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Educational Equivalency

Incorporating educational equivalencies into a position description can help attract a broader, more diverse applicant pool because equivalencies allow various levels of education and experience to substitute for one another.

What is an educational equivalency?

In job descriptions established for use as part of the university's compensation structure, some positions allow for the use of an educational equivalency. Positions that allow for an educational equivalency are noted in their job description.

An educational equivalency is an option available to hiring managers when they are recruiting a position. Prior to job posting, hiring managers should consider if an educational equivalency will be used. The matrix below illustrates how to apply an educational equivalency.

Educational equivalency matrix

Kansas State University uses a 2:1 ratio when evaluating minimum education requirements (e.g., a bachelor's degree is equivalent to eight years of experience). This equivalency chart does not include any additional required experience that may be needed for a job. A general education diploma (GED) is considered equivalent to a high school diploma.

For example, a job requires a bachelor's degree and three years of relevant experience. An applicant with an associate degree would require a total of seven years of relevant experience (four years = bachelor's degree requirement + three years = relevant experience requirement).

Printer friendly version (pdf).

educational equivalency matrix

Frequently asked questions

Why would I do this?

Hiring managers would opt for an educational equivalency—when allowed—if they want to find the best candidates and diversify their candidate pool. Accepting equivalent experience is a very easy way to do that. Many available job seekers have grown within their profession, but may not have been afforded the opportunity to pursue a formal education. When formal education is required for a position, hiring managers may be limiting or excluding vastly experienced candidates who may otherwise be able to perform the position just as successfully.

What kinds of positions are appropriate for accepting equivalent experience?

Appropriate positions have an educational requirement that is beyond a high school diploma and a knowledge base that can be learned "on-the-job." Notation of positions that allow for educational equivalency are made in their job description.

If I accept equivalent experience, will I get hundreds of job seekers submitting their resumes for my employment opportunity?

Accepting equivalent experience will likely increase the size of your candidate pool and your opportunities for finding the best available candidate. You will benefit from the added depth and choices available to you. If you find that your candidate pool gets too large, your talent acquisition strategic partner can help you focus on the top candidates.

As a higher education institution shouldn't we prefer job seekers who have a higher degree of education?

As an institution of higher education, we as employees, are committed to and value the benefits of a higher education. As an employer of choice, we also actively seek to diversify our workforce and select the best candidates for each open career opportunity. It would be incorrect to assume that candidates without a post-secondary education fail to offer valuable skills and experiences that would benefit the University. Limiting our candidate pools to only those with a higher education may not always be the best approach to recruit.

Additional assistance

When you are recruiting a position, think about your situation and whether or not accepting equivalent experience is appropriate for you—and the position. Be sure to let your talent acquisition strategic partner know if you would like to accept equivalent experience. Talent Acquisition will ensure that your posting reflects the correct verbiage and will be sure to review candidate resumes appropriately.