Georgia leads in training certificates, which can earn some holders more than a college degree

A new report validates what many of you have been saying for a long time: We ought to be pushing more kids into career-tech programs after high school that award them certifications rather than pointing them all toward college and four-year degrees.

Those certificates that can pay off even more than a college degree if the student chooses the right field, according to the study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Georgia is a national leader in career-technical centers that offer certificate program that train students to be mechanics,  emergency medical technicians, machinists,  court reporters, electricians, dental assistants, fire fighters, architectural draftsmen, law enforcement officers and web designers. The Technical College System of Georgia consists of 25 technical colleges with two university system technical divisions and 31 satellite campuses.

In fact, the study found that if the government counted certificates in its education statistics, the United States would move from 15th to 10th in the international rankings of postsecondary attainment.

Here is the official release:

A new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that certificates are the fastest growing form of postsecondary credentials in the U.S., increasing from six percent of postsecondary awards in 1980 to 22 percent of awards today.

Their growth is due in part to the fact that they are affordable, they usually take less than a year to complete and they often yield high returns.  The study also shows that certificates have become a stepping stone to college degrees. Twenty percent of certificate holders go on to get two year degrees and an additional 13 percent ultimately get a Bachelor’s degrees.

Certificates can outperform two year and four year degrees. On average workers with certificates earn 20 percent more than workers with only high school diplomas. For example:

•Male certificate holders earn more than 40 percent of men with Associate’s degrees and 24 percent of men with Bachelor’s degrees.

•Female certificate holders earn more than 34 percent of the women with Associate’s degrees and 24 percent of women with Bachelor’s degrees.

The value of the certificate is tied to being in the right field, and working in that field. On average certificate holders who work in field earn 37 percent more than those who work out of field. The highest earners are those who are working in field and in high-demand occupations, for instance:

•Men who work in computer/information services earn $72,498 per year, which is more than 72 percent of men with an Associate’s degree and 54 percent of men with a Bachelor’s degree.

•Women working in the same field earn $56,664, which is greater than 75 percent of women with an Associate’s degree and 64 percent of women with a Bachelor’s degree.

Despite the growing importance of certificates — 1 million were awarded in 2010, up from 300,000 in 1994 — they are rarely counted in government surveys. If certificates, with a demonstrated labor market value, were counted, they would increase the United States’ international ranking from 15th to 10th among industrialized nations.

“Certificates don’t work for everyone,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center’s director and the report’s lead author. “Certificates are the cutting edge for Hispanic educational and income gains, they provide big payoffs for men but not for women, especially African-American women.”

•Certificates provide more bang for the buck for men than women. Men who earn certificates earn 27 percent more than high school-educated men.

•Women with a certificate, by comparison, only receive an average 16 percent increase in earnings over women with a high school diploma.

•Certificates provide higher economic payoff for those with less educational preparation. Students who enroll in certificate programs and have lower standardized test scores receive similar wages as workers with some college.

Growth of certificates is strongest in the South and West. Kentucky, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida produce the most certificates among states per population. In Oklahoma, 18 percent of workers have certificates as their highest level of education; in Nebraska, only 6 percent do.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

35 comments Add your comment

td

June 6th, 2012
2:46 pm

Good article. Is this not the path that Dr Barge is sending the state with putting more emphasis on Career and Tech education?

John Smith

June 6th, 2012
3:10 pm

This is similar to what Superintendent John Barge is trying to do with our middle school and high school Career, Technical & Agricultural Education programs across the state. These programs are critical to high school completion, academic success, and economic development. DOE is working with the Technical College System of Georgia to make things seamless so that students can continue to pursue higher education after taking high school CTAE courses

Today's name

June 6th, 2012
3:41 pm

As I’ve suggested in previous posts, education in Georgia could benefit greatly from a system which recognizes ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS to learning—similar to those used by Microsoft to certify expert technicians in various fields.

In short, why not allow students to learn independently and be certified by demonstrating their knowledge in rigorous testing?

Union shills HATE this idea (predictably) and will pose endless “Yes, but…” questions designed to derail any innovative solutions. (See their many objections to charter schools, tuition vouchers et al.).

Test machines, you understand, can’t pay regular union dues which can then be diverted to the Democrat Party ….

— EduKtr, posting under a pseudonym to bypass Maureen’s blacklisting.

Today's name

June 6th, 2012
3:44 pm

(Maureen will here post her usual disclaimer about how it’s all somehow “beyond her control.”)

MB

June 6th, 2012
4:06 pm

This was a topic of discussion at the Ed Funding subcommittee meeting yesterday, with a significant emphasis on early career pathway options and assessments in earlier grades AND the recognition of these certifications as career-ready success measures for the program which will replace NCLB as part of the state’s waiver.

