Reasons for Going to College – Education vs. Work Experience

The question of what is more important, a degree or work experience, is quite complicated. It differs hugely from case to case and from industry to industry. There is no universal answer that will work for everyone. However, the topic that inspires so many heated discussions is, for sure, worth some in-depth overview.

There are several reasons why people have doubts about going to college. The loan debt is enormous, and the benefits might seem not so obvious at first glance also, as it is a four-year journey that requires commitment, much energy, effort, and definitely some of your nerves.

Although, students’ lives are much better now than twenty years ago with all the online resources. For more details, check Essaypro platform that has been specializing in offering professional help with academic matters for more than a decade now. Yet, degree vs. experience is a difficult discussion. So let’s dive in and get to know all the ins and out of this debatable issue.

Professional Field


One of the main factors if the career path that defines the importance of qualifications. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or work in education, no experience will substitute a degree.

There is no easy way around in these fields. However, some professions value experience more, for example, sales or construction. Along the same lines, if you feel the inclination to become a researcher and make it your primary job, there is no way to get around without a higher ed diploma (or even a few).

A real-life practice here comes with the knowledge that one cannot get in the educational institution. Theories are great, but their practical implementation is what makes one a professional. So the field you are working in influences the importance of one or another factor.

Experience Should Be Relevant


According to Federal Jobs, 55% of employees do not have a higher education degree. It is also stated that three years of experience can substitute the four years degree when seeking for a job. It is a great benefit for those who do not want to go to college.

Yet, there is a crucial factor here – experience should be relevant. One cannot work six years in retail and expect it to substitute a degree in engineering or construction. Today’s world is full of exciting opportunities, though not for novices. So, if you already know the field you’d want to explore, focus on it, and try every option available to gain some experience in it.

A great way to start is with volunteering. There are thousands, if not more, options one may explore. Visit some dedicated sites, ensure that you fit the eligibility criteria, and apply as crazy. Expect nothing less than a few offers for each dozen of applications sent.

Another essential part is that work history should show some perspective on your skills and motivation. If you simply worked 8 hours a day bringing no benefits to a company, it is hard to prove a future employer that you have all the skills.

Higher Education Is Insurance


Work experience doesn’t necessarily prove that you can fulfill job requirements. Of course, it shows that you have real-life knowledge. But it can be limited to your position’s responsibilities. And it eliminates the opportunity to see the bigger picture here.

A college degree is an insurance for an employer that you have a skill set that is necessary for some positions. Of course, it is better to also have at least some minimal work experience. This is a sure way to carve yourself some sweet deal out of job hunt.

Overall, the best option is to have both – a qualification and real-life practice. You can gain that via internships, part-time jobs, study programs, or apprenticeships.

Benefits of College Degree for Future Employment


People say that higher education is an investment, but not everyone understands what it means. A degree can open doors and provide more opportunities. Here are the advantages of higher education in terms of employment:

  • You will earn more. The data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the employees with a diploma earn more than high-school graduates. An employee with a diploma earns about $1,173 per week, where an employee without it earns only $712 per week.
  • Your job will be more secure. Job security means that there is a lesser chance of losing the position. Of course, no one can give a 100% guarantee, but the more qualification you have, the lower is the unemployment rate. According to the report, doctoral and professional degrees offer the lowest unemployment rates – 1.5-1.6%. And high school diploma offers 4.1% of the unemployment rate, which is almost the bottom line of the report.
  • Health insurance. Higher education provides more possibilities in landing a job with benefits, such as health insurance. The ratio of employees with health insurance at work is the following:
  1. 54% of high-school diploma holders;
  2. 66% of employees with a Bachelor’s degree;
  3. 70% of employees with an advanced degree.
  • Live longer. There is a direct link between higher education and healthier and longer life. According to the study, one additional year of college decreases the mortality rate by 15-19%. It comes with a better salary, health insurance, and overall concern about one’s well-being.
  • In college or university, one can make more valuable connections. And employment is hugely influenced by recommendations and knowing about opportunities. You will meet fellow students, alumni, and campus professionals.

In Summary


Higher education offers more opportunities for future employees. It opens doors to higher salaries, more work benefits, and valuable connections.

However, there is no need to disregard the work experience. There are fields where this part is more valuable and applicable. For instance, a computer science degree of 20 years is less valued as it is almost completely irrelevant to modern technology.

There is no short and definite answer here. In the world of increasing digitalization and never-ending opportunities, many paths are in front of you. Still, the best option is to combine both – a degree and professional experience.