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#1
Old 06-20-2012, 09:29 AM
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Careers/Jobs requiring only a bachelor's degree in any field

In this thread, which is about "Women's Studies" and "Gender Studies" majors, it was mentioned that one thing that graduates with such degrees can do is find jobs that require a bachelor's degree in any subject.

What are some of those jobs? I believe that one of them is becoming a Commissioned Officer in the US Military, in the sense that if you already have a degree, you can enlist under the expectation that you will go straight to Officer Candidate School after Boot Camp and will become an officer if you pass, etc. E.g. you could major in Music with a concentration in Piano and then become a Lieutenant in the Army with it. I've also heard that some Law Enforcement/Peace Officer/LEO jobs may qualify. Are there any other jobs?

For the purpose of this question, I am talking about jobs where the substantial qualifier is the degree itself, not any specific subject matter of study or work experience beyond the obvious knowledge, wisdom, and experience one would necessarily get by finishing a bachelor's degree (it's not a walk in the park). It is acceptable if the job requires on-the-job training once hired (e.g. military boot camp and OCS) or if it requires general aptitudes such as being able to pass a test or convincing a hiring manager that you aren't obviously unsuitable.

E.g. a job for which the requirements are "Must have a bachelor's degree in any field, be good with kids (in general, as opposed to having X years of professional experince working with kids), have no felony criminal record, and be able to be at work at 7 AM" fits. A job for which the requirements are, "Must have a bachelor's degree in any field and have at least three years experience in Human Resources" does not count.

Jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree are mostly out, though I will permit jobs that have alternate qualifiers, one of which is the bare possession of a bachelor's degree as above and another requires more experience. E.g. a position where the requirements are, "Candidate must either have a bachelor's degree in any subject or at least three years experience in retail customer service."

For the purpose of this question, the terms "job" and "career" are interchangeable. I am interested in both "jobs" and "careers" that fit the descriptors.

Also, please don't nitpick my question and please give it an ordinary meaning. Basically, the question is, "I have a bachelor's degree. What jobs can I get with it that aren't necessarily related to my major and that don't require prior experience in that field."
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#2
Old 06-20-2012, 09:43 AM
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There may be more than you think. I work for an international consulting company in IT with a focus in high-tech engineering. I have a degree but not in IT or engineering. I learned those things through work experience in other companies. Still, my consulting company requires all new hires to have a degree in something and it is a full stop if you don't. Lots of large companies post jobs ranging from marketing to operations and also require some type of degree.
#3
Old 06-20-2012, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
There may be more than you think. I work for an international consulting company in IT with a focus in high-tech engineering. I have a degree but not in IT or engineering. I learned those things through work experience in other companies. Still, my consulting company requires all new hires to have a degree in something and it is a full stop if you don't. Lots of large companies post jobs ranging from marketing to operations and also require some type of degree.
+1

a degree is often required to get in the door, but it can be in anything. I deliver SAP projects, my degree is in electronic engineering and i've basically forgotten most things I ever learned about electronics.
#4
Old 06-20-2012, 09:52 AM
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I'm in consulting as well and one of my gripes against my own field is how often people are mismatched; I'm sick and tired of seeing economists who can't change a lightbulb implementing Factory Maintenance and engineers who don't know what PGC* stands for after ten or more years of implementing Accounting. Some companies require people with degrees in a given field but it's because of the company's history, it's not because those specific degrees mean a better fit for the job; both those and others seem to just toss the graduates' balled-up names into baskets labeled with Consulting specialties at random.


Many government jobs, at least in Spain, require the equivalent of a Bachelor's in any field. And many middle management jobs or jobs in the Supply Chain (purchasing, sales) also require a degree but not a specialized one.




* Plan General Contable. Spanish law-level document which tells accountants how to determine which General Ledger Accounts to use for any given concept. Also one of the GLA-determination systems which appear to be popular with companies from countries which don't define their own. For someone in Accounting, in Spain, to not know this, is akin to a lawyer asking "what's that 'Constitution' thing you speak of?"



ETA: *pokes at OaOW* at this rate, the Dope will use SAP, with so many of us here...

