“Credentialism” means creating barriers to entering the work force by padding and lengthening courses, raising fees, and marketing prestige or exclusivity. The usual explanation is that more and better education results, which helps students, prospective employers, and society in general.
Maybe credentialism does all that. But here are some other things it also does:
• It forms an industry for the people who create the courses and grant the credentials.
That’s not a bad thing in principle. In practice, its value depends on the relationship between credentials and later performance. In Part I, we saw that experts doubted the relationship between post-graduate business degrees and success in running a business. Similarly, editors have told me that they would rather hire journalists with science or economics degrees than journalism degrees.
Their logic was simple: They can teach a suitable applicant to report news, but they can hardly teach science or economics in a newsroom.
Here’s Credentialism, Part I: How much of your education do you really need?