What does a college degree tell an employer about you?

Next to nothing, says one blogger. Independent Accountant did an interesting opinion piece on the state of today's college system. He makes a case that a four-year college degree is something largely arbitrary, created by those who hand out the degrees.

He suggests that these degrees really don't teach students much that helps them in their careers, except for a few technical types of areas like engineering and sciences. The Bachelor of Arts? Unnecessary, inefficient, and mostly a waste of time and money. But what's the alternative? Independent Accountant suggests exams like the CPA exam to prove your knowledge in a field, and the right to practice in that field if you pass. Whether or not you do the arbitrary four years of hard time would no longer matter.

Independent Accountant makes some very good points. Haven't you ever wondered why colleges and universities are stuck in this four-year (and now often five-year) model? Could it be motivated by money?

How many courses did you take during your college career that ended up being meaningless to your job and your life in general? I think all college graduates are forced to take courses like that. Oh sure, someone tells us that these classes are necessary to make us well-rounded people. But the truth is that we could most likely be very successful in our lives and careers without them. And all those jobs that "require" bachelor's degrees? I think if we look at them critically, we may conclude that many times the degree really doesn't add anything to the employee or the company.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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