Job Experience Vs. Higher Education

A post from the archives…

I had just come home from a long day at work at my minimum wage paying department store job when I was confronted with this question on a website that I had happened to stumble upon:

Considering the ever-increasing cost of higher education, and the student loans which many college kids amass while working for their various degrees, do you feel the economy actually turned the tide and made job experience just as or more valuable than higher education?

It’s true. The economy is in the crapper and there are millions of students out there drowning in college debt. Is it worth it? I still think so, but I do think having a bit of experience under your belt is also an incredibly smart thing to do.

I wrote in an earlier blog post about whether it was worth it or not to go to college and obtain a degree:

“People with a college education tend to be unemployed or a shorter amount of time than people with just a high school degree, said professor Sandra Emerson, MPA Director of Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona. “When the economy went south in 2008 there was a tendency for individuals with only high school diplomas to be the ones who were unemployed first and stayed unemployed longer. Those people went back to school because they realized their options were limited. It doesn’t mean people with a college education don’t go back to school, but you path is clearer during economic downturns. 

Regardless of how much more you would make as a college graduate, actually having a degree is far more beneficial to anyone dabbling in the job force than anyone just trying to reach, and keep that success, without it.

Having both job experience and a college education is obviously key, but if you had to choose between the two I would still put my foot down and claim that it is more beneficial to have a degree in your back pocket.

It’s a widely accepted notion that college gives future job seekers that extra boost when trying to break into the “real world.” Students not only receive the added skills necessary to think and communicate in a clear and intelligible way, but they have something that can be used to better themselves and their chances for success in life, and it’s something that nobody can ever take away from you.

2 thoughts on “Job Experience Vs. Higher Education

  1. Unfortunately, many employers have a limited amount of time and frequently look to a college degree as proof that an employee will be worth hiring. A degree does not really adequately show everything a person knows or has learned: there are plenty of fools with degrees. On the other hand, a degree does show that you, at the very least, hung in there and exhibited a reasonable amount of knowledge (experts–your teachers–passed you based on this knowledge). It’s also good to keep in mind that there are plenty of souls out there without degrees who do well, largely because of their own drive and independent learning.


    1. It’s true that a degree does not adequately show everything a person knows or has learned. A lot of jobs just require past on-the-job experience and training, something that you can never get sitting in the classroom. There are a lot of individuals who do well without a degree, but for the majority of jobs that aren’t your own business or position that relies on physical skills it’s always best to have a degree in your hand to back you up. It’s really whatever works best for you though.


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