Workforce Preparation and Employment Outcomes

Median Annual Earnings: Iowa

Median annual earnings for students leaving Iowa Community Colleges in 2006, by attainment status

What Is Measured?

Median annual earnings

Who Is Counted?

Students who left Iowa Community Colleges in 2006

What It Tells Us

Iowa Community College completers initially had lower median earnings than those who left without completing in 2006, the year they left school ($11,800 vs. $18,600, respectively). However, within one year, the median earnings for completers had surpassed that of non-completers ($24,600 vs. $21,800, respectively). Median earnings for completers continued to outpace median earnings for non-completers two years out. By 2008, the median earnings for completers was $27,000, while for non-completers the median earnings was $23,300.

Why It's Important

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.

About the Data

Completers: those who completed a degree.

Leavers: those who left without completing a degree.

Sources for median earnings data include: Iowa Department of Education, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation; Community College MIS and Iowa Workforce Development; and Unemployment Insurance records. Earnings were only recorded if a student worked for all four quarters.

Data Source

Iowa Department of Education, Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation, Bureau of Community Colleges and Career and Technical Education Services (2010). The Annual Condition of Iowa's Community Colleges 2010. Des Moines, IA.