

Not all jobs require a degree. Not all jobs require experience. In fact, not all jobs require you to have either. However, you will often times see the clear difference between all of these. It is rare for someone to have an extremely good and high paying position in a job that doesn’t require either. This is simply the luck of the draw on those. Sadly, some of the jobs that require both can be pretty lame as well. Been there, done that. So, here’s my point. Plan ahead. Look at the area you live in and research what jobs are needed in the area, how much the average starting pay is, and what requirements you will need in order to obtain a position in one of those areas. Once you’ve done your research, start your degree and find a way to gain experience in the field along the way. Whether it’s job shadowing, interning, or a program offered with your degree, just be getting some experience in the field. Take it from my friend, you do not want to go through years of school only to find out that the advisors didn’t do their job in letting you know the opportunities involved with that degree. If you want to go to school simply because you adore the field, don’t always expect to come out with better opportunities for employment. My friend got her Bachelor’s in English because that’s what she loved. Unless she teaches K-12, her degree is worthless in the way of providing job opportunities. Sure, it looks great on a resume but it won’t get a stellar position. Hey, you might be one of the lucky ones that adores a field that has everything to offer. In that case, you’ve got it made! However, many of us need to make the decision on whether we want to have a degree in what we love without benefits, or just a degree in what we like but with all the benefits.

The job market in this day and age is cutthroat. Experience and a degree by themselves only get you so far in a position but if you truly want to excel, combining the two is a sure fire way to ensure better opportunities.

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    February 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I think a degree plus experience is the sweet spot. The only problem with that one is that it can be hard to find people who will hire you WITHOUT experience. =(

  • Reply
    Colleen Lanin
    February 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Unfortunately, people want a degree and experience. But you can’t get experience unless you get hired.

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    February 4, 2017 at 12:27 am

    These are some good points. I think getting the experience is one of the hardest things about today’s job market.

  • Reply
    Pam
    February 4, 2017 at 2:24 am

    This is an informative post. It’s definitely important for people to have experience, and degrees are invaluable.

  • Reply
    Theresa
    February 4, 2017 at 3:05 am

    That’s why I am hoping that my daughter is able to secure a good internship while she’s in college. Hopefully she’ll get the experience before getting that degree so it won’t be so difficult for her to get a good job once she is finished with college.

  • Reply
    Janell Poulette
    February 4, 2017 at 4:25 am

    You are right about the job market being very cutthroat these days. I know many people that went to school and graduated, but don’t even use their degree towards their current job. Like myself lol. But its good to do research and decide whats going to benefit you in the long run.

  • Reply
    Kassandra
    February 4, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Today’s job definitely require a degree and experience. It’s so hard to get a job without experience. Fresh graduates definitely have it rough these days.

  • Reply
    Toni | Boulder Locavore
    February 4, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Such a helpful article. I agree with you, degree and experience are two of the most important things clients are looking for. So if you have both, you are much ahead of the game.

  • Reply
    Dogvills
    February 4, 2017 at 10:42 am

    I agree that you need both experience and degree. it is not easy even if you have a degree.

  • Reply
    Annemarie LeBlanc
    February 4, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I wish all companies would practice equal opportunity employment in their hiring process. Fresh graduates of course, would not have any experience yet, but their degree, personality and eagerness to join the company should be considered. I have been telling my children about this and they did prepare by accepting apprenticeship positions in small businesses so that they acquired skills they would need in their career of choice.

  • Reply
    Rosey
    February 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I hate applying for a job that says I’m too experienced with my degree, and underexperienced wtih well…experience. Happened a lot when I first hit the job market. I am a proponent of higher education, but not in every circumstance (especially true if people are going in debt w/student loans to get a degree that really won’t benefit them more than had they not gotten one).

  • Reply
    Seattle Travel Blogger
    February 4, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Great article that spawns a good discussion debate.
    I tend to think you need both the degree and experience in today’s competitive society.
    However, thanks to this article, I can see a viewpoint from each side.

  • Reply
    Jeanine
    February 4, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Great points, and a great discussion to have. I never really thought about it before, as I am working from home right now and never really had to put much thought into whereas degrees etc are concerned!

  • Reply
    Amanda Love
    February 4, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    A degree looks good on your resume, without a doubt. But it’s also about skill and that’s where experience comes in. Combining both will definitely make you a front runner for any position that you apply for.

  • Reply
    Beeb Ashcroft
    February 4, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    This is a really tough question in today’s market. I think you made a lot of great points though. They both coincide so well together, you just have to be willing to put yourself out there.

  • Reply
    Reesa Lewandowski
    February 5, 2017 at 2:32 am

    These are some great points. It’s a topic that I struggle with I will be honest!

  • Reply
    Crystal
    February 5, 2017 at 6:02 am

    I would love to switch paths, but all of my experience is in one area. Hopefully more education will help.

  • Reply
    Kiwi
    February 7, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Yeah when I graduated college I learned first hand how hard and competitive this world was! It was brutal and when it was time for me to find another job it was so difficult I bet moreso too if you live in a big city like I did. I am so happy I am a freelancer and I would try to encourage young college grads to do some freelancing or self-seeking opportunities on the side if they are having a hard time.

  • Reply
    brianne
    February 7, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    This is such a great post and so important! We are far away from college but know it will be here before we know it!

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