The eLearning revolution is in full swing. In recent weeks, online education start-up Coursera, announced new partnerships with a dozen major universities across the globe. Last May, edX, a joint venture between MIT and Harvard, was announced to the public. Moreover, the popular rise of such sites as Khan Academy and Academic Earth in recent years have redefined the online learning landscape and set in motion the industry growth that we observe today.

Education in the technological age is readily accessible through the click of a mouse, or more appropriately, the swipe of an iPad. The workforce is more knowledgeable, and up-to-date with the changing tides of the global marketplace. There is Khan Academy for high school and introductory-level students; Coursera, edX, and Academic Earth for higher education, and platforms such as OpenSesame and Lynda for professional development.

Careers that we once assumed to require little relevant classroom education are now filled by the best and the brightest. Here are seven professions in today’s workplace that now demand a education.


Photo used under Creative Commons from David Shankbone

James Franco’s perpetual education has been widely publicized in recent years, with admissions to programs at UCLA, Columbia, cross-town NYU and Brooklyn College, Warren Wilson College, Yale, RISD, the University of Houston, and even Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to make this Hermione-like course-juggling all possible.


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Model and actress Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton University in 1987 with a degree in French Literature. Visitors at the Mudd Manuscript Library on the Princeton campus can find Shield’s senior thesis, titled The Initiation: From Innocence to Experience: The Pre-Adolescent/Adolescent Journey in the Films of Louis Malle, ‘Pretty Baby’ and ‘Lacombe Lucien.’


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After graduating from Yale as part of the Class of 1995, Demetri Martin turned down admission from Harvard Law School. Martin later enrolled in NYU’s law program on a full scholarship.


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Star of NBC’s Community, Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino, studied at NYU prior to embarking on his rapping career. Similarly, lyrical-Renaissance man Ludacris graduated summa cum laude from Georgia State University.

Singing about Oxford Commas

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Author of the hit single “Oxford Commas,” indie rock group Vampire Weekend met while studying at Columbia University (“in the City of New York” as they will have you know).

Conspiring an elaborate plot to overthrow the Dean of a community college

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Glover’s co-star and star of The Hangover, Ken Jeong completed his undergraduate studies at Duke University before obtaining a medical degree at the University of North Carolina…now surely shunned by both tribes. Before pursuing his acting career, Jeong was a practicing physician.

Queen of Naboo/Senator in the Galactic Republic

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Our beloved Princess Padmé (Natalie Portman) graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is the published author of articles found in two scientific journals. Portman went on to pursue graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Comedic antics aside, the truth is that the demands of the job market have soared. To remain competitive in the marketplace, you must keep your skillset relevant. Though you may not aspire to raise an army of pre-teen campus PD officers or an extremely intelligent chimp that starts an ape uprising, the accessibility of education in the age of information can either aid that those that actively seek to broaden their knowledge base or handicaps those that do not take the initiative to actively pursue further knowledge.