Median earnings within one year of program completion, by award type within field of study
Graduates of technical and academic associate degree and certificate programs in Texas Community Colleges between 2006 and 2010
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.
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.