Other than being an H.R. requirement of one or two of my past employers, my degree (B.A.) has been pretty much useless. It was always experience (and of course my winning personality) that got my jobs.
My degree opened a few doors (BS, Ivy League), but I had to work my way thru them after that. It was a good four years and opened my eyes to a lot of stuff, but it was always up to me to perform once I got a job.
Needed my BA to get my Master’s in Library Science, but also since I studied widely in the liberal arts as an undergraduate, it has helped shaped my critical thinking skills and enabled me to continue with life-long learning. It was a great school academically.
1) To be able to choose the best job from multiple job offers
2) To send a strong signal to potential employers that I’m capable of dealing with challenges (getting an M.S. degree is a challenge)
3) To use about 15% of the subject matters of my degree which has become relevant at some point in my career
I agree with @mattbrowne… I don’t necessarily think the subject in which you obtain your degree has to be utilized day to day in a job, or to get the job. I believe it shows that you are dedicated enough to see something through…especially when it isn’t “necessary” as this question points out. Having a degree in anything shows that you’re capable of critical thinking, perseverance, and putting time and effort forth toward a goal.
It got my my first production assistant job on a network TV show about a year and a half after I graduated. I didn’t know anyone in the business at the time, so I was lucky. And knowing people, in tandem with that piece of paper, is what truly helps. Network, network, network (and have faith in yourself and in the idea that you have something to offer any organization you’re interested in).
Some do, and some don’t. I didn’t finish college and went directly into the hotel industry. Within the same company, I went from Administrative Assistant to Director of Training. It took time, continued education paid for by the company, and people who believed in my ability. And I’ve seen several people with a hotel management degree who left the business either by their choice or their supervisor’s.
One niece could not become a medical doctor without a medical degree. The cousin who got his Ph.D. from MIT probably wouldn’t have gotten his VP job with Qualcomm (and he’s freaking brilliant at it). Another cousin lasted six weeks as an elementary school teacher before she quit and stayed home.
It’s just a matter of finding what you really enjoy doing. If you love it enough and a degree is required, a way to get there can be found.
My B.A. in biology indicates to employers that I’m able to handle challenges (rather than a B.A. in a soft science). My MPH is directly linked to the field I’m in which is the field of public health and has given me an upper hand over those that only have a B.A.
“I didn’t go to Evil Medical School for six years to be Mr. Evil.”
My BA in Philosophy taught me logical analysis, critical thinking, how to approach problems, the value of logic, the basis from which to understand the scientific method, and what bullshit smells like so that later in life I would know when it’s around (there’s rather a of of it out there).
I used it – use it – to keep me afloat (there are many consolations in philosophy), and as an evolving tool to understand the world around me.
I also got me a visa for Japan: a bachelor’s degree (or significant experience in your professional field) is a sine qua non for non-spousal residence visas there.
As a teacher, I use logical analysis every day. The terms are different, but the skill is the same.
Well, i did a law degree, so i practiced law with it. Only for a very short time though (couple of months), because i hated it, so now i no longer do law at all. So, i do nothing with my degree right now.
BS in Biology, I worked in Clinical Research for a while but it is a burn out industry. My advice is to get an advanced solid degree in something concrete, MD, MBA in Accounting(with CPA), Engineering degree. Don’t look back, you don’t want to have to reevaluate your career choices every 10 years, figure out what you want to do, look at its 20–30 yr prospects get it and get on with your life.