Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - Labor Market Information Center

Level of Education Typically Needed for Entry - Technical Notes

The level of education typically needed for entry into each occupation, which was used to tabulate the employment projections and occupational wage data by educational category as presented on the LMIC website, was determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS analysts assigned one of the typical education needed for entry levels to each detailed Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) occupation in the 2010 - 2020 national occupational employment projections.

The typical education needed for entry category best describes the typical level of education that most workers need to enter the occupation. The BLS analysts assigned each occupation one of the following eight education levels.

BLS Typical Education Needed for Entry Categories

Less than high school. This category signifies the completion of any level of primary or secondary education that did not result in the award of a high school diploma or equivalent. Examples of occupations in this category include janitors and cleaners, cashiers, and carpet installers.

High school diploma or equivalent. This category signifies the completion of high school or an equivalent program resulting in the award of a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as the General Educational Development (GED) credential. Examples of occupations in this category include social and human service assistants and pharmacy technicians.

Some college, no degree*. This category signifies the achievement of a high school diploma or equivalent plus the completion of one or more postsecondary courses that did not result in a degree or award. Examples of occupations in this category are actors and computer support specialists. Some postsecondary nondegree award programs last only a few weeks, while others may last one to two years. Examples of occupations in this category include nursing aides, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, and hairstylists.

Postsecondary non-degree award*. These programs lead to a certificate or other award, but not a degree. The certificate is awarded by the educational institution and is the result of completing formal postsecondary schooling. Certification which is issued by a professional organization or certifying body is not included here.

Associate degree. Completion of this degree usually requires at least two years but not more than four years of full-time academic study beyond high school. Examples of occupations in this category include mechanical drafters, respiratory therapists and dental hygienists.

Bachelor's degree. Completion of this degree generally requires at least four years but not more than five years of full-time academic study beyond high school. Examples of occupations in this category include budget analysts, dietitians and civil engineers.

Master's degree. Completion of this degree usually requires one or two years of full-time academic study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Examples of occupations in this category include statisticians, physician assistants, and educational, vocational, and school counselors.

Doctoral or professional degree. Completion of a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) usually requires at least three years of full-time academic work beyond a bachelor’s degree. Completion of a professional degree usually requires at least three years of full- time academic study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Examples of occupations for which a professional degree is the typical form of entry-level education include lawyers, physicians and surgeons, and dentists.

*Please note, because of a very limited number of occupations in the "some college, no degree" category, LMIC analysts combined occupations in this category with those occupations in the "postsecondary, non-degree award" category for tabulations of the South Dakota employment projections and wage data. The resulting categories are as follows:

South Dakota Typical Education Needed for Entry Categories

Less than high school
High school diploma or equivalent
Some postsecondary education (less than associate degree)
Associate degree
Bachelor's degree
Masters degree
Doctoral or professional degree

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Marcia Hultman, Secretary
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184