Texans who earn a vocational certificate often earn more than associate-degree graduates in their first year in the workforce, concludes Higher Education Pays: The Initial Earnings of Graduates of Texas Public Colleges and Universities Who Are Working in Texas. Some workers with certificates earn more than $70,000 – $30,000 more than the median for graduates with bachelor’s degrees, concludes the Lumina-funded study by College Measures, a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Matrix Knowledge Group.
The median starting pay for criminal justice/police science certificate holders is $48,192, double the compared with $24,298 for those with an academic associate’s degree. Some health-care certificates allowed graduates to earn $70,000. Other high-paying certificates included: construction engineering technology/technician, electrician, pipefitting, engineering, industrial technology, and instrumentation technician.
However, not all certificates lead to high-paying jobs. Recipients of two dozen certificate programs earned less than $13,000 in their first year on the job. Cosmetologists and nursing/patient care assistants usually earned low wages.
Technical associate’s degrees pay well: The median starting salary is more than $50,000. By contrast, an academic associate degree lead to median earnings of $24,298,
First-year earnings for bachelor’s degree holders range from about $25,000 (biology) to about $47,000 (accounting): The average is $39,725.
Community college graduates’ first-year salaries vary from one college to another.
Academic associate’s degrees range from about $10,000 (Ranger College) to more than $30,000 for graduates from the Trinity Campus of Tarrant County Junior College and from Central Texas Community College.
For graduates with technical degrees, the range is even greater, from about $20,000 for graduates of Clarendon College to more than $65,000 for graduates from seven community colleges: College of the Mainland Community College District, San Jacinto College South Campus, Tarrant County Junior College South Campus, Galveston College, El Centro College, Trinity Valley Community College and Weatherford College.
A national study and analyses in Tennessee and Virginia have found similar results: Technical certificates and associate degrees often pay better than non-technical bachelor’s degrees at the start of graduates’ careers.
India plans to open 200 community colleges in the next few years, reports Community College Times. U.S. college leaders participated in a New Delhi conference on community and technical college models from Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United States.
The U.S. delegation, representing a dozen community colleges, was led by Tara Sonenshine, under secretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs.
Sonenshine told conference attendees that community colleges can be a crucial resource in educating India’s “youth bulge”—the nation has 600 million people under age 25—for meaningful jobs in a nation with a shortage of skilled workers.
The new colleges will offer “credit-based modular courses to facilitate mobility of learners into the employment market,” the Times of India reported.
Leaders from the Coleman College for Health Sciences in the Houston Community College System and Grossmont College (California) discussed training students for health careers. Kapi‘olani Community College (Hawaii) and Tidewater Community College (Virginia) leaders spoke about hospitality training and officials from Macomb Community College (Michigan) and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System gave presentations on their automotive training.
Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges are working with industry on workforce development with the help of a $20 million federal grant, reports Worcester Business Journal.
The Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (MCCWDTA) is redesigning degree and certificate programs in six high-demand industries: health care, biotechnology and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and sustainability, information technology and financial services.
Students will brush up on academic skills while training for jobs, said Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates in a speech at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. “They cannot sit in a classroom for two semesters because they need to brush up on fractions and decimals,” Oates said.
College and career navigators will help students enroll in courses and use the One‐Stop Career Center on each campus under the new initiative. Industry representatives, college administrators and faculty will design job training programs together.
The new virtual hospital and simulation labs use state-of-the-art technology with realistic computerized full-body manikins, 3D imaging software, a medication management system and a web-based electronic medical records system replicating a medical facility.
Hawkeye’s new labs create a broad range of hospital settings including emergency room, intensive care, labor and delivery, exam rooms and many other patient scenarios. With more than 20 manikins, Hawkeye’s simulation labs have the depth and diversity of manikins covering a lifespan: birthing mom, infant, pediatric and all stages of adulthood.
