Virginia is latest state no longer requiring college degrees for government jobs

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced he would eliminate "degree requirements, preferences or both for almost 90% of state classified positions.”

State joins a growing trend of states that includes Pennsylvania, Utah, and Maryland

Virginia is the latest in a movement of states no longer requiring degrees for most state jobs.

On May 30, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced a “landmark change in how state agencies will recruit and compete for talent by eliminating degree requirements, preferences or both for almost 90% of state classified positions.”

“The new Commonwealth hiring practices will expand opportunities for Virginians and give equal consideration to all qualified job applicants,” the announcement states.

“This landmark change in hiring practices for our state workforce will improve hiring processes, expand possibilities and career paths for job seekers and enhance our ability to deliver quality services,” Youngkin stated, adding that last month, labor force participation in the state had hit a nearly ten-year record high.

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“Virginia is the latest in a growing number of state governments to elevate the value of work experience and its new prominence in the future of America’s workforce,” the announcement goes on to say. “On average, Virginia state agencies advertise over 20,000 job opportunities each year.”

This change is set to take effect on July 1, 2023.

Youngkin’s announcement follows a trend of states implementing similar changes. In January, Campus Reform reported that Pennsylvania had eliminated degree requirements for 92% of its government jobs.  

Previously, in December of 2022, Campus Reform reported that Utah eliminated degree requirements for 98% of state jobs. This followed Maryland, which eliminated degree requirements for many of its jobs in March of 2022.

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However, this trend is not only spreading to state governments. In an April analysis report, Campus Reform noted that this trend may be making its way to Congress.

In an event titled “Skills over Status: The Shift Toward Skills-Based Hiring,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, Chairwoman of the the House Committee on Education and The Workforce, “discussed Congress’ refocusing on technical education over four-year colleges.”

“For far too long, we have perpetuated the idea that obtaining a baccalaureate degree is the pinnacle of success,” Rep. Foxx stated. “More and more, people are waking up to the fact that America is transitioning to a skills-based economy and skills-based programs are the key to remaining competitive in the future.”

Campus Reform has reached out to all individuals and entities named for comment and will update accordingly.