Seven states abolish college degree requirements for many jobs — Virginia is the latest to do so

Seven states abolish college degree requirements for many jobs — Virginia is the latest to do so
Glenn Youngkin, Virginia Governor.

On May 30, Virginia got rid of bachelor’s degree requirements for 90 percent of state jobs, following in the footsteps of six other states that got rid of college degree requirements for many jobs over the last year.

“Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today a landmark change in how state agencies will recruit and compete for talent by eliminating degree requirements, preferences or both for almost 90% of state classified positions,” according to a press release last week from the governor’s office. The change goes into effect in July.

The shift “will improve hiring processes, expand possibilities and career paths for job seekers and enhance our ability to deliver quality services,” Youngkin said.

“Yesterday’s announcement by @GovernorVA added Virginia to the growing number of states moving toward skills-based hiring. Learn how Governors are removing barriers that screen out qualified job candidates,” the National Governors Association tweeted on June 1.

Virginia state agencies advertise over 20,000 jobs each year, so a significant number of jobs will be affected by this change.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan — who is, like Youngkin, a Republican — announced last March he would eliminate the four-year degree requirement because it made it harder to fill jobs with the most qualified people. Virginia is the seventh state to follow Hogan’s lead, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. “Critics warned that [Hogan] was lowering standards and devaluing higher education. But supporters — Democrats among them — applauded Hogan for lowering barriers for workers who lack four-year degrees but have other skills and training.”

Last December, Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah abolished bachelor’s degree requirements for most civil service jobs. “Degrees have become a blanketed barrier-to-entry in too many jobs. Instead of focusing on demonstrated competence, the focus too often has been on a piece of paper. We are changing that,” Cox said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro was the first Democrat to eliminating bachelor’s degree requirements for many state positions. In January, Shapiro abolished the requirement for 92 percent of state positions. As a result, over 65,000 state jobs are now open to candidates without four-year degrees. Shapiro says he will review the relevance of degree requirements for the remaining eight percent of state positions.

Two-thirds of Pennsylvanians lack bachelor’s degrees. About six-tenths of Americans currently do not have a bachelor’s degree.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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