Last edited by Nava; 06-20-2012 at 09:53 AM.
#5
Old 06-20-2012, 10:20 AM
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It'd almost be easier to list the jobs that do require a specific degree.
#6
Old 06-20-2012, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
There may be more than you think. I work for an international consulting company in IT with a focus in high-tech engineering. I have a degree but not in IT or engineering. I learned those things through work experience in other companies. Still, my consulting company requires all new hires to have a degree in something and it is a full stop if you don't. Lots of large companies post jobs ranging from marketing to operations and also require some type of degree.
But will they actually take a person with a Bachelor's Degree and no specific experience on as a consultant, and assign them to consult on whatever they happen to know, or train them in Kwijibos and then make them a Kwijibo Consultant?
#7
Old 06-20-2012, 03:45 PM
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Teaching.

In most states, if you're highly qualified (have the credits and passed the tes), you're kosher. Actually, I think all states.

<--- B.A., Political Science

Last edited by Farmer Jane; 06-20-2012 at 03:45 PM.
#8
Old 06-20-2012, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
But will they actually take a person with a Bachelor's Degree and no specific experience on as a consultant, and assign them to consult on whatever they happen to know, or train them in Kwijibos and then make them a Kwijibo Consultant?
Consulting companies hire really bright and motivated new college grads and train them (some) on consulting methodology which is really general. They place them with whatever client they think is a good match and the new consultant learns hard skills based on what the client needs. You build up a portfolio of skills over time as you move from one client to another. The consulting company usually has more than one consultant at a given client so junior consultants are often partnered with senior consultants to learn what they need to. There is very little hand-holding though. Companies hire consultants because they can supposedly learn things and solve problems better than their regular employees so it is sink or swim. Most of the more prestigious consulting companies offer tuition reimbursement for people that want to learn more hard skills in an academic setting but you generally have to do that on your own time.

IT consulting is a popular choice because there is a lot of demand for it even today but I have known only a handful of people that do it that have any type of computer science or IT degree. I have known hundreds of them and they have degrees in everything from Japanese to chemistry. The most important thing is to be presentable, professional, and have proof that you were a good student in something.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 06-20-2012 at 04:27 PM.
#9
Old 06-20-2012, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ultrafilter View Post
It'd almost be easier to list the jobs that do require a specific degree.
True, but there's a difference between "doesn't require a specific degree" and "open to any degree, so long as you did well enough in it". In my field, there's a lot of people with Math/Physics/Comp. Sci. background with any degree along that lines working, and no hard-and-fast rule about what it needs to be, but that's a far cry from "degree in any subject is fine".
#10
Old 06-20-2012, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ultrafilter View Post
It'd almost be easier to list the jobs that do require a specific degree.
I'm pretty high paid in web development/analytics/javascript/sql/... etc(?) and I don't have a degree. Which works fine, because there's no college classroom that teaches this stuff, and a (for example) Adobe Test&Target certification would be much, much more useful to our company at the moment.

From my experience, virtually every company that "requires" a degree will take a look at you even if you don't have one, and most of them specifically state "or equivalent industry experience" in the job description. Proven skills, extensive domain knowledge, and successful projects completed trump degrees any day of the week.

Last edited by Blakeyrat; 06-20-2012 at 04:52 PM.
#11
Old 06-20-2012, 04:57 PM
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#12
Old 06-20-2012, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by leahcim View Post
True, but there's a difference between "doesn't require a specific degree" and "open to any degree, so long as you did well enough in it". In my field, there's a lot of people with Math/Physics/Comp. Sci. background with any degree along that lines working, and no hard-and-fast rule about what it needs to be, but that's a far cry from "degree in any subject is fine".
I agree, and I'm sure there are a fair number of people with Electrical Engineering or Mathematics degrees who have become software developers out of school, as the majors have significant crossover in the subject matter and there is a shared mindset to some degree, but I'm not so sure that there as many Art History, Flute Performance, or Elementary Education majors who do so.

What I'm after is a job or career where the real, major qualifier is just getting that Bachelor's degree, where it is understood by the employer or by the industry in general that the knowledge/skills gained or proven in a Bachelor's degree program that are not subject-matter specific (e.g. how to research, how to present an argument, how to organize, how to study, how not to give up halfway) are sufficient.

