Everybody knows that to get a good job, you need to get a good education.
But that education doesn’t necessarily entail a college degree, finds a new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Earning a “certificate,” which can take less than a year to complete, might prove more valuable than traditional degrees, according to the study.
Community colleges or “for-profit” colleges often offer certificate programs, explains Andrew Hansen, research analyst at the Georgetown center. But instead of studying a variety of subjects as one would for a traditional college degree, students pursuing certificates focus on a particular skill within fields like metalworking, office management and electronics.
For instance, certificates for sonogram technology or clinical data management are available within the healthcare field.
But not all certificates guarantee a good-paying job, asserts Hansen. “The value of the certificate is tied to being in the right field,” he explains/
On average, workers with certificates earn 20 percent more than workers with only high school diplomas. However, men show a better premium for holding certificates, earning on average 27 percent more than male high school graduates. Women certificate holders have an average pay that’s 16 percent higher than female high school graduates. The gender discrepancy is typically due to men being drawn to the higher paying fields, says Hansen.
“By far the best paying jobs are in information technology,” says Hansen. The report finds that male certificate holders who work in computer and information services earn $72,498 per year, while women certificate holders in that field average $56,664 annually.
Before enrolling, investigate what percent of graduates are actually obtaining jobs and what those jobs pay, suggests Hansen. Some community colleges partner with local business in crafting the training, he adds, and that usually means that certificate graduates are in high demand.
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