Qualified vs Educated

Now, even though this picture is adorable, it does have a point, which I will get back to in a minute.

I have had a lot of time to think this week about qualifications and certifications and education.  What is the difference?  Is one truly better than all the others?

I didn’t graduate with my Associate’s degree.  I am one class away, and I will never go back and take the class to attain said degree.  A lot of people think I am crazy, but with my field of work, an Associate’s won’t get me anything but it will take up space in my closet.  Which I need for all the books I can’t fit on my 3 bookshelves haha.

Graduation gives you a sense of accomplishment.  But what does that truly mean?  You were able to write papers that your teachers agreed with, learned some math and science, and were able to pass higher education.  If you are lucky, you have a job right out of college that pertains to your degree.  If you aren’t, you are stuck with a degree you can’t use and debt that is stacking up.

So, here is my question.  What does it truly matter?

In our society, college is looked at with the highest respect.  Some colleges more than others, but that’s a different subject.  They are the source of learning and they help kids become the adults they desire to be.

This doesn’t appeal to me AT ALL.  But, I also have a career goal where college isn’t an option.  I truly don’t need it, because I am learning hands on.

Anyway, back to topic.

When you graduate, you get a great diploma, and a degree which you can put on resumes or hang on your wall to show your friends.  This one piece of paper help employers have more respect for you, and also lets them know that you were able to commit to school for however long you were there.

But what does it mean if you didn’t go to college, or you didn’t get the diploma?

In our society it means a lot.  Quite a few jobs will hire someone that went and graduated from college before they will hire someone that didn’t.  It is seen as something better employees do and things like this.

The one problem: People that graduate college have ZERO skills or experience.

This is where the fine line of qualified vs educated comes into play.

When someone says they are educated, a lot of people think that that is automatically the best way to go.  They rarely care about what experience that person has or what they did in college.  All that matters is that they were educated.

And when someone is qualified but not as educated as the afore mentioned person, they are looked down on.  Like they couldn’t figure out how to go to school so they had to work to get where they are.  Like work is truly a bad thing.

In my Certification post, I had a lot of interesting comments.  A lot were on the post, some were on cafemom and some on facebook and twitter.  It seems that the overall consensus was certification is truly the way to go so people know you truly know what you are doing and aren’t just a bum that learned how to help women.

And this is why I truly hate certification.

When people see you have a degree, it automatically raises you a bar in their mine.  And without that degree, you are shot down a little more.

Doulas are trained by either doing a distance learning course or going to a 3 day workshop where they learn for about 24 hours.

Now, I might be crazy, but why would that make someone qualified to be a doula?  Why would paying for a course and then coming home more “educated” truly help you be a better doula?

A piece of paper does not a good doula make.

In our society, we are so hung up on education, we forget to ask ourselves how qualified the person is for the job or position.  When we hear that education didn’t happen, or they didn’t go through with a certification course, we automatically assume that it would be bad form to hire them and also assume that they cannot do the job better than someone that is certified or educated.

In the birth field, the first thing I hear from a lot of women is the question, “So what training have you had and are you certified?”

Which both seem like ridiculous questions when put together in one sentence.  Someone can be certified but truly have no training, and another person could be trained better than anyone else but not be certified.

Why do we automatically cross out people just because of some silly certification that any Tom, Dick, or Harry can attain by paying $350 and driving somewhere for three days?

When you look at this picture, what do you see?

Four chicks and then a loner?  The one that didn’t make the cut?

I see four chicks that were educated and graduated with the system, and one that decided they didn’t need to.  One that decided to go its own way, and learn firsthand how to live and work.  One that trusted the skills they had, and went with them.

I work with a Traditional Midwife.  She trained with two midwives during her apprenticeship and then spent two and a half weeks in the Philippines helping moms have babies so she could see first hand problems that rarely occur in America.  And she is the most knowledgeable and able bodied midwife I have ever met.

She trusts the body knows best more than any midwife I have met in this entire state.  When she is at a birth, she only helps as much as she is needed so she doesn’t hinder the process she is trying to help.

And yet, people would automatically assume she doesn’t know as much as another midwife that had the CPM after their name.

This needs to change.

There truly is a difference between qualified and educated.  Sometimes these go hand in hand.  Other times, they are very far apart.

