Equivalent Work Experience
The term equivalent work experience refers to the knowledge an individual possesses that would be equal to the educational requirements appearing on a job posting. While there is no universal standard for equivalent work experience, this phrase is oftentimes used by employers when describing a job’s requirements.
Also referred to as experience in lieu of a degree, equivalent work experience is a term that frequently appears on job postings. While the phrase oftentimes refers to an educational requirement, it can also refer to specific coursework or a certification.
Unless required by law, employers will consider job candidates that possess work experience deemed equivalent to a specific minimum requirement. Allowing candidates possessing equivalent experience to be considered for a job opening provides employers with a larger pool of candidates to select for an interview.
There is no universal standard for equivalent experience; however, the table below demonstrates reasonable ranges:
|Education||Equivalent Work Experience|
|Associate Degree||Eighteen months to four years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||Four to eight years|
|Master’s Degree||Ten or more years|
When applying for a job, it’s the candidate’s responsibility to provide conclusive evidence, and clearly demonstrate, they have the equivalent work experience. The types of evidence normally submitted may include:
- Mastery of the required skills as demonstrated through specific work assignments.
- Transcripts demonstrating the candidate successfully completed general education and coursework required for the degree.
- Publications written by the applicant that demonstrate they would be considered a subject matter expert.
- Verifiable work experience appearing on the candidate’s resume.
While a company’s human resources department is typically responsible for verifying the information appearing in a job application and resume, determining whether a candidate possesses equivalent work experience is usually a decision made by the hiring manager.