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Credentialism is a reliance on formal qualifications or certifications to determine whether someone is permitted to undertake a task or to speak as an expert.[1]

An employer may require a diploma, professional license or academic degree, say, for a job which can be done perfectly well applying skills acquired through experience or informal study.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Credentialism." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2014 from

Further reading[edit]

  • "". 
  • Brown, D. (2001) The Social Sources of Educational Credentialism: Status Cultures, Labour Markets and Organisations. Sociology of Education Extra Issue 2001; 19-34. Available at:

  • Randall Collins, The Credential Society: An Historical Sociology of Education and Stratification, Academic Press, 1979.
  • Charles D. Hayes, Proving You're Qualified: Strategies for Competent People without College Degrees, Autodidactic Press, 1995.
  • Charles Derber, William A. Schwartz, Yale Magrass, Power in the Highest Degree: Professionals and the Rise of a New Mandarin Order, Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • John McKnight, The Careless Society: community and its counterfeits, New York, BasicBooks, 1995.
  • Meehl, P.E., Credentialed persons, credentialed knowledge. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 4, 91-98, 1997.
  • Robert S. Mendelsohn, Confessions of a Medical Heretic, Chicago: Contemporary books, 1979.
  • Ivan Illich, Irving K. Zola, John McKnight, Disabling Professions, 1977.
  • Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society, 1971.
  • Woodward, Orrin & Oliver DeMille 'LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up & Lead" Grand Central Publishing 2013