Educational Requirements

How to Qualify for a Job

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During the second step of the career planning process, you will spend time exploring occupations that are of interest to you. In addition to job duties, earnings and job outlook, you will want to learn about the educational requirements for any occupation you are considering. This information will specify the degree, coursework or training you will need to get an entry-level job, as well as inform you about the qualifications necessary for career advancement. Here are examples of what might see:

  • No Formal Education Required
  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • Post-secondary Certificate or Training
  • Some College
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's Degree
  • Doctorate or Professional Degree

Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?

Before you decide to pursue a particular career, you must make sure you are willing to fulfill the educational requirements that will allow you to get an entry-level job. If career advancement is important to you, you will also want to discover what you will need to do to move up in that field. If you are unwilling to meet the educational requirements, or if you must start working immediately and don't have time to get the appropriate training, you will have to think about other options. On a similar note, you may not want a job that doesn't require a certain amount of education, for example, a college degree.


How To Find the Training You Need

When the required education for an occupation is very precise, for instance, if you must get a particular certificate or a degree from an accredited program, you will have to decide what institution to attend. There are several ways to go about finding out where to get the training you need.

  • Professional Associations: Use any search engine to find the professional association for an occupation. Then go to the organization's website and look for a section about education or careers. If you must get your training or degree from an accredited program, it will probably say so here. There will likely be a list of programs, as well, or links to resources you can use to locate that information.
  • CareerOneStop Find Local Training ToolSearch for training by location. Programs listed include colleges, trades schools and short-term programs.
  • Your Network: If you have contacts in your prospective career field, find out where they received their training. You may also uncover this information through informational interviews with people who work in the occupation you are researching.

What You Need to Know About Additional Qualifications

In addition to educational requirements, the state or municipality in which you want to work may require you to have a license or certificate. You can use the Licensed Occupations Tool from CareerOneStop to learn about the rules that will affect you. You may need a certain amount of experience and have to pass written and practical examinations to get licensed or certified.

You should be aware of the difference between mandatory certification, as discussed above, and voluntary certification. Some professional associations grant credentials to individuals who demonstrate competence in an occupation or industry. This is what is meant by voluntary certification. The state or municipality will not require you to get it but it could make you a more desirable job candidate. Some employers, however, may require it.