A Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent: What Is It?

Several occupational professions and colleges and universities have educational requirements that must be met to be accepted as a candidate for employment or entrance to their programs. The term “bachelor’s degree or equivalent” may occasionally be used in conjunction with academic qualifications. This implies that you may be able to fulfill some or all of the academic qualifications using your professional experience or other experiences in the same or a closely related field. In this post, we’ll talk about bachelor’s degree or equivalents, how they compare, and some examples of how to include this information on your cover letter or resume.

What is meant by “bachelor’s degree or equivalent”?

When a degree or comparable experience is required for employment or admission to an educational institution, it signifies that alternatives may be accepted in conjunction with or instead of a university degree. Comparable experience includes things like prior paid employment in the same or a closely related sector, as well as unpaid job experience such as internships, voluntary work, and other specifically outlined experiences. Companies or institutions may nevertheless take your application into account if you have adequate equivalent experience but lack the required college degree. These are some instances of job descriptions where this language might be used:

  • A bachelor’s degree is required, while a master’s degree is desirable. A degree may be unnecessary if you have 10 or more years of applicable work experience.
  • A bachelor’s degree is preferred. This can be mitigated by having a long stay in a position like executive assistant at a reputable company.
  • Minimum of six months’ worth of work in sales, customer support, or a related field.
  • A bachelor’s degree from the United States is necessary, or its international equivalent is.

Employers have a considerably wider selection of applicants to pick from when they permit individuals who have the necessary expertise through experiences other than college. The candidate must back up their claims and make it abundantly evident that they possess the necessary information and abilities. This can be accomplished by providing particular work projects, transcripts of related education, publications demonstrating your expertise, proven professional experience, or proof of fellowships, voluntary work, internships, or other experiences.

Determining the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree

There are various methods for figuring out whether your expertise is equivalent to a university degree. The hiring manager decides if a candidate has the required amount of equivalent work experience, even though the HR division is normally in charge of validating information. As there is no single, accepted definition of equivalence, you can establish equivalency in the following manner:

Examine your credentials and employment history.

It is widely agreed that work experience should count toward degree requirements for a minimum of the same amount of time and a maximum of two additional years.

  • An associate’s degree is generally comparable to 18 to 4 years of related work experience.
  • An undergraduate degree is typically comparable to 4 to 8 years of relevant work experience.
  • An advanced degree is typically comparable to more than ten years of relevant professional experience.

Look at the various levels of education

Job advertisements frequently include information about degree or experience levels. Level 1 is often entry-level or equivalent to the first few years of high school. Level 8 is doctoral-level education. A qualification level describes the knowledge level required or the complexity of a course. It doesn’t specify how long a course was or how many hours an individual worked at a job. These qualification levels take into account a person’s academic success as well as how they use their knowledge and expertise. Below are some details on level 6.

Level 6 includes:

  • Earned credentials at the degree level
  • Possessing a university or college diploma
  • Any four-year degree that does not include honors
  • Honors in a lower degree
  • Possessing the abilities, information, and comprehension necessary to do a knowledge-based job
  • The capacity to create original ideas and research
  • Graduate certificates, diplomas, degrees, apprenticeships, or level 6 NVQ

Examples of degrees equivalent to a bachelor’s

Here are a few instances of qualifications that employers might view as being on par with a bachelor’s degree according to previous professional experience or a mix of prior work experience and schooling.

  • Four years or more of professional-level job experience in accounting may be substituted for a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
  • An associate’s degree and two or more years of professional-level IT job experience may be substituted for a bachelor’s IT degree.
  • A full-time internship for a year and at least three years of high-level professional in the business sector may substitute for a business bachelor’s degree.
  • Four or more years of legal paraprofessional experience may be substituted for a bachelor’s degree in law.

How to Include a Bachelor’s Degree on Your Resume

Include all of your schooling, including your bachelor’s degree, in the portion of your resume devoted to education. There are various approaches to take here, based on how you structure your CV and how late you graduated. Add an extra segment on your resume for an experience if you’ve got the relevant experience to mention. Below is how to write on a resume that you have a bachelor’s degree or relevant experience.

1. Determine the arrangement of the sections

Typically, schooling and work experience are the first two elements of a resume. Choosing the order in which to list your training and professional experience constitutes the initial step. Although you can place your education part either first or second, it’s customary to do so if you haven’t attended college in more than five years. It’s customary to place your experience segment first when you have been working for a while.

2. Compose the section about education.

Your CV should include a section called “Education.” List your academic achievements in order of highest to lowest underneath the title. Typically, degrees are awarded in the following order: doctorate, master’s, bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificates. Include any other academic credentials in the same field if you hold a Ph.D. instead. Add the name of the institution you attended till you graduated, the year you graduated, the campus’s location, and your majors and minors.


Denver, Colorado: University of Denver

2020: Master of Accounting

2018: Business Administration Bachelor of Arts

3. Include a section on an experience

Your CV should also have an “Experience” section. Include your experience, such as internships, voluntary work, jobs, or other strongly outlined professional experiences, underneath the title. This part is typically written in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most current experience. Add details such as the name of the business you worked for, its location, the dates of your employment, your job title, your duties and impact, and any advancements, awards, and acknowledgments you have received.


