Idaho Politics Weekly had our pollster, Dan Jones & Associates, ask some interesting questions about how much education one needs to make a success of oneself in Idaho.

And the results may make you smile.

Overall, most folks think education is important in making a success of yourself.

Jones found that 25 percent said education was the most important factor in their work life success.

But on-the-job training was more important – 36 percent said that is what led to their workplace success.

Two percent mentioned a mentor of some kind, and 8 percent said their workplace success came through specialized training or certification.

Sixteen percent said their success came through their own self-acquired skills, like communication and problem solving.

In a series of questions about your education level and what you need to become successful in your work life, Jones found some interesting examples.

By and large, a third to half say you need at least a two-year college associate degree or a bachelor’s degree to really reach your potential.

But there are varied results according to HOW MUCH education you actually have, to HOW MUCH education you think you need to be a success.

And surprisingly so, it appears from Jones’ results.

For example:

  • Of those who have a high school degree only, a scant 16 percent say their high school education is enough to succeed.
  • 25 percent of the high schoolers say you really need a vocation or technical degree to become a success – something they don’t have.
  • 14 percent say you need a two-year college degree, and 20 percent say you need a bachelor’s degree.

Now look at those who have technical or vocational degree, like a plumber:

  • Only 5 percent of them say they didn’t need their degree to succeed, a high school graduation was enough.
  • But 33 percent said they needed their vocational degree to become a success in their work life.
  • 22 percent said they probably needed a two-year degree.
  • And 21 percent said they would need a bachelor’s degree.

So only a third of those with a vocational degree said that was all that was needed for them to be a success.

Take a look at those with a two-year college degree – also known as an associate degree:

  • 20 percent said they would have only needed a vocational degree.
  • 23 percent said they needed the degree they got, a two-year degree.
  • But 35 percent said they probably needed a bachelor’s degree to become successful.

And those with a bachelor’s degree:

  • 10 percent said they would have only needed to graduate from high school to be successful.
  • 17 percent said they would have been successful with just a vocational degree.
  • 6 percent said they could have gotten by with an associate, two-year degree.
  • And 55 percent said they had to have their bachelor’s degree to become a success in their work life.

So clearly those who had a four-year degree believed they needed that education to make it in Idaho.

Now, Jones also asked about a master’s degree and a doctorate degree.

Of those who have a master’s degree, only 14 percent said they needed that degree to be a success.

Fifty-two percent said they only needed a bachelor’s degree to become a success.

And those who had a doctorate degree, well, they are a real surprise:

  • Zero percent of PhDs, or MDs, said they needed such advanced education to become a success in the workplace.

Zero.

  • 16 percent of docs said you only need a vocational degree to be a success.
  • Zero percent said you need a high school or two-year degree.
  • 37 percent said you need a B.A.
  • And 16 percent said you need a master’s degree.

But 31 percent – almost a third of the docs – didn’t know what kind level of education one needed to be a success in Idaho.

Take from this what you will.

But it is clear that most of those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree believe they needed at least a bachelor’s degree to become a success in their work lives.