What is Academic Inflation? Definition, Example, Exaplantion

“Credential inflation” in the context of employment refers to the trend of continuously increasing educational requirements for entry-level occupations, such as the necessity for college degrees to cover positions previously occupied by high school graduates. Continue reading if you want to learn more!

What is Academic Inflation?

The term “academic inflation” refers to the tendency of needing increasing degrees of education to get specific occupations, even when such levels of education are unneeded.

For example, many occupations that once needed only an associate’s degree now demand a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

What is Academic Inflation?

This tendency inhibits new workers from obtaining on-the-job experience and instead pushes them to stay in school for extended periods of time in order to obtain credentials such as certificates and degrees.

Understanding Academic Inflation

The mere holding of a university certificate is no longer adequate proof of an applicant’s working ability. There are an increasing number of college graduates whose intellectual foundation would not have been adequate to obtain a degree in previous years.

Academic inflation is to blame for this tendency, and many organizations are using the growing focus on postgraduate degrees as a filter to sort out poorly educated people.

Academic inflation has resulted in an increase in the quantity and range of difficult courses offered at universities. As more and more employers place a premium on having at least a bachelor’s degree on a CV, an increasing number of schools are cropping up to make it easier and less expensive to obtain one.

What is Academic Inflation?

Even the greatest colleges’ entry criteria and intellectual rigor have been progressively declining in recent years. This not only expands the number of people who can obtain a bachelor’s degree, but it also reduces the value of a bachelor’s degree for those who already have one.

The growing cost of higher education is just one of the numerous economic consequences of academic inflation. Higher education costs, including universities and colleges, are growing at a far greater rate than the overall rate of inflation.

As a result of these prices, some students may be discouraged from continuing higher education, lessening the effects of academic inflation.

During economic downturns, however, the need for a job often trumps the desire to avoid college loans. For today’s students, there is a catch-22: the expense of school is high, necessitating more loans, yet the number of viable employment is restricted, necessitating more education.

Two Main Drivers Of Credential Inflation

The first factor is upskilling, which occurs when the requirements of a work change and requires more training or education.

It is neither surprising nor surprising that many vocations that formerly did not require a college education, such as sketching, now do. This is because the skills required of drafters have evolved with the introduction of computers and complex architectural software.

However, a mismatch between supply and demand for educated workers is a primary contributor to credential inflation. According to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, an estimated 34% of all college graduates are underemployed because they are overqualified for their current work.

What is Academic Inflation?

Because of the high number of recent graduates, employers use a degree as a filter even if the post does not expressly call for college-level skills.

Factors Influencing the Spread of False Evidence

First and foremost, it (unnecessarily) limits the career opportunities of many otherwise competent people. Many qualified applicants will be turned down if a post demands a college degree even if it does not truly require one.

Furthermore, credential inflation reduces the value of all sorts of schooling. Requiring education beyond high school ignores the fact that people have other options for furthering their education.

More learning occurs via experience than in a classroom, however even highly experienced persons are neglected when their school qualifications are not boosted. The third factor is the financial cost of attending university.

Degree requirements for occupations that don’t truly require them force people to get degrees they don’t need, which is costly for both the individual and society as a whole.

The United States has about 20 million college students, and each one costs the country around $30,000 per year. This involves investing time and money in obtaining certificates of dubious value.

It is ridiculous to ask students and taxpayers to spend $120,000 over four years on a bachelor’s degree when the job does not require one. The opportunity cost of a student’s time in college can be significant, particularly if they are away from home for four years or more.

What is Academic Inflation?

What Can Be Done To Halt And Reverse This Damaging Trend?

The first step is for employers to stop requiring unnecessary degrees. Companies, according to Peter Blair and Shad Ahmed in a Wall Street Journal column published on June 28, “should modify their recruitment and management procedures to focus on work talents rather than continuing to promote academic degrees.”

Governments should do the same thing. According to Preston Cooper, President Trump’s recent executive order forcing federal employees to prioritize skills and capabilities above credentials is a great move. Other levels of government and business enterprise must follow Trump’s lead and enact this strategy.

Then, alternate ways of skill certification must be provided.

Despite rampant credential inflation, certain occupations may not require more extensive educational backgrounds to grow.

What is Academic Inflation?

The Burning Glass research focuses on jobs that “fight credential inflation when there are better alternatives for establishing skill capability.” As a result, there are a lot of employment in the medical and technical industries.


Academic inflation is on the rise, thanks in part to widespread grade inflation. More recent graduates have higher grade point averages (GPAs) because academic success is easier for them.

This makes it harder for employers to differentiate between applicants, and they are consequently relying more on certificates and higher degrees to judge an applicant’s potential.

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