Do Jobs Ask For Proof of Degree?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Whether you have a degree, have completed some college but didn't graduate, or are currently working towards a degree, you may be wondering, “Do jobs ask for proof of degree?” Explore the answer to that question and more.

[Featured image] A woman in her cap and gown holds her diploma and smiles after getting her bachelor’s degree with her classmates.

A college degree may not be necessary for every job, but it can boost your resume and give you an advantage over other applicants. Employers will typically look at the education section, especially if your education is relevant to the job you are applying for, and they may ask you questions about it during an interview. 

As you apply for jobs you may wonder, do jobs ask for proof of degree, or do they take your word for it? This article will explore the answer to that question, why and how employers verify education, and how you should present your education when submitting your resume or participating in a job interview. 

Read more: What Is a Bachelor’s Degree? Requirements, Costs, and More

Do jobs ask for proof of degree?  

According to a 2022 survey conducted by, 53 percent of senior management staff members always verify a job candidate's education credentials, while 24 percent do sometimes, and 23 percent say they do not. The title of the degree is the most verified information, followed by graduation year, name of school, grades, and specific coursework. While employers across all industries might verify your educational background, the survey suggests it's more common in computer and IT, business and finance, health care, and education. These industries usually have more specific requirements for their employees [1]. 

Why do employers need to verify your education?  

An employer might verify your education to determine whether you're qualified for the job. Many jobs require candidates to possess certain degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Some may also want to verify that you have specific skills or have taken certain courses. Others may want to confirm that you have the determination and perseverance to set and stick to a goal.  

Many employers do it to see just how trustworthy a candidate is. According to the same survey from, 52 percent of hiring managers want to verify that candidates are honest about their credentials, and nine in 10 report having discovered that a candidate lied about their educational background [1]. Unfortunately, many candidates may exaggerate their information, and some even rely on diploma mills or businesses that sell falsified diplomas, degrees, and certificates to consumers. Doing so can indicate that a candidate isn't honest or trustworthy and may not align with company values. 

Read more: What Is Accreditation? Guide to Accreditation and Alternatives

How do employers verify your education? 

If your employer does choose to verify your education, they may go about it in several ways, that might include:

  • Performing educational background checks: Your potential employer enlists a third-party verification company to perform an education background check.   

  • Asking you to present a copy of your diploma: Your potential employer may ask you to bring in a copy of your diploma and add it to your file. 

  • Contacting your school: Your potential employer contacts the school themselves to verify that you graduated from there. 

  • Having you send a copy of your transcript: Your potential employer requests that you have your school send an official sealed copy of your transcript.  

  • Taking a skills assessment: Your potential employer looks for signs that you have the skills and knowledge your degree would provide while conducting a job interview. 

  • Having you take a test: Your potential employer issues an exam that tests your skills and knowledge before hiring you. 

  • Researching your social media: Your potential employer searches your social media presence for signs that you have the degree you say you do.    

What information can your employee find through an educational background check? 

When an employer performs an educational background check, they may want to know if you have your degree, or they may want other information. You'll need to provide your full name, name and address of the school, dates attended, title of the degree, and signed authorization allowing the employer to perform the background check. In turn, they can find out: 

  • Whether you attended that school

  • The accreditation of that school

  • The title of any degree, diploma, or certificate you earned

  • Your major 

  • Years attended, and the year you graduated

  • Specific courses you may or may not have taken 

  • Your overall grade point average (GPA) and the grades you made in your courses 

How to list your degree on your resume  

Whether or not your potential employer requires you to have a degree, you'll still want to list it on your resume. Having any postsecondary education may set you apart from other candidates, show off your skills, or help you earn more money.

Create a separate education section with the most recent or prominent school attended listed at the top. The details employers are looking for include the school’s name, your attendance dates, your major, and the precise degree you earned. Beyond that, you can include any awards or honors you earned, your GPA (usually only if it was 3.5 or above), and any other relevant information.  

When you create the education section of your resume, you'll typically want to place it at the bottom or below any professional experience you might have. You can make an exception to this rule if you are a recent graduate or don't yet have professional experience. Your potential employer wants to scan it for important information rather than read every detail of your college career. 

How to list an unfinished degree on your resume   

If you don't have a degree but still have some postsecondary education, you can also list that on your resume, particularly if any of your completed courses are relevant to the job for which you applied. List the school's name and dates attended, and then list any relevant courses completed or the number of credit hours you've completed. 

If you are still in school, list the name of your school, the type of degree you're working towards, and your intended graduation date. If you don't have a degree, and your education isn't relevant to the job, you can always omit it and focus on your professional credentials. 

How to answer interview questions about your education   

Typically, interviewers will ask you directly about your education. Having your response prepared, whether you have a degree or not, can help you create a positive impression. Consider some sample interview questions to gain insight into how you might answer them. 

Read more: How to Prepare for an Interview

1. Tell me about your education.  

An interviewer may ask this to verify your education and to know you better. Start your answer with your most recent or relevant educational experience, describe how it's relevant to the job, and, if applicable, discuss how you plan to continue your education. 

2. Why don't you have a bachelor's degree? 

If you didn't go to college or didn't finish, an interviewer may ask this to assess important workplace skills, such as decision-making, and whether you are goal-oriented and committed. Stay confident and positive when you respond. Explain what you did instead, such as going straight into the workforce, traveling, caring for sick loved ones, or raising a family. Describe how you gained invaluable skills through those experiences that you can apply to the job.  

3. How has your education prepared you for this job? 

Interviewers want to know how your experiences have prepared you for the available role, particularly if the connection isn't obvious. In this case, talk about specific experiences, courses, or skills you gained that you can bring to the job.

No matter the question the interviewer asks you, apply these tips:  

  • Be honest, proud, and confident, no matter your level of education.

  • Go beyond simply reciting what's listed on your resume.

  • Mention awards, extracurricular activities, skills gained, or courses taken that make you look good. 

  • Mention any additional training or education you have, especially if you don't have a degree. 

  • Talk about future education plans you have, both formal and informal.  


Getting started with Coursera 

No matter your level of education, preparing for your job interview can lead to success. Consider preparing yourself for your new career by taking some Coursera courses, such as Career Planning: A Pathway to Employment offered by the University System of Georgia, The Art of the Job Interview offered by Big Interview, or Successful Interviewing offered by the University of Maryland. Upon completing the courses, gain a shareable Professional Certificate to include in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile.

Article sources

  1. "Is Your College Degree Worth It? - Half of Hiring Managers Don't Check Education Credentials," Accessed April 4, 2024. 

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