Associate Degrees and Vocational Training Lead to Higher Median Salaries than Some Bachelor’s Degrees

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Robison Wells

According to a new study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, it has been found that those receiving associates (two year) degrees, vocational training and certificates are more likely to earn more money coming out of school than those with four-year bachelor’s degrees. In the report, titled “The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate’s Degrees: What Students Need to Know Before They Go to College,” the findings were that associates degrees and certificates are more directed to provide a career path for students than those getting bachelors.

Not all associates degrees are created equal, of course. The report found that those earning associates in engineering and architecture were expected to have median earnings approximately twice that of those with associates in the humanities or the arts. Workers with certificates in engineering have median earnings higher than those going into education fields.

So what are the numbers? Certificate holders in engineering technology have a median salary between $70,000 and $150,000. Certificate holders in construction trades have median incomes between $40,000 and $50,000, which is higher than certificate holder in computer science, business management, accounting, healthcare, or education.

These findings bolster the case that many high schools are making to students that trade education can be a quicker path to financial stability than going into other fields. How construction companies can use this information to leverage an increase in the struggling workforce remains to be seen.

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