Bank of Denver | Colorado, CO


June 2017 to August 2019

  • Conducted financial risk analyses and wrote management progress reports.
  • Whenever necessary, sell and redeem US savings bonds.
  • Successfully managed client portfolios and advised on investments.
  • Educated over 20 bank tellers.

Important accomplishment: Since being named a midmarket banking spokesperson, midmarket banking revenue has increased by 20% monthly.

Award: Three times named “Banker of the Month” for outstanding performance.

How to write a cover letter referencing a bachelor’s degree

More information about your schooling than what is listed on your resume is generally preferred by prospective employers and admissions personnel. You might choose to include your bachelor’s degree or describe your similar experience in your cover letter. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Describe how you obtained your degree.

You can go into further depth about the successes, difficulties, or special lessons you discovered while pursuing your bachelor’s degree.

2. Provide information on professional experience

You might highlight the qualities, skills, and knowledge you acquired from your comparable employment, volunteerism, or internship experience.

3. Demonstrate your qualifications

You have the chance to draw attention to and demonstrate your unique qualifications for the post in your cover letter. You can talk about the specific skills you bring to the job as a result of your personal experiences in high school, college, or the profession.

Which of These 5 Academic Degree Styles Is Good for You?

Students can obtain academic degrees by successful completion a variety of postsecondary courses. Although they primarily fall into one of five categories, academic degrees are awarded to students at various educational levels for several subjects.

Categories of academic degrees

Academic degreeTypical completion time
Associate degree2 years
Bachelor’s degree4 years
Master’s degree2 years
Doctoral Degree4 years
Professional DegreeBetween 4 and 7 years

1. Associate’s degrees

The general post-secondary education is usually the emphasis of associate degree programs, which last two years. Certain associate degree programs, nevertheless, are created for students who want to enter occupational training courses right after earning their degree in that field.

Often, universities, state schools, and technical colleges provide these degrees.

These are a few of the most popular associate degree courses:                

  • Associate of Science and Associate of Arts: These degrees are intended to serve as a bridge between high school and a bachelor’s degree.
  • Associate of General Studies (AGS): An AGS may be obtained by a student who is unsure of their preferred job path. Like with an AA or AS, an AGS can be used to enter a bachelor’s degree or be used as proof of broad academic competence in the workplace.
  • Associate of Business Administration (ABA): An ABA can be used to introduce a student to the scholarly business field of study. Students who already have an ABA may be able to jumpstart their bachelor’s degree programs in business.            
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): An ADN is a qualification that serves as an entry qualification for students who want to attend nursing school. For a nurse, an ADN can often replace a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine.

2. Bachelor’s degree

The most popular post-secondary educational option in the country is bachelor’s degree courses. Four years are needed to complete a bachelor’s degree course of study, which is commonly broken down into 2 years of classroom instruction and 2 years of degree-specific coursework. An associate degree holder enrolled in a bachelor’s program may submit an application for their associate’s degree instead of the initial 2 years of their bachelor’s degree program.

These degrees, which span a wide range of specialties and categorize degree courses into majors, are awarded at four-year institutions and public universities.

These are a few of the most popular bachelor’s degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts: The two most popular bachelor’s degrees awarded in the US are the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS). The contrast between a BA and a BS is handled differently by different institutions, but generally speaking, the BA refers to majors that concentrate on the liberal arts while the BS refers to majors that are more technological or engineering orientated. These two fields of study make up the majority of bachelor’s degree majors.
  • Bachelor of General Studies (BGS): A BGS is a designation that is typically awarded to students who finish their four years of undergraduate study in a curriculum with courses that are targeted to their particular abilities and interests while still meeting the basic guidelines for college graduation.
  • Bachelor of Library Science (BLS): The BLS is a specialist bachelor’s degree that is most frequently attained by students who want to go on to study library science at the master’s level.
  • Bachelor of Business Administration: A bachelor’s degree in business administration, or BBA, is a good place to start if you’re interested in working in business administration. Students who earn a BBA degree can either start their careers right away or pursue further education to earn a master’s degree in the field of business administration (MBA).
  • Bachelor of Health Science (BHS): The most popular degree for pre-med courses is the Bachelor of Health Science (BHS), which is most frequently attained by students pursuing a career as a doctor of medicine. Candidates for the profession can also get a BHS degree before enrolling in nursing school.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): The BFA is a degree given to students pursuing training in the performing and visual arts, frequently with a particular concentration like ballet or cinematography. A Master of Fine Arts degree is possible for students to pursue after graduation.

3. Master’s degrees

Master’s degree courses are demanding, two-year academic courses that call for a bachelor’s degree before admission. Master’s degree programs concentrate on particular subjects to enhance a student’s academic or career capabilities. No general education requirements are included in master’s degree programs.

These degrees, which span a wide range of specializations, are awarded at both public and private institutions as well as some colleges.