Certified does not make you a good worker.  This does not make you care more about women.  This does not help the situation.  All this does is keep everything going in a loop so that education beats qualifications every time.

And it truly makes me sad that even with my friends, certification beats out qualification every day.

Next time, instead of asking for qualification or education, get to know the person.  Find out how they feel about the subject.  See how much experience they have had and try to feel a connection with this person.

How comfortable you feel with someone carries a lot more weight than a name on a piece of paper no one truly cares about.


15 Responses

  1. Great post! 🙂

    Very true, I’ve been thinking about this recently since the last post that you did about certification, and I do think given 2 names, without knowing the people, one is certified, the other not, I would choose the certified. So I think you are right, it is important to get to know the person/people how they act, their beliefs and values, their knowledge of birth and the birth process, before making a decision. I know a person I work with or 2, that even though they are qualified to be a registered midwife, I would not let them near me in a fit!!!

    I’ll certainly keep the whole person in mind next time, as opposed to who as the qualifications.

  2. I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone on qualification, especially a doula ! You do an amazing and no amount of Reading books can give you what you need to be a great doula. Like you said, you could be a really bad doula but have the qualifications and visa versa. I’d happily have a doula that is trained but not qualified, qualifications don’t define how good you are at your job. I bet your an amazing doula so please don’t let anyone tell you different ! 🙂 x

    Cara x

  3. Thank you another wonderful post.

    We both come similar places. After I took my DONA (doula) intensive 3-day weekend training, and completed 90% of the requirements, plus many many more things on my own, I still didn’t feel ‘ready’ to be a doula, at all. I was an ‘aspiring doula’. I felt little support from my organizing body, and didn’t know which way to go to get those last few hands on knowledge without paying more money. Other doulas wouldn’t let me shadow them, there was a little while that I was so excited to get on with my love of doulaing, but felt doors weren’t open.

    I signed up for more DONA training, this time a 12 week series of classes. Again, it was great written knowledge, but we spent maybe 4 hours in total on labour positions and comfort measures. Anyways, I’m getting long winded, by point is, not all certifiable training suits each person. Even in a formal college, once you know how to pass the class, you can do that work instead of truly learning.

    As a doula, you can have a 3 day course of training and that can be enough training to get you hiered over and over again and live a working doulas life. It isn’t the wrong path, just not the one for me. Or you can take loads of classes, attend as many births as possible, seek out knowledge, shadow others, be involved.

    The reading list for DONA certification is laughable. I know they don’t say your learning stops after the course, but after someone gets their diploma that drive to finish said course material can be lost.

    My drive to learn, is my love of being a highly self educated doula. I am always learning more and pushing myself further BECAUSE I am not certified. I can’t meet up with the Jones’, I have to be more and learn more constantly to be able to be treated the same as someone with a piece of paper. I am not able to attend 2-3 births a month like I used to, so I’m using this lull in my journey to build education.

    Anyways, there are pros and cons to both. I don’t think either one is ‘better’ or ‘worst’.

    I am qualified to be a doula. I am just not certified by an unsupportive board who ask for more and more money, for what, I am not sure.

  4. After reading my comment over, I want to clarify that I am NOT implying that DONA trained doulas (or any other board) do not seek out knowledge and continue learning. Just that is some of my experience I’ve had.

    I would also like to point out, for some that might not know, doulas preform NOT medical tasks but provide physical and emotional support to labour women.

    I think it is pretty darn difficult for a doctor to judge whether our role was valuable to the labouring women, since they have such little training/experience in assisting a womans emotional needs (this is part of DONA certification, being evaluated by nurses/doctors). One of my births, I got rated 2 out of 5 by an OBGYN (fail grade), but the women felt exactly the opposite. These are hurdles put up by an organization that don’t make sense. I am NOT the doctors assistant, but the womans doula!

    • Ok seriously, you are like my favorite person ever!!!!!!

      That was one of the reasons I did not want to certify to begin with. I don’t feel my job is to be judged by people that aren’t ever in the room and ones that think I am just in the way. I was there for the woman, not the doctor or nurse.

