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Education that "allows direct entry to skilled or semi-skilled work" is one of the variables used in the medical-vocational guideines. It rarely comes up, but I had a case last month where the claimant recently completed vocational training for medical billing (apparently, a growing field). That education allows direct entry to skilled work. If that skilled work is within the claimant's RFC, that recent education can destroy an otherwise favorable result.

This rarely comes up for a few reasons:. 

  1. The education must be recent. Your 30-year old college degree or the cosmetology course you took after high school is not sufficient.
  2. The target skilled job must be within your RFC. So if you do not have the work capacity for the skilled work, then the education does not matter.
  3. The guidelines only direct a favorable result for those age 50 or over. For those under 50, the guidelines alone direct a finding of "not disabled" for claimants with physical impairments who can write and speak in English.

Nevertheless, a person without transferable job skills who would otherwise grid favorably at step 5 using the medical-vocational guidelines, can lose at step 5 due to recent education that allows direct entry to skilled or semi-skilled work. It is worth keeping in mind, because it does come up now and then.