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Credentialism -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Wienclaw, Ruth A.;

2009 / EBSCO


As technology- and information-based jobs increase in the 21st century, there is a concomitant increase in the requirement for credentials. In some cases, this is justified. In others, it is not. Credentialism is the requirement for educational credentials for their own sake as a prerequisite for employment or for conferring social status rather than an objective emphasis on the qualifications, skills, or abilities of the person. The mere requirement for credentials for a job is not in and of itself credentialism. If the education leading to the credential is a bona fide requirement of the job and the education is used on the job, the requirement for the credential is justified. However, if the education is unrelated and required in order to exclude certain classes of people from the applicant pool, then the requirement is not valid and credentialism exists. Both the conflict and functionalist sociological perspectives speak to this issue.