Average earnings within one-year of program completion, by program area and degree type
Graduates of associate degree and certificate programs in Tennessee Community Colleges between summer 2005 and spring 2006
There was wide variation in first-year earnings among graduates of the most popular associate degree and certificate programs in Tennessee. Graduates in health professions and related programs earned, on average, $46,606 while family and consumer sciences/human sciences certificate completers earned, on average, only $22,877. On average Associate degree graduates earned more than certificate completers in five of the six fields.
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.
Schneider, M. and Vivari, B. (2012, September). The Earning Power of Graduates from Tennessee’s College and Universities: How are graduates from different degree programs doing in the labor market?. College Measures.