Guess what Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They are highly successful individuals who didn’t complete college. Before you get excited and assume that college isn’t necessary, studies reveal that only six percent of highly successful people don’t have a college degree.
This poses an interesting question: When it comes to experience vs. education which is more important to employers? The answer is somewhat complicated.
What’s the Benefit of a College Education?
The average student loan debt is $39,351. There are also articles that reveal colleges aren’t a surefire way to make lots of money and thrive in your preferred field. This information alone can tempt you to avoid college altogether.
But when it comes to the question of do employers look for experience or education, this is what statistics say about the benefits of having a college degree in hand:
- College grads earn more money
- College grads can get on the career path that they like easier
- Many employers believe that people with a college education are better prepared for a job than people without a degree are
Even if you come right out of college without any experience, there’s still a greater chance that you will be hired due to your degree. That’s because employers will assume that you are more knowledgeable and won’t require as much training.
At the same time, one survey revealed that 70 percent of people with a college degree felt that they needed on-the-job training. 48 percent said that what they do for a living has nothing to do with what they received a degree in.
Experience vs. Education: What Are Employers Really Looking For?
When it comes to whether education or experience is more important to employers, the answer boils down to the kind of job you’re applying for. For instance, the following jobs do not require a college degree:
- Medical Secretary
- Flight Attendant
- Computer Support Specialist
- Insurance Agent
- Medical Assistant
- Massage Therapist
- Licensed Vocational Nurse
You can land one of these positions without a degree and still make decent money. What many employers will still want you to have is some experience. Work experience basically means:
- You have some applicable skills
- You have a better understanding of the industry that you’re in
- You will be easier to train
- The communication between you and management will go smoother
- You will be more productive
- Customers and clients will be more satisfied
- You will be able to move up the ladder quicker
What this boils down to is a lower turnover rate for your employer. That’s something they’re always after. Taking this into account, it’s more realistic to focus on experience over education.
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