Can A Community College Grad Earn More Money Than A Bachelor's Degree Holder

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1 Can A Community College Grad Earn More Money Than A Bachelor's Degree Holder

2 Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 By: Educational Literacy Center All Rights Reserved No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For More Information Contact: Chuck Moore, CCFC, CAMC, CAFC This publication is general in nature and is not intended to give legal, accounting or investment advice. Before incorporating any ideas in this publication the reader should consult with their financial advisor or tax professional Some of this information is being provided by the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet based at Teachers College, Columbia University. It's one of a series of reports about workforce development and higher education. Other resource will be noted

3 Can A Community College Grad Earn More Money Than A Bachelor's Degree Holder According to Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, Nearly 30% of Americans with associate's degrees now make more than those with bachelor's degrees. Some community college graduates are making twice what many bachelor s degree holders are earning right after graduating. Most families feel the only way for their student to earn a ticket to middle-class income is to get a bachelor s degree at a four-year college or university. Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce is not the only research report promoting a community college education, other recent research in several states shows that, on average, community college graduates right out of school make more than graduates of four-year universities. According to research by the state of Tennessee reported, The average wage for graduates of community colleges in Tennessee is $38,948 which is more than $1,300 higher than the average salaries for graduates of the state's four-year institutions. Another example was from the state of Virginia which found, Recent graduates of occupational and technical degree programs (at its community colleges), make an average of $40,000. That's almost $2,500 more than recent bachelor's degree recipients. Mark Schneider, vice president of the American Institutes for Research that worked with Georgetown University study helped collect the earning numbers for some states said, "There is that perception that the bachelor's degree is the default, and quite frankly, before we started this work showing the value of a technical associate's degree, I would have said that, too."

4 The research found to my surprise, the average bachelor s degree recipient took several years (mid-career level) to catch up in earning to community college grads. According to the College Board, the average two-year community college degree, at present full-time rates, costs about $4,200 (tuition/fees and books/supplies). Compare the cost of attending a community college with the average four-year public college or university at $10,276 (tuition/fees and books/supplies) and over $29,000 at the average private college or university. According to the report, The increase in wages for community college grads is being driven by a high demand for people with so-called "middle-skills" that often require no more than an associate's degree, such as lab technicians, teachers in early childhood programs, computer engineers, draftsmen, radiation therapists, paralegals, and machinists. According to CareerBuilder.com in a report published in January 2013, There are several careers that only required associate degrees that pays a very nice income, such as air traffic controllers can make $113,547, radiation therapists $76,627, dental hygienists $70,408, nuclear medicine technologists $69,638, nuclear technicians $68,037, registered nurses $65,853, and fashion designers $63,170. Jeff Strohl, director of research at the Georgetown center said, "I would not suggest anyone look down their nose at the associate's degree." The Georgetown center estimates that 29 million jobs paying middle class wages today require only an associate's, and not a bachelor's, degree. Strohl goes on to say, "People see those programs as tracking into something that's dead end. It's very clear that that perception does not hold up. The bad news is that not enough associate's degree holders are being produced.

5 The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports, Over the last 20 years, the number of graduates with associate's degrees in the United States has increased by barely 3%. And while the Obama administration has pushed community colleges to increase their numbers, enrollment at these schools fell 3.1% last year. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity reported, Many people with bachelor's degrees are working in fields other than the ones in which they majored. We have too many bartenders and taxi drivers with bachelor's degrees." However, as time goes on the salary advantage for associate's degree holders narrows as bachelor's degree recipients eventually catch up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), People with associate degrees are more likely to find jobs. Occupations in which workers often are required to have an associate degree are growing faster than occupations that require other types of training, which includes a bachelor degree. Let s look at some facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Cost An associate's degree costs considerably less than a four-year degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of an associate's degree is rising more slowly than the cost of a bachelor s degree. Flexibility An associate's degree can be earned at a two-year college, community college, or even some four-year universities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that at least 9 percent of associate's degrees are earned online. Time While a bachelor's degree typically takes four or more years to complete, an associate's usually only takes two years. This allows graduates to get into the job market and start earning sooner. Earnings According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with an associate's degree earn around $6,500 more per year than those with only a high school diploma and as you have read in this publication higher income than many bachelor degree holders.

6 Options Associate's degrees can stand on their own or be a stepping stone to a second degree. Associate's "Transfer Degrees" are designed specifically to have all the credits transfer towards a bachelor's degree at a four-year university. Career Opportunities An associate's degree can often lead to more opportunities to advance in a career field. Also, the unemployment rate for those with an associate's is lower than for those with only a high school and many times bachelor degree. How Does Your Community College Stack Up College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes of Research and Matrix Knowledge Group, has created a chart to help students find the best options. Based on the percentage of students that graduated within three years OR transferred to four-year colleges, they compiled a "success" rating for each community college in the United States. Below and on the next page is the success rating for the state of Kentucky. West Kentucky Community and Maysville Community and Madisonville Community College Elizabethtown Community and Southeast Kentucky Community and Owensboro Community and Somerset Community College Bluegrass Community and Paducah KY 49% Maysville KY 45% Madisonville KY 45% Elizabethtown KY 40% Cumberland KY 40% Owensboro KY 37% Somerset KY 35% Lexington KY 35%

7 Ashland Community and Hopkinsville Community College Hazard Community and Technical College Jefferson Community and Big Sandy Community and Ashland KY 32% Hopkinsville KY 31% Hazard KY 31% Louisville KY 28% Prestonsburg KY 27% ** Federally reported 3-year graduation rate + transfer rates. Sources: U.S. Department of Education data compiled by Collegemeasures.org These success rates are very impressive for many of our state community college compared to graduation and success rates at many of our Kentucky four-year public colleges. The chart below will give you a good comparison that all families should take note: (2009 from the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education)

8 Conclusion An advanced education is a must for all students above the high school level. Normally a basic bachelor degree will teach the student have to think critically, solve problems, and learn valuable social skills. However, it will not provide hands-on skills of preforming necessary job competences. If the student wants to learn important job skills and leading practical experience on how to perform job duties of a particular occupation, an associate degree can accomplish the needed goals. According to surveys by the U.S. Department of Education, teachers in associate degree programs spend more time conducting leading practical exercises and job training. Many of the instructors work in the field in which they teach, so they are able to relate first-hand stories of life on the job. If the student wants to get into the job market quickly with the needed skills to succeed in life, an associate degree from a community college is a great opportunity. An associated degree can also be a great stepping stone to a full bachelor degree once the student is focused on a particular career. Here is another important item of obtaining an associate degree Most students in the states of Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, (other states as well) could obtain their associate degree at ZERO cost and NO debt. It you want to learn how to get an associated degree at NO cost and NO debt, enroll as a subscribing member of my website If you have any questions feel free to give me a call (502) or send me an

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