Wednesday, September 03, 2008

An Alternative to a College Degree

I read an article by Charles Murray recently that talked about developing test-based credentials for various professions and trades instead of relying solely on four-year college degrees. These tests would be akin to the CPA exam, and would be comprehensive in scope. The advantages to the testing approach are many:
  • It would be "degree-neutral," in that no minimum amount of schooling is required.
  • It also would be "institution-neutral." You could have gotten the knowledge for taking the test from a university, two-year college, trade school, the local library, or your parents' garage. All that matters is that you have the skills to pass the exam.
  • It would allow individuals to obtain only the schooling they need and want.
  • It wouldn't necessarily saddle people with crushing debt due to student loans, etc.
'Tis a thought, anyway. This process would've come in handy when I wanted to switch over from answering complaint letters to becoming a technical writer. As it was, I had to put myself in hock to Uncle Sam for ~$10K for grad school just to "prove" that I could be a technical writer.

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