Education vs. Experience – Which One is More Important?


What do employers look for when hiring a new employee? Do they consider education to be the most important factor? Or do they prefer hiring people that are experienced? More importantly, will education and experience help you to actually keep a job, advance in your career, and make a decent salary?

Those who believe that education is more important tend to cite stats related to the positive impacts of education on a person’s employability and earnings. They say that higher education guarantees a particular set of skills that can be easily translated into work skills.

On the other hand, those who give preference to past experience claim that a higher degree proves you can succeed in gaining theoretical knowledge, but can’t really help you in real-work situations. They often bring up examples like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, two ultra-successful billionaire college dropouts. 

People who are well-educated can easily cope with various work-related problems and situations, but if they have no previous experience, they might have a hard time landing their first job. People who have lots of experience but no formal education can also be great in certain jobs. But they can also have difficulties growing in their careers.

So, is there a solution? 

Experience vs. Education

In reality, there’s no single argument that can cover all the potential situations of potential employers, job seekers, and career advancement. 

Ideally, a person should have both experience and education in order to get a good job, advance in their career, and earn a decent salary.

Experience is a great indicator that a person can perform well outside the classroom, i.e. in real working environments. Experienced individuals know how business works and have already performed lots of tasks within a company, which allowed them to acquire certain skills like time management and teamwork. A big part of why experience matters is because it shows that you follow the trends and (ironically) keep learning so that you can do your job. 

On the other hand, college graduates have been viewed as individuals capable of mastering complex subject matters. They have an ability to think logically and analytically, so employers expect them to perform multiple tasks simultaneously and take on more responsibility overtime. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has confirmed that, in terms of a paycheck, the earnings increase proportionally with the level of education. 

The Whole Package

Ideally, the perfect job candidate should have both experience and education. Jobs become more and more competitive, so employers are looking for candidates who have a perfect combination of valuable skills and formal education that will help them grow their careers. An individual who has a solid work history and has earned a substantial degree is more likely to get the job.

How to Get Both Education and Experience?

When it comes to acquiring both education and work experience, today, the opportunities are endless.

Many education programs offer an opportunity to gain experience while attending school. Students get a chance to do jobs similar to what they could expect in a real working environment. There are also opportunities for training, apprenticeships, externships, internships, volunteering, etc. that can add experience to your CV.

If you can’t afford to go to a traditional college or university, you can also obtain a degree online. At the moment, nearly 3 million students are enrolled in fully online programs, which makes online education one of the most popular education alternatives. Online education is constantly improving and offers a number of advantages such as convenience and flexibility, lower costs, variety of courses and programs, etc.

Skills vs Credentials
Source: Degree Query


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