Professional Recognitions

The Value of a Non-Traditional Degree

The results of a survey on the value of non-traditional degrees conducted by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare found that a non-traditional degree was just as useful as one from a traditional school with a good reputation. The survey involved responses from thousands of students with degrees from both accredited and unaccredited schools, and top HR officers at 81 large corporations.

An overwhelming majority felt that education was important, and the report said the findings “run counter to some popular beliefs” – yet the “survey data strongly suggest that employers… as a group, are not overly concerned with institutional reputation, and the external degree holders should not find themselves denied opportunities in employment settings because of the nature of their degree.” From students’ self-evaluations, 99% of the holders of non-traditional degrees felt that their degree was just as good as, or even better than, a traditional degree.

Two of the crucial issues studied here were the importance of accreditation, and how well-prepared the non-traditional degree holders were to undertake higher degree programs. The results showed that 94% of the non-traditional degree holders experienced no problems in graduate school admission of their choice.

In summary of this extensive survey, it shows that an unaccredited, non-traditional degree is extremely useful and valuable, whether for employment, job advancement, or further education. When surveyed, an average of two years after completing their non-traditional degree, more than 3/4 of the people felt a significant increase in their status and respect, and a vast majority had already got either a better job or a promotion or a pay raise.

(Source: Sosdian, Carol P. and Laure M. Sharp, The External Degree as Credential: Graduates’ Experiences in Employment and Further Study. Washington, D.C., US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1978.)

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