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Old 22.11.2009, 11:54
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Recognition of US degree

Hi,

this query doesn't quite fit in this category but it's relevant to getting a job and a work permit.

I have a degree from a university in the USA and I need to get it recognised in Switzerland. I have contacted the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities and the Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology to get some information, but both organisations sent them a form to complete in German, French or Italian and they ask me which language I'd like the letter of recommendation in.

I don't speak any of the official languages in Switzerland and I'm really stuck with these forms as they don't exist in English.

Does anyone have any experience or advice to give regarding this matter?

Regards,

Roula
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Old 22.11.2009, 12:09
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Re: Recognition of US degree

There is no automatic recognition of diplomas /degrees between USA and Switzerland.

If you want to study in Switzerland, it is the institution where you want to study that will decide how to evaluate your diploma /degree to admit you to the studies.

If you want to work here, it is the company that will decide how it will evaluate your diploma/degree.

Now the Federal office for professional education and technology in Bern, (OPET) can, (only upon request), evaluate your diploma/degree and make a comparison to what it corresponds in Switzerland so that you can have a paper giving the value of your degree here in Switzerland, but this process costs (I don't know how much) and takes some time.

When I was reading your post, I assumed you don't have a job yet. If by now you don't read and understand either french, german or italian, it wil be very hard to get a job here, and to integrate. If you could take some german/french/italian class before comming to Switzerland it would make things more easy, espacially if you are on your own here. good luck!
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Old 22.11.2009, 13:13
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Re: Recognition of US degree

Thanks for the reply.

I won't be studying in Switzerland, I will be looking for work in Accounting/Finance area (but not Auditing).

I've no objection to learning the local language but I can't decide which one now as I don't know where I will find a job. And that's why I can't decide which language I should get the letter of recommendation in.

I thought I should get my degree recognised first as it a lengthy process and then start applying. Do you think it is absolutely necessary to get my degree recognised since I will only apply to international English speaking companies?

Any advise would be much appreciated!

Roula
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Old 22.11.2009, 13:31
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Re: Recognition of US degree

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I thought I should get my degree recognised first as it a lengthy process and then start applying. Do you think it is absolutely necessary to get my degree recognised since I will only apply to international English speaking companies?

Any advise would be much appreciated!

Roula
No, you do not need to get your degrees recognized at all. Companies are able to estimate how good you are educated... and you are not the first expat here

just apply.
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Old 22.11.2009, 14:51
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Re: Recognition of US degree

Oh I see, I don't have to do anything then.

Thank you for clarifying.

Roula
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Old 22.11.2009, 14:55
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Re: Recognition of US degree

Just to confirm. No need for having a degree formallz recognized.
I was just hired without providing anything. I believe I may have handed in a photocopy of my US degree at some point, but i think that was even just a formality.

raoul
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Old 22.11.2009, 15:00
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Re: Recognition of US degree

In Switzerland, degrees do not have the importance they have in the USA. Many employers will not even be interested in what degrees you have. They want to know what you are able to do. I've seen enough people with showy degrees whose practical skills were below the freezing point.
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Old 22.11.2009, 15:59
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Re: Recognition of US degree

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In Switzerland, degrees do not have the importance they have in the USA. Many employers will not even be interested in what degrees you have. They want to know what you are able to do. I've seen enough people with showy degrees whose practical skills were below the freezing point.
1. I fully agree that there are highly educated people who completely fail in the work place. Many.

2. I fully disagree that degrees are just a formality here. While I agree to your personal view on how things should be, from my experience degrees as well as reference letters are terribly important in Switzerland. (And I come from Germany where the same is true, but not on the same extreme level).

The larger international companies the OP is looking at receive hundreds of applications for a job, especially this year, and need to narrow it down to 3-5 which get an interview. This is usually done by some pretty junior folks who got a check list with rather formal requirements (they cannot judge the quality of a work experience based on a reference, they seem to look at the title and weather or not the former employer is on their check list as well). So make sure to attach any reference and degree you have to your application.
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Old 22.11.2009, 16:19
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Re: Recognition of US degree

The need for degree recognition depends on your profession. Certain regulated professions, e.g. nursing, require formal recognition of pertinent degrees.
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Old 22.11.2009, 17:23
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Re: Recognition of US degree

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1. I fully agree that there are highly educated people who completely fail in the work place. Many.

2. I fully disagree that degrees are just a formality here. While I agree to your personal view on how things should be, from my experience degrees as well as reference letters are terribly important in Switzerland. (And I come from Germany where the same is true, but not on the same extreme level).

The larger international companies the OP is looking at receive hundreds of applications for a job, especially this year, and need to narrow it down to 3-5 which get an interview. This is usually done by some pretty junior folks who got a check list with rather formal requirements (they cannot judge the quality of a work experience based on a reference, they seem to look at the title and weather or not the former employer is on their check list as well). So make sure to attach any reference and degree you have to your application.
I admit I didn't realize the OP mentioned "only [...] international English speaking companies," which almost automatically also means "big." Of course you are right in that big companies with lots of applications often have to do the primary screening based on reference letters and degrees. What I wrote applies to small companies that can use common sense.

Apart from that, I was referring also to another aspect which may be totally unknown to many Americans: There are many positions that do not require a degree at all, and often human resources managers even prefer the more practice-oriented educations, for instance a KV accountant may outdo a graduated economist.

Needless to say, I didn't want to make the OP believe that attaching references and degrees doesn't make sense. It just won't matter much if they are accompanied by official recognition documents or the like.
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Old 22.11.2009, 22:56
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Re: Recognition of US degree

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The need for degree recognition depends on your profession. Certain regulated professions, e.g. nursing, require formal recognition of pertinent degrees.
I did actually read in the OPET site that for regulated professions you will need to get your degree recognised.

Accounting/Finance (except Auditing) is not regulated so I don't need to do anything. Do correct me if I'm wrong here!

Thanks to everyone for the input.
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Old 22.11.2009, 23:15
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Re: Recognition of US degree

I know plenty of people in the financial industry in Zurich that are trying to get US certificates like the CFA. So you really do not need to worry if your US education is accepted and to my knowledge you will not need to get your degrees recognized as an accountant.
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