      And I agree about the continual learning. I know a few doulas that are like me and still read everything they come in contact with, but the majority, once they get their certification, feel they know all they need to since they passed, and just go with what they have.

      Not that that is a bad thing, but when you work in a field that is constantly changing, you need to constantly learn to work with it or help people learn how they can work with or against it.

      But, that is why I love BAI. Once you are certified, that’s it. No membership fees or renewal fees or anything. It is about how you want to be a doula or whatever you are training with them for. I’m still not sure if I want to completely get certified, but I am for sure gonna take the course :).

      Again, your comments rock Amber!!

  5. When I first started out, my plan was to get certified with DONA once and never renew.

    Then I could toot the certification horn, and unless someone called DONA and specifically asked if I held a current certification, no one would know.

    But that is beside the point. I just had to share that one with someone I know will get a giggle.

  6. I look at this differently because I value education AND experience both (I think there’s a disconnect here between qualified and experienced.)

    I personally only look to those who have both the experience and the education because I think they are complimentary. It doesn’t matter how experienced a midwife is, if she doesn’t have the education to decipher the latest studies about the medicines she’s using, then she’s not ever going to have the knowledge base of someone who can read those studies. I also think that no matter what one reads in a text book, if they cannot apply it in real life, then it does no good.

    I think that education and certification takes a level of commitment that I admire. People are always telling me that grades don’t matter, but these are usually people who never went to school and didn’t get good grades. You’d have to sit through college level statistics courses, or speaking courses, or biology, to understand how much of that is not going to be learned in the field. But like I said, that’s not ALL that matters, but it does matter for the total package.

    • Agreed! But, I think there is a difference between not hiring just because the person didn’t finish a certification and not hiring someone because they truly don’t have the education to understand the field.

  7. I both agree and disagree with your post. I disagree with the statement that people who graduate college have ZERO experience. I feel that this really depends on the person & where they go to school. When I graduated college I had a TON of experience, as did most of my peers. I knew there was no way I’d be able to get into my Masters’ program without it, and my university really pushed hands on learning, no matter the degree. When I went to my Master of Public Health program, I felt like I knew enough from my undergrad experience to be able to go to work, and I was frustrated at needing another degree. Once I got started studying though, I learned some theory that I wouldn’t have been able to pick up as well from books. Since graduation, I have noticed a stark difference in those who work in my field without the MPH and those who have the MPH, and I’m very glad I did get the degree. There are other occupations where I would want to see that education as well, like with a doctor. So on that end, I do believe a combination of experience and education is important.

    However, I also see your point about experience being more important in some fields. I think of doulary (my made up word, lol) as being an art form. I personally care most about my connection with the doula, because her primary role is to be my support during labor, right? The textbook education comes secondary to me. But, like Gina said, I think certification is still important. I don’t know with a doula if I would necessarily picked the woman with certification over the one without, but being honest, in many other jobs/fields I would.

  8. Funny, the people who are always putting down college degrees are the people who don’t have one.

    A degree is important. It says something about you. It shows people that you were consistent – you finished something you started. It suggests that you are at a certain level in regards to your education – a level that is measurable.

    Can a person who doesn’t have a degree be intelligent and knowledgeable about their profession? Absolutely. Can a person who has graduated college be incompetent? Sure.

    But if there are two employees/ midwives /or whatever and they both appear to be competent capable people, I’m going to choose the one with the degree every time. I think that is how most people feel.

  9. In your words:

    “The one problem: People that graduate college have ZERO skills or experience.”

    So yeah, you were putting down people with a college degree. Sounds like a case of sour grapes to me.

    • Most people that get associate’s or bachelors learn how to pass their classes, but have no experience in the field they are graduating into. A lot of colleges and fields aren’t this way, but most are. My husband will be getting his bachelor’s this year and has no actual work experience in his field.

      I have nothing against college. I had a 4.0 and then had my daughter, so I took a semester off, but it didn’t feel right to graduate, so I didn’t.

      Getting that one class wouldn’t have gotten me any experience. All I knew how to do was pass my classes and write what the teachers wanted me to write.

      I have actually written posts about this.

      Anyway, next time you go through someone’s post, read the whole thing, don’t just pounce on them for one sentence. Try to understand what they are trying to say, since emotion doesn’t come through well with typed words.

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