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middle-skill careers

Certificates have swelled to become the second most common postsecondary award in the U.S.: Over 1 million are awarded each year. In the context of concerns about rising college costs and student loan debt, certificates, which are cheaper and take less time to complete than college degrees, have become of increasing interest to researchers, institutions, and other stakeholders in higher education.

In this report, Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Andrew R. Hanson of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University analyze earnings by field of study, sex, race/ethnicity, and program length. One of the most important factors that affects earnings is whether certificate holders work in the same occupational field they studied in.

The authors also take a close look at the demographic characteristics of certificate holders: sex, race/ethnicity, age, educational attainment, academic preparation/skill, family income, and parents' education.

Last, the authors analyze the institutions that most commonly award certificates—such as community colleges and for-profit institutions—and the states where certificates are most prevalent and provide the highest earnings returns.

2012
Anthony P. Carnevale, Stephen J. Rose, and Andrew R. Hanson
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Developed for the Skills2Compete campaign, this paper argues that there is increasing demand for workers in middle-skill occupations - those requiring more than a high school diploma and less than a four-year degree, and suggest that in order to meet future labor market needs, the U.S. needs to invest in education and training for middle-skill careers.

2007
Harry Holzer and Robert Lerman
The Workforce Alliance