What I also heard there was that the plan is that specific areas of the state will be given flexibility to create programs based on their community’s needs. For example, if a plant to manufacture vehicles is to open in a certain town, the schools there would be able to offer classes (and certification) to meet that employer’s needs.

Hillbilly D

June 6th, 2012
4:06 pm

There used to be apprenticeship programs where people earned as they learned. Down through the years, we’ve moved to unpaid internships and people paying for their own training. It’s good for some businesses to not have to spend on worker development but I’m not sure it’s good for the country overall. Sometimes when you look back, you find a reason why people used to do things the way they did. In a lot of cases, they worked. Nothing works every time and not all things from the past were good but there is much to be gained from looking backward just as there is from looking forward. It’s all in figuring out what to keep and what to change.

Maureen Downey

June 6th, 2012
4:10 pm

@Today, I don’t moderate by screen name. I moderate by IP address. If your stuff appeared without moderation, you are not on the list.
Maureen

ChristieS.

June 6th, 2012
4:10 pm

@Today’s name – Actually, most unions really support the idea of certification as it works hand-in-hand with apprenticeships and journeyman training. Just ask your local plumber or building-trade rep. Up until 25 years or so ago, that was how many of the trades handled their new prospective workers, OJT alongside technical, formal education. Why would unions hate the idea of certificates? Tradesmen built the middle class in this country, in some cases literally. And, btw, when less than 12% of working Americans belong to “unions” ( source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm), you can get off the bandwagon that “unions are ruining” this country. There aren’t enough people in them to cause the problems you seem to want to blame on them. Unions are the LEAST of the economic problems we have in this country right now.

I see an awful lot of people trashing even the thought of unions, but I don’t see anyone willing to give up their standard 40-hour work week, overtime protection, or any other protections given to them under the Fair Labor Standard Act. No one seems eager or willing to give up workers compensation insurance if they’re hurt on the job…or any other “luxuries” of working life that Americans enjoy when compared to MANY other countries. You can thank the union people who fought, and sometimes died, for those particular workers’ rights. Hypocrits.

Maureen Downey

June 6th, 2012
4:14 pm

@Today, The filter is beyond my control. Post a too long comment, put in too many links, use obscenities and the filter nabs you. Post a lot of nonsense, racist drivel or personal attacks and I put your IP address in moderation. And some folks have multiple computers, so all of their IP addresses go into moderation.
The moderation queue is fully within my control.
Maureen

say what?

June 6th, 2012
4:27 pm

Sadly Clayton Schools is running away from CTAE by trimming the progam countywide. the leaders who are responsible for the school system keep getting it wrong. CTAE and ROTC are good investments as students will no longer attend college due to costs, famiy savings being depleted, and student loans are not the way to pay for college.

Phony name

June 6th, 2012
4:32 pm

Excuse me, Maureen—but you quite definitely put both names and IP addresses in “moderation” … your polite term for censorship. Witness the usual union shills who daily suffer no apparent consequences at all for including union- & liberal-friendly links in their posts.

— EduKtr

skipper

June 6th, 2012
4:35 pm

@Maureen,
There was an article this morning about the lack of skilled workeres (carpenters, plumbers, etc.) coming along as of late to take the places of many who are retiring. These are good-paying careers. Everyone does not want to be an accountant or nuclear physicist. One of the wealthiest people in our town took up a construction trade, and had a learning disability when we were in school. He never went to college, but his worth is WAY more than the average person. He worked hard at his craft, and his services came in demand regularly. Skilled labor is a great way to go for lots of folks!

Phony name

June 6th, 2012
4:38 pm

… Somehow I left out LONG-WINDED union shills in the above list.

catlady

June 6th, 2012
4:45 pm

Everything old is new again!

teacher&mom

June 6th, 2012
4:48 pm

@Edukrt: Could you please post links or references to support your claim that “long-winded union shills” are against vocational training?

Maureen Downey

June 6th, 2012
4:48 pm

@Phony, Just looked at the moderation list, which has about 500 items on it. Only four are names. And those names had obscenities embedded in them. If you end up in the filter, you will get the moderation message. I should have been clear about that. So, if your screen name is a problem or if your post has been moderated recently, the system may put you in the filter. But, as far as what I do, moderating by IP address is far more effective. Also, if I moderated by name, as you claim, the system would stop words that may contain that name. So, I don’t do it.
Maureen

teacher&mom

June 6th, 2012
4:52 pm

I think vocational training is very important. My son is seeking a vocational certification. He earned a college-tech prep seal in high school and loves his classes at the local vo-tech school.

He has the potential to earn a nice salary. Starting pay for his certification is higher than starting teacher pay (if you compare hourly rates).

I’m proud of him and I think he made the right choice. His high school vocational classes played an important role in helping him decide which career path to take. I am grateful he had the opportunity in high school to explore different technical fields.

