Workforce Preparation and Employment Outcomes

Median First-year Earnings: Texas

First-year earnings of Texas Associate Degree Graduates and Certificate Completers by Program Area and Degree Type

What Is Measured?

Median earnings within one year of program completion, by award type within field of study

Who Is Counted?

Graduates of technical and academic associate degree and certificate programs in Texas Community Colleges between 2006 and 2010

What It Tells Us

The median first-year wages vary for technical associate, academic associate and certificate completers by field of study. The median income for nursing graduates was $18,700 for academic associate degree graduates, $28,000 for certificate completers, and $69,800 for technical associate degree graduates. For business graduates/completers the median earnings were $27,100 for academic associate graduates, $30,500 for certificate completers and $32,400 for technical associate graduates.

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
Data are reported in five-year cohorts; the cohort reported here draws from students who graduated between 2006 and 2010. Wage data are obtained by matching Social Security numbers of graduates with Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) unemployment insurance records for the third through sixth quarters after graduation. Only graduates employed in Texas during that period are counted; self-employed individuals, federal employees and those working outside of Texas are excluded. Program areas are reported by CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) code. Popular program areas shown here are chosen by College Measures. Data are available for other CIP codes at Data are inflation adjusted to constant 2010 dollars (last year of cohort) according to the Consumer Price Index.
Data Source

Schneider, M. (2012, September). Higher Education Pays: The Initial Earnings of Graduates of Texas Public Colleges and Universities. College Measures.