Higher education is becoming unavoidable, but crazy expenses aren't.

A high school diploma won’t cut it almost anywhere anymore.

And if you want to get hired in tomorrow’s market, it’s going to get even harder, according to a new CareerBuilder survey of 2,200 hiring managers.

The site found more than a quarter of employers have raised educational requirements for jobs over the last five years. That goes double for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.

Here’s what else it said…

  • Nearly a third of employers are hiring more college-educated workers for jobs that used to be for high school grads.
  • One in five are bumping jobs up even higher, requiring a master’s degree where a bachelor’s was fine before.
  • Most employers say setting the bar higher produces higher quality work, greater productivity and ideas, and better communication.

Most of the employers said they’re able to require more education “because of the tight labor market.” The market might improve, but it’s not likely to reverse the trend. Heck, the survey also found that 16 percent of employers who requir a skills upgrade are doing it even though they admit to seeing no benefit yet.

Even so, the idea of going back to school — or staying in school years longer — is financially frightening. Tuition expenses increased 538 percent from 1985 to 2013, almost double the rate medical costs have risen, according to Bloomberg. The most dramatic increases in college costs have come in the past decade.

But on the bright side, CareerBuilder says a third of employers are asking the people they’ve got to go back to school, rather than simply replacing them. And most of those employers are helping pay for it.

Another survey has more good news: Many employers couldn’t care less about where you went to school or what you majored in. So there’s room for savings.

Get a degree, any degree

Lumina Foundation, a company focused on getting Americans degrees, also just released a survey, this one of more than 600 business leaders. The big conclusion? “It’s what you know, not where you go.”

To get a little more detailed, the survey found…

  • Ivy League or bush league. Only 9 percent of employers consider alma mater very important, and 30 percent said it was not at all or not very important.
  • Nothing wrong with philosophy. Just over a quarter of employers consider your college major very important, while more than half said it was “not at all “or “not very” important.
  • But the paper matters. A quarter of employers said they would not hire someone without a degree over someone with one, even if they had the same skills and experience.
  • No excuses. Even the janitor has a Ph.D. Amazingly, 17 percent of employers say every job at their company requires some kind of degree or credential. But about the same number say that’s not necessarily an associate or bachelor’s degree — it might just be some kind of certificate.
  • Online classes are losing their fly-by-night rep. All else being equal, 54 percent of employers would consider hiring someone with a degree earned online over someone with the same degree from a traditional school. (But only 14 percent said it was “very likely.”)

The number of jobs that don’t require college may be dwindling, but at least if you do have to go back to school, it sounds like you can do it from home. And for less than you’d pay to sit in the hallowed halls of Harvard.

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Meet the Author

Brandon Ballenger

Brandon Ballenger


Ballenger is a writer for Debt.com and its first political columnist.

Career and Business, College

college savings, get hired, student loans

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Article last modified on April 3, 2014 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Jobs that don't require college are fading fast - AMP.