These are a few of the most popular master’s degree courses:

  • Master of Arts and Master of Science: Similar to how bachelor’s degrees are organized, the majority of specialized master’s degree programs fall into one of two categories: Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS). An MA normally covers specialized subjects that were likely to be studied in a BA, and an MS typically covers subjects that were likely to be taught in a BS.
  • Master of Library Science (MLS): For students interested in a career in document conservation or library and information science, the MLS is a specialist master’s degree.
  • Master of Information System Management (MIS): A master’s degree in information system management (MIS) is intended for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in computer engineering, information systems, or a business-related discipline. The MIS is a course that gives students the equipment they need to operate with technology.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): An MBA is a prestigious degree in business administration. With a considerably better knowledge of business concepts and useful business techniques, graduates with an MBA could immediately seek to start their business careers at a greater level.
  • Master of Health Science (MHS): Before being qualified to register for a medical school’s vocational degree course, a medical student must complete the Master of Health Science (MHS) program.
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA): MFA programs frequently focus on performance rather than academics. Students must have the ability to demonstrate their artistic skills in real-world situations, such as giving performances or organizing their art openings. These degrees frequently contain an art management curriculum.

4. Doctorate degrees

Graduates with a master’s degree can pursue doctorates, which are postgraduate degrees with a specific focus. The highest educational degree one may obtain is a doctorate, and doctoral courses are created to give students the skills and preparation they need to engage in academic research properly and advance their fields of study.

Universities with significant research funding grant doctoral degrees. Ph. Ds make up the great bulk of doctoral degrees awarded in the US. Ph.D. programs are available in a wide range of academic fields and are intended to prepare students for careers in both academia and research. Usually, universities are where these students discover their profession. Governmental organizations and commercial businesses that conduct their research both appreciate Ph.D. holders.

5. Professional qualifications

Programs leading to professional degrees offer professionals who need licenses to practice in their disciplines an option to graduate degrees. Depending on the subject of study, these degrees can be finished in 4 to 7 years. To make it easier for graduates to transition into the workforce, the licensing process is typically included in the coursework for these degrees. In the United States, the majority of professional degree programs demand at least a master’s degree.

Accredited professional colleges with a focus on a particular field of study provide professional degrees. Professional schools may be distinct entities or be affiliated with prestigious universities or institutions.

In the US, the following professional degree courses are most prevalent:

  • Degrees in medicine: Medical schools only accept students who have passed the MCAT as proof of their academic proficiency. Students who are interested in these programs must already have completed pre-med, biology, or a closely similar course of study. Five-year medical degree courses are typical, and they prepare students for their hospital residency following graduation.
  • Law degrees: To be admitted to law school in the United States, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree. Law school prepares students for their state’s board examination, the licensing test that grants a law graduate a practice permit, in addition to learning the history and customs of the legal profession.

What makes an undergraduate degree different from a graduate degree?

Although both of them are included under the general category of “higher education,” they correspond to various levels of qualification. An undergraduate is a student who is enrolled at a university but has not yet earned their first degree. Every student pursuing higher education after receiving their first degree is a postgraduate.

While lectures and team projects are a common part of undergraduate degrees, postgraduate coursework often emphasizes research-based, individual study that leads to a final dissertation. Although this self-directed learning may come as a shock at first, it enables you to specialize in a subject that interests you.


The path to breaking into a subject in which you’ve always had an interest can be paved with a bachelor’s degree, or you can use it to advance your current employment. The first step to getting one is to learn about it. A bachelor’s degree also referred to as a college degree, is an undergraduate degree you can earn by studying a course of your choice at a university. A bachelor’s degree can increase your earning potential, increase your exposure to new ideas, and improve your access to work options.

Frequently Asked Questions on bachelor’s degree or equivalent

  • What qualifies as a bachelor’s degree equivalent?

An undergraduate degree is typically comparable to 4 to 8 years of appropriate professional experience. An advanced degree is typically comparable to ten or more years of relevant professional experience.

  • What is the definition of degree equivalent?

If it reads “or equivalent,” it suggests that the company is searching for a Bachelor’s degree or any combination of education, training, and experience that will allow you to carry out the duties of the position with competence.

  • What does the term “bachelor’s degree” mean?

A bachelor’s degree sometimes referred to as a university degree, is an undergrad degree that you can earn by studying a course of your interest at an accredited university. A bachelor’s degree can increase your earning potential, increase your exposure to new ideas, and improve your access to work options.

  • What is the UK equivalent of a bachelor’s degree?

National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)

The equivalent of a master’s degree is a level 7 NVQ. The equivalent of a bachelor’s degree is a level 6 NVQ. In terms of a bachelor’s degree, levels 4 and 5 correspond to the first and second years, respectively.

  • Can a diploma count as a bachelor’s degree?

a “Diploma,” a credential awarded by a university or the vocational education and training (VET) sector. It usually takes 12 to 18 months of full-time education to finish. In most cases, it is regarded as being equivalent to the initial academic year of a bachelor’s degree when recognized for credit as a component of the degree.

  • Which four categories of degrees are there?

The four main types of college degrees are the doctoral or professional degree, the associate degree, the bachelor’s degree, and the graduate degree.