When a College Degree Isn’t Enough
The Atlantic, April 27, 2017
By Laura Pappano
The job market in the United States has entered a new era, in which skills, rather than degrees, are currency. Many adults with college degrees are obtaining additional licenses and certifications; the most recent estimate says that in 2012, one quarter of adults had licenses, certifications, or educational certificates. However, within the past five years, the offerings of short-term online educational opportunities has risen rapidly. According to Anant Agarwal, founder of the edX MicroMasters program, the job culture is moving away from valuing traditional master’s degrees and “is moving to smaller and smaller credentials and continuous education.”
The author of this article, Laura Pappano, writer-in-residence at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), describes this phenomenon as an “explosion of credentialing.” She details the possibilities and problems that this phenomenon imposes for students, workers, and employers, and the framework that a group called Credential Transparency Initiative has drafted to identify the meaning behind credentials from badges to doctorate degrees.