Published on 2013/05/03

More Pay for Technical Certificate Holders

A report presented last week by College Measures suggests that Texans who graduate from a technical two-year program will earn higher wages, on average, than those who earn a four-year bachelor’s degree.

The study also found that students who graduate from the state’s less prestigious universities are likely to earn the same wage as those who attended one of Texas’ flagship institutions.

With a focus on the short-term benefits, the report indicates that graduates of technical two-year programs earn an average of $11,000 more a year after graduation than those who earn bachelor’s degrees.

However, College Measures President Mark Schneider admits that the wages earned by a graduate one year after completion may not accurately reflect the lifelong earning potential of that individual. Many educators say that while a narrow career focus through obtaining a technical two-year degree may help with employment in the short term, the same graduates may find it difficult to continue working in their fields when the jobs begin to disappear in the future.

“We’ve all heard about the philosophy majors who start out as baristas at Starbucks and go on to become barristers, and the person with a technical degree who’s going to be replaced by robots,” Schneider told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

But, he points out that it is still simply too difficult to tell what will come of wage-earnings when trying to estimate and track salaries a decade following graduation.

“Many students, because of time and financial constraints, can’t invest the time and money it takes to pursue a four-year degree in a field that pays well,” Schneider told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Certificates can be a very viable pathway.”

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