How do you buy a college degree

What is my degree in Germany worth?

My cousin from USA is visiting us at the moment. He is a student of human medicine and wanted to know what level of education I have. I am a trained industrial clerk and am currently doing further training to become a business administrator - neither of these qualifications meant nothing to my cousin, as he does not seem to have a dual training system and further training based on it in the USA. By "apprenticeship" he understood something like a several weeks internship with apprenticeship, which of course does not do justice to vocational training in Germany. When we explained to him that this kind of training in a company and vocational school would take a total of three years, he thought for a moment and said that my degree as an industrial clerk would most closely match a college degree. However, my cousin could not find an equivalent for the advanced training qualification "Certified Business Administrator" (after all, it also takes another two years extra-occupational).

The next day I happened to be sitting next to my HR manager in the canteen and told him about the conversation I had with my cousin. He then said that my commercial training could not be compared with a "college degree" because US college degrees were basically university degrees. However, my business management degree (which is based on commercial training) would just be equivalent to the Abitur, so there could be no question of a university degree in my professional training.

Now I'm really confused. My cousin is from the USA and ought to know, right? On the other hand, he doesn't know about educational qualifications as well as my HR manager. He, in turn, knows a lot about the German education system, but has never been to the USA.

This question is also of particular importance to me, as I might plan to take time off from my job for 12 months and then do Work & Travel in America as soon as I finish my specialist training in the fall. Could I then really tell US employers that I have a college degree? And what equivalent would my business administration degree have?