Report: In Texas, First-Year Income of Certificate Holders Can Exceed Earnings of Those with Associates or Bachelors

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) April 26, 2013

A report comparing the first-year earnings of graduates with two-year and four-year degrees as well as those with masters and certificates from public colleges and universities in Texas finds that the median first-year earnings of certificate holders often exceeds those of graduates from associates programs. In some cases, those with certificates earn above $ 70,000 or $ 30,000 more than the statewide median for bachelors degree holders.

The report, “Higher Education Pays: The Initial Earnings of Graduates of Texas Public Colleges and Universities Who Are Working in Texas,” was prepared by College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Matrix Knowledge Group. The study was funded by the Lumina Foundation. College Measures President, Mark Schneider, presented the results to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in Austin, Texas on April 25.

Three aspects of this report merit special attention, said Schneider, president of College Measures and a Vice President at AIR. First is the high labor market value of a technical associates degree. Second, the data show that certificates can be a pathway to high paying jobs. And third, graduates who earned a bachelors from most Texas campuses have roughly the same first-year earnings on average regardless of the prestige of the school.

Certificate holders can earn as much or more than those with an associates degree in some fields. Among those who studied criminal justice/police science a popular area of study the median income for a certificate holder is $ 48,192, compared with $ 24,298 for those with an academic associates degree and $ 36,823 for those with a technical associates degree.

Technical-oriented associates degree programs appear to help students acquire skills sought after in the labor market. On average, students with technical associates degrees earn a median salary of more than $ 50,000. The median earnings of bachelors degree holders statewide are $ 39,725.

In addition, those with a masters degree earn more often much more than individuals with a bachelors degree. For example, bachelors degree holders in business administration earn a median salary of $ 40,178, compared with $ 84,470 for those with a masters degree. While the median first-year wages of bachelors degree recipients in Texas are $ 39,725, earnings vary widely, depending upon field of study. First-year earnings in popular fields of study range from about $ 25,000 (biology) to about $ 47,000 (accounting).

Earnings also vary by institution. The first-year wages of graduates from community colleges can be widely different. Academic associates degrees range from about $ 10,000 (Ranger College) to more than $ 30,000 for graduates from the Trinity Campus of Tarrant County Junior College and from Central Texas Community College. For graduates with technical degrees, the range is even greater, from about $ 20,000 for graduates of Clarendon College to more than $ 65,000 for graduates from seven community colleges: College of the Mainland Community College District, San Jacinto College South Campus, Tarrant County Junior College South Campus, Galveston College, El Centro College, Trinity Valley Community College and Weatherford College.

Other findings in the report include:

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