Last edited by robert_columbia; 06-20-2012 at 05:17 PM.
#13
Old 06-20-2012, 05:26 PM
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My first job requiring a bachelor's degree in anything was as a financial aid counselor at a trade school. The next was as a CPS caseworker. I've seen other jobs listed recently that require a bachelor's degree in anything so long as it includes 12 credits in a specific area and jobs that require a bachelor's degree in any social science - could be psychology or could be ethnic or gender studies. But really, unless you're talking about a licensing requirement it all depends on the employer. One company may require a specific degree for their salespeople, while a competitor just wants any bachelor's degree and a third company only requires a GED. And even then, the first company may hire someone without the required degree if they're a star at one of the competitors.
#14
Old 06-20-2012, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
What I'm after is a job or career where the real, major qualifier is just getting that Bachelor's degree, where it is understood by the employer or by the industry in general that the knowledge/skills gained or proven in a Bachelor's degree program that are not subject-matter specific (e.g. how to research, how to present an argument, how to organize, how to study, how not to give up halfway) are sufficient.
In principle, anyone who passes actuarial exams is qualified to work as an actuary. In practice, some employers are biased towards quantitative majors, and very few would view a degree in elementary education favorably, so I don't know if that counts exactly.
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:41 PM
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Last time I looked (before the credit crunch) lots of blue chip companies were hiring generic graduates. This was generally for their graduate-specific programmes that emphasized training.

And there are plenty of companies in the financial sector in particular that want people from the most regarded universities and don't care so much what you study or even how well you did. Maybe not in the spirit of the OP though?

Finally of course: jobs / career paths in higher education. Obviously there are lots of these that require PhDs or a Master's but there are some where a bachelors in anything is both sufficient and necessary.

Last edited by Mijin; 06-20-2012 at 06:43 PM.
#16
Old 06-20-2012, 06:43 PM
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This may be out of date, but once upon a time in the State of California there was the job title "Analyst" that required only a bachelors degree in any subject. I assume that this was for a "gather information and write a report" type job, rather than one that required heavy math.
#17
Old 06-20-2012, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
What I'm after is a job or career where the real, major qualifier is just getting that Bachelor's degree, where it is understood by the employer or by the industry in general that the knowledge/skills gained or proven in a Bachelor's degree program that are not subject-matter specific (e.g. how to research, how to present an argument, how to organize, how to study, how not to give up halfway) are sufficient.
I am still not sure I understand completely. I gave you an example of some types of consulting where the degree specifics do not matter much. They are hiring for raw talent. However, that doesn't mean that they view all degrees the same way. My company absolutely requires a bachelors degree or higher to start with no exceptions. That isn't true for lots of IT jobs within companies as long as the person has specific skills and work experience. I could not get a very talented and experienced person who worked directly with me a job with them because he does not have a degree in something.

However, that doesn't mean that any random person can show up with a bachelors degree in hand and expect to get a job. They recruit from the highest levels of universities because they assume that means the talent and vetting process has already pre-screened the candidates. A music major from Harvard would be much more likely to get a job as a junior consultant over a computer science major from a 3rd tier state school for example. Once you move up in the senior ranks, it is much more specific skills dependent but you have to go through the short list approved schools to work there in the first place. I hear that lots of high finance jobs are the same way.
#18
Old 06-20-2012, 07:36 PM
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I should add that there are also strict GPA requirements (ours is 3.5 out of 4 or higher for example; that is a marginal A average at minimum even if many years before) for many of the more prestigious consulting companies. You have to have the degree, the right school, and proof that you studied well there but that is the end of those requirements.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 06-20-2012 at 07:40 PM.
#19
Old 06-20-2012, 08:07 PM
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My government career field is ammunition and explosives safety and inspection. You can have military experience, EOD or combat engineer, or have a BS. Used to be a BA would qualify as well. We've had oceanographers qualify. Our organization provides the training both classroom and on the job.
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#20
Old 06-20-2012, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by smithsb View Post
My government career field is ammunition and explosives safety and inspection. You can have military experience, EOD or combat engineer, or have a BS. Used to be a BA would qualify as well. We've had oceanographers qualify. Our organization provides the training both classroom and on the job.
Would my BA in math be good enough (my university doesn't offer a BS in math)? How about a BS in English from MIT?
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
But will they actually take a person with a Bachelor's Degree and no specific experience on as a consultant, and assign them to consult on whatever they happen to know, or train them in Kwijibos and then make them a Kwijibo Consultant?
The usual training technique is "on the run". The company may pay to certify bollicaos*, but the first time you go to a client it may be already as a "senior" - actually, as the only person working on your part of the project, and you better be able to find manuals online. Those companies which hire bollicaos do not, normally, hire experienced consultants; any experienced consultant in one of their teams will be a freelancer.


