Do You Really Need A College Degree?

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Sep 10, 2018 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends, Job Trends, IT, Candidate

It's typical for IT professionals to pick up their degree as they work toward full-time positions. Overall, just over half of the U.S. workforce (American age 25 and up) has completed some college. As a matter of fact, only 32 percent achieved a bachelor's degree and about two-fifths (41.5 percent) completed an Associate's or Bachelor’s degree.

Earning a degree is much more common among those in IT than the rest of the workforce. According to the U.S. Census, there's an interesting breakdown of the available data that reveal two distinct groups, professional, and information. 

Among 30,000 professionals, about 2,670 finished some college but had no degree. 3,509 had an associate degree, and 10,403 had a bachelor's.  Among 2,611 information people, 471 finished some school while 264 have an associate's. Around 38 percent finished their bachelor's.

Earn College Credit with IT Certifications

Among these two populations that were studied, IT professionals were the ones most likely to have a two or four-year education. From another perspective, over half those in the IT workforce are likely to be or have been among those seeking bachelor's degrees. Getting this four-year degree gives you a real advantage when applying for IT jobs, and it really opens doors to higher paying jobs.

The Microsoft Learning site recently posted a Born to Learn blog. One of the most useful topics was How I earned credits toward my college degree with Microsoft Certifications. It tells you how a Microsoft Certified Trainer named John Deardruff turned his pursuit of MS certifications into 25 hours of college credit that counted toward a bachelor's degree at a local college. He also managed to secure another 18 hours through CompTIA certifications. Since a bachelor's degree includes 120 hours of course requirements, you can calculate that his certifications accounted for one-third of the credits for a bachelor's degree.

You might have a different experience, depending on where you end up going to college. Not all colleges let students turn their certifications into credits. If you look in your area or just beyond your area, you'll probably find one that does. If you are an IT pro with certifications, who wants to earn a degree, don't exclude this great opportunity to get credits for your expertise. Let it work to your advantage. After all the time and work you put into each certification, you deserve the opportunity to complete your degree a bit faster.

What certifications do you hold that might be worth highlighting when you are shopping around for a college? If you have Microsoft MCSE or MCSA certifications, Cisco CCNP or CCNA certs and a CompTIA A+. Security + or Network+, it could reduce your credit requirement by 12 to 40 hours.

If you've got something like an MCSA or MCSE from Microsoft, a CCNA or CCNP from Cisco, or any or all the CompTIA Big Three (A+, Network+, Security+), you may be able to trim anywhere from 12 to 40 hours (or more) from your overall graduation requirements. This put you back in the job market that much sooner.

What's Your Next Step?

This is a great way to make the leap from thinking about a degree to earning one.  If you're in IT and have any IT certifications, it’s time explore how you can put them to work for you.

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