Average earnings within one year of associate degree completion, by field of study
Graduates of associate degree programs in Colorado Community Colleges between academic year 2006–07 and 2010–11
There was wide variation in the average first-year earnings among graduates of the most popular associate degree programs. Graduates in fire protection earned, on average, $62,177 while liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities (AA/AS) graduates earned, on average, $30,184.
Many students enroll in community colleges to gain new skills so that they can improve their employment prospects. Numerous studies have found that median earnings for individuals with associate degrees are higher than median earnings for high school graduates. Even individuals who attend community college but do not complete a degree have higher earnings than those whose education stops at high school. Fewer studies have examined vocational certificates at the national level, but their results are consistent with the research on associate degrees, with certificate recipients showing a substantial advantage in earnings.