Today's name

June 6th, 2012
5:01 pm

@ChristieS; All that’s missing from your pro-union rant … is the usual union-connection disclaimer so common to other union shills posting here.

Actually, fewer than 8 percent of American workers belong to unions, according to statistics more up to date than yours. And in fact—one of the fascinating facts brought out in yesterday’s rejection of the union candidate in Wisconsin was the fact that public-sector unions there have lost UP TO FIFTY PERCENT OR MORE of their members since Gov. Walker made union membership optional.

Union bosses hate free choice for sound reasons, indeed. Readers that belong to GAE are shelling out $168 yearly in extra NEA dues to fund pointless wars like the one we just witnessed in Wisconsin.

Other names

June 6th, 2012
5:06 pm

@ChristieS; All that’s missing from your pro-union rant … is the usual union-connection disclaimer so common to other union shills posting here.

Actually, fewer than 8 percent of American workers belong to unions, according to statistics more up to date than yours. And in fact—one of the fascinating facts brought out in yesterday’s rejection of the union candidate in Wisconsin was the fact that public-sector unions there have lost UP TO FIFTY PERCENT OR MORE of their members since Gov. Walker made union membership optional.

Union bosses hate free choice for sound reasons, indeed. Readers that belong to GAE are shelling out $168 yearly in extra NEA dues to fund pointless wars like the one we witnessed in Wisconsin.

@Ron F (a.k.a teacher&mom): Hope you’ve recovered from last night’s union nightmare in Wisconsin.

teacher&mom

June 6th, 2012
5:28 pm

@Eduktr: I’m fine with last night’s election results. The good people of Wisconsin have used the ballot box to prove democracy is still alive and well.

btw: Since you were unable to provide any links or research regarding your claims, I’m providing one for you:

http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/Vocational_Education_final.pdf

And no….I’m not a member of GAE or NEA.

Still more names

June 6th, 2012
5:43 pm

@Ron F: The link you provide immediately above only demonstrates that teachers’ unions will back innovative vocational education PROVIDED THAT it involves unionized teachers. No surprise there, eh Ron?

And please note that Maureen “frowns” on links in posts. Officially, at least ;-) And yes, you ARE a member of the teachers’ union—as anyone can see from your history of posts.

Interesting Observation

June 6th, 2012
7:00 pm

Maureen, pass it on: In November President Obama signed into law the VOW to Hire Heros Act. Part ot the act involves monies for veterans to receive 1400+ dollars per month to help defray the cost of their training in a high demand occupation at a community college or two year college. The bill targets unemployed veterans who do not qualify for the old or new GI bills (veterans between the ages of 35-60). The Dept of Labor has enlisted its support to help these veterans find employment when they complete their training. The program is called VRAP (Veterans Retraining Assistance Program). For more information log on to: benefits.ga.gov/vow and click the link VRAP or visit a Georgia Dept of Labor Career Center and ask to see a Vets rep.

[...] played an important role in helping him decide which career path to take. … Read more here: Georgia leads in training certificates, which can earn some holders … ← Morning News Digest: June 6, 2012 | Politicker [...]

Prof

June 6th, 2012
7:55 pm

This union shill fully supports the idea of these training certificates.

Anonmom

June 6th, 2012
8:43 pm

I love this post. Now only if we could get this pushed down towards 9th grade so they could earn these certificates straight from high school….. then we’d really be making some progress.

ChristieS.

June 6th, 2012
9:36 pm

@Eduktr, I just wish I were a union shill. Unfortunately, I live in GA and so don’t belong to a union. However, I fully support technical certification and training certificates. My husband is an ASE certified master mechanic who got his initial training and certification from a vocational/technical college. My brother IS part of the carpenters’ union in Alaska, however. Does that count, even though he got his builders certification and studied for his GC license via the local technical college?

C

June 6th, 2012
11:38 pm

I am a career services administrator at a local certificate program school. It is true the students that truly excel in their classes and get along well with their instructors and administrators do just fine in their careers and earn a good wage. The drawback is many of the trades that vocational schools teach involve quite a bit of freelance work, especially at the beginning of their careers. This is a great opportunity for the well trained and super motivated graduates but an issue for the students that just do not seem to have an entrepreneurial side.

Sandy Springs Parent

June 7th, 2012
12:42 am

Up in New York State they have always had at least two graduation tracks. The college bound Regents diploma and then the General dipolma where the students go to a Votech school (B.0.E.C.E.S.) in the afternoon of their Junior and Senior year of high school.). Now they have even added a higher College AP track to the College Bound track, at my old high school.