And actually, in many consulting fields you don't even need the bachelor's strictly speaking; 99.something% of people will have one, ads ask for one, but I know people who got hired to temp doing data entry for a project, started asking questions and never went back to college. Once you have experience and know how to talk the talk, the agencies and companies assume you can walk the walk, degrees and certificates be damned.




* named after an industrial pastry that's extremely bland except for the nutella-like core. A fresh graduate with good looks and good grades, but not necessarily the ability to think by him/herself; highly likely to be unable to ask questions (in Spain and specially in certian majors the highest grades go to those able to regurgitate best what the teacher said); highly likely to be full of something which looks a lot like but is not nutella. If you're overweight, or balding, or short, or manage to look like you just got out of your own casket whenever someone stuffs you into a suit, you're not a bollicao. If you ask pointed questions, you're not a bollicao.

Last edited by Nava; 06-21-2012 at 01:19 AM.
#22
Old 06-21-2012, 07:38 AM
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When I worked for a large national retailer, most of the people at HQ who were not accountants had "whatever" degrees. The Merchandising and Marketing staff was Home of the Randomly Educated. My BA is in anthropology. My boss dropped out of Bryn Mawr, I think she was majoring in classics at the time. Her boss had a journalism degree (a Masters from Columbia, actually). His boss (the Director of Marketing) studied poli sci or something.

This company, now defunct through no fault of their low level hiring practice, did not "recruit from the top schools" so to speak. For the most part, staff at the HQ came up through the stores (I came in through online customer service). My boss had previously been a store manager in several locations. Oddly, my particular marketing group had 3 different people who had worked at the Anchorage, Alaska store.
#23
Old 06-21-2012, 07:47 AM
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I've done it project management, systems administration, systems engineering, process improvement and it consulting with a general B.A., as well as marketing, bookkeeping, and paralegal work. Later I got an accounting degree and now I work within it finance and compliance. My husband has done copywriting, systems design, database design and it architecture with his.
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#24
Old 06-21-2012, 07:49 AM
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The purpose of having the Bachelors degree requirement is that it shows that you can finish what you start. Much like having an honorable discharge from the armed services. It's an indicator that you are a somewhat stable, intelligent person and helps employers weed out people that know how to start things but not finish them. That's it; the rest is up to the individual and how much drive they have to succeed.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 06-21-2012 at 07:51 AM.
#25
Old 06-21-2012, 09:04 AM
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A college degree, for most people, is a hunting license. It gives you the ability to hunt for jobs.

This is why your first 'real' job after graduation is so important as it can lock you in for the rest of your life much more than your choice of major ever did.
#26
Old 06-22-2012, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ultrafilter View Post
Would my BA in math be good enough (my university doesn't offer a BS in math)? How about a BS in English from MIT?
The math degree would be fine. The intent is a "hard" degree like science, engineering and math. Not my opinion. I'd take someone who put in the work in most any field.

The BS in English would take some 'splaing to qualify. I've got a BS in Management from eons ago but that was good back in the 70s.

Currently not hiring now with the drawdown from Iraq and the pending end to chemical weapons in the US inventory.

Last edited by smithsb; 06-22-2012 at 10:01 PM.
#27
Old 06-22-2012, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
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no, as to nursing.
A/ BS in English ( or anything other than nursing, to the best of my knowledge) will not enable you to take the national licensing exam (NCLEX)
#28
Old 06-22-2012, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Farmer Jane View Post
Teaching.

In most states, if you're highly qualified (have the credits and passed the tes), you're kosher. Actually, I think all states.

<--- B.A., Political Science
Not quite true. You need post-grad credits as well. They may not be required to get the job, but they are required to keep the job.
#29
Old 06-23-2012, 12:35 AM
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Teaching English as a second language in China. If you have a degree you can teach
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