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Alaska Removes Degree Requirements for State Jobs

A building with columns and a sign that says alaska state capital.

​Alaskans will no longer need a four-year college degree to apply for most state jobs under a new executive order issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. 

The order directs Alaska's Department of Administration to review state job descriptions and determine where practical experience could be used in lieu of the four-year college degree requirement typically asked of applicants. 

We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.

Lack of Workers

Dunleavy ordered the change to address the state's ongoing public workforce shortage. In 2014, the Alaska state government employed 27,300 people, according to state labor data. That number plummeted to 21,900 in December 2022. 

(The Hill)

Pennsylvania Also Made the Change in 2023

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order in January abolishing a college degree requirement for most state government positions. At present, about 70 percent of the state's adult population does not have a bachelor's degree.

(SHRM Online)


Maryland Led the Way

Maryland was the first state to eliminate bachelor's degree requirements for most government jobs in March 2022. Utah followed in December. The trend is shining a spotlight on the value of alternative credentials and experience.

(SHRM Online)

Using Skills Assessments Instead

A significant portion of HR professionals value skills-based hiring assessments, and some would weight them strongly as alternatives to traditional education and experience qualifications, according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management.  

(SHRM Online)

House Approves Skills-Based Hiring Bill

The Chance to Compete Act—legislation that prioritizes candidate evaluations based on knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies while limiting the use of education when determining if someone is qualified for a role—passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 24. The bill also facilitates the use of more robust assessments over the self-assessment questionnaires currently used for nearly all federal jobs.

(SHRM Online)


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.