My youngest sister and I both graduated with Regents diplomas. i ended up with a Master’s in Engineering. She got a teacher’s degree, but has never taught a day in her life. She married the small town doctor 18 years older than her when she was 23. She now sells Real Estate part-time with 3 sons in college. My middle sister and Brother did the Vo Tech diploma.My sister went for the Culinary program. then she went to a 2 year college in Hotel and Resturant Management. She then went for another 2 year degree at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Where she met her husband, who is also a chef. My sister prefers to back, and makes wonderful Wedding cakes and pies by special order as she has raised 4 children. My brother did the Auto Mechanic training. Although, that only led him to driving a tow truck for a gas station. One of his friends from High School’s father owned a printing company, they hired my brother to run the presses for his mechanical ability. They sold out to a major union printer 25+ years ago. My brother went from making $8 hr to $26 hr then. He is still with them and with 27 years he has the most senority. He has gone back and forth between Supervory and just working 3rd shift. He likes to just work 3rd shift. His company tried opening a lower wage non-union plant in South Carolina about 15 years ago. My brother came as a supervisor, they could not find enough qualified employees to run the plant. My brother went back up North after a year. They ended up closing the plant after a couple of years and now only have Union plants in California, New York and Canada.

I was astonished when I saw that Georgia offered no Votech option in its schools. Just one Diploma how crazy. But then again I went to a high school where over 98% graduated. I am still shocked by the ignorance in Georgia.

Ronin

June 7th, 2012
1:02 am

A good auto mechanic, who runs a private business with multiple bays, can earn as much, if not more than an attorney or general practice doctor.

College degrees recipients are paid more money, not because they have far greater knowledge, only because the corporate H/R shills have caved to the halls of academia and government compliance for higher education, which creates jobs program with accreditation, from a state institution. Does this sound conspiratorial? of course it does.

However, give me five highly motivated students that graduate high school, who want to work in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, auto mechanics, insurance sales, financial planning, vs. five general business degree holders that work for a corporation. four times out of five and many times five times out of five, the motivated “trade” individual will earn as much, if not more than the person with a college degree.

Simply put, it’s not difficult to become wealthy in the United States. Offer a solid product or service, charge a fair price and spend less than you make. Save 15% of your income from age 22 and by age 65, in diversified investments, you’re a millionaire, probably several times over.

Anonmom

June 7th, 2012
9:07 am

@Sandy Springs Parent — most times that I bring up all the votech options that I grew up with in NJ — and vent about how weird it is that we don’t have them down here — the response is that “votect” is “racist” …. I could care less who winds up in votech — I think it’s a better option than McDonalds or jail and it’s much better than dropping out. I don’t get that whole mindset. But that’s the mindset. I don’t know how we change the mindset that somehow if we were to offer the same 3 tracks that NY is offering — AP, regents and VoTech — we’re being racist…. It’s got a lot to do with the history of race and class in the south that isn’t as present in the northeast and Ohio but it’s high time we let it go. I think that, perhaps, the best way may be to “kill” the system, allow the vouchers, and to let parents choose the options through the vouchers and raise the programs from the dust as it all settles. One thing I’ve started to wonder about (merging posts here) is if the teachers suit is successful and the Heery-Mitchell suit continues and DCSS doesn’t have any more reserves — where, exactly, is the $100 million (give or take) coming from for attorney’s fees and then how is it that any money is going to be left to spend anything on actually educating kids? If that’s the case, can the system file bankruptcy? (I think the answer is no) Then, would the state take it over for insolvency (I think the answer requires some prelude action by SACS, which it has been unwilling to do)… so where, exactly, does that leave 100,000 kids and then, again, I circle back around to where have all the billions of dollars gone, exactly, over the past 4-6 years? Who has done a forensic audit of the all the money (not just state money or just the federal money or just the SPLOST money but all the money)…… who is really looking out for the children and who is really looking out for the taxpayers… a 2 mi tax increase isn’t going to make a dent (especially if we lose a portion to equalization).

bgonm2233

June 7th, 2012
9:10 pm

@ChristieS: In you live in Georgia but belong to the Georgia Association of Educators—you do belong to a union. That $168 extra you pay yearly to the NEA officially makes you a union member. Whether a union shill or not … is up to you.

And it does buy you the right to be thoroughly depressed over the ass-kicking your union received in Wisconsin Tuesday!

— EduKtr

Archie

June 8th, 2012
7:21 pm

I believe the old Middle Eastern proverb goes: “If a Father does not teach his son a useful trade, he is in effect, teaching him to be a thief.”

Prof

June 8th, 2012
8:05 pm

Curious, the anti-union comments here, given that labor unions were originally formed to benefit just such “career-tech” workers who had no other protection.

Archie

June 9th, 2012
8:07 am

Technical certificates will help eliminate the old job interview question: “Well, you have a Bachelor’s degree and a pretty decent GPA! What can you do?

Luella Chastain

June 10th, 2012
2:14 am

I believe you have mentioned some very interesting points, thankyou for the post.