With 3D body imaging software, BodyViz, students can learn anatomy, examine body tissue and look for diseases.
“How to Achieve the American Dream Without a Mountain of Debt” is the subtitle of Thomas J. Snyder’s The Community College Career Track, a guide for high school students and their parents, career changes and displaced workers.
Snyder, president of Indiana’s Ivy Tech Community College system and a former CEO, tells prospective students why they should consider a low-cost community college, how to get scholarships, grants and aid and the pros and cons of online courses. He explains how to prepare for college work, ace the placement test and chart a path to a “great” career by earning a one-year professional certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree.
“Everyone should consider a science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), or health care related career,” Snyder writes. Learn math, then do the math: High-tech manufacturing, biotechnology, health care, information technology and energy are growing fields that pay a premium for technical skills.
Snyder also has advice for students who want to use community college as a “smart start” to a bachelor’s degree.
Also new is First in the World: Community Colleges and America’s Future by J. Noah Brown, president and CEO of the American Association of Community College Trustees. Despite increasing visibility in recent years, community colleges remain “woefully underfunded and undervalued,” writes Brown.
Investing in community colleges has been a big part of American prosperity since the end of World War II. Regaining our position of global leadership by increasing educational attainment rates is the way out of our current economic malaise.
Increasingly, community college students drop in and out and back in again, confusing measures of success or accountability schemes, he writes. College leaders must find ways to benchmark student progress to show how well colleges are meeting their multiple academic and vocational goals.
Mark Escott trained to be an emergency medical technician at San Jacinto College in Houston in 1993. Now Dr. Escott is back on campus as medical director of the North Campus’ Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) program.
After EMT training, Escott earned a religious studies degree at Rice, a master’s in public health from the University of Texas and a MD from Flinders University. He’s worked as an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Penn State and Baylor.
“I think that it’s important to recognize your roots and where you come from,” he remarked. “I also think it’s also important to give back to institutions that have given me something so important. I learned some valuable lessons as an EMT student at San Jac, some that I will never forget.”
Escott tells students that emergency medicine requires leadership skills and teamwork. “Keep your head down, nose in the books, study, study, study,” he says. “I promise it will all pay off in the end.”
PBS will air As Goes Janesville this evening.The documentary includes a profile of Cynthia Deegan, a laid-off assembly-line worker who enrolled in a Wisconsin community college to train as a medical lab technician.
When 30 factories closed near Janesville, Wisconsin, laid-off workers turned to Blackhawk Technical College for training in high-demand jobs,writes Sharon Kennedy, the college’s chief academic officer, in Community College Times.
Most hadn’t done well in high school and were nervous about returning to the classroom. Many struggled with family pressures. While some said their families complained they spent too much time on their studies, others said “their children were studying more because homework had become a family affair.”
The fast-growing demand for health care will create 5.6 million new jobs over the next eight years, according to a study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. That’s a 30 percent increase by 2020 — whether Obamacare is enacted or not.
The nursing workforce is expected to grow by 26 percent, but nurses will need more education. In 1980, 37 percent of entry-level registered nurses had at least an associate’s degree; by 2008, that figure had increased to 80 percent, the report finds. The rising demand for bachelor’s degrees is “crowding out” blacks and Hispanics.
Health care pays well only for educated workers, notes Forbes.
Aside from nursing, the demand for health care support workers such as home health aides and substance abuse counselors will also increase substantially. And therein lies the catch. Nurses and other healthcare professional are well compensated, but 70% of healthcare support workers earn less than $30,000 and 72% haven’t graduated college. . . . By 2020, 54% of these job will require at least some post-secondary education.
Among health care workers 22 percent are foreign born, compared to 13 percent of all workers nationally. Most foreign-born nurses come from the Philippines, India and China.
The demand for community college training in health fields, especially nursing, is soaring as laid-off workers seek new careers. There’s now an oversupply of new nursing graduates in some parts of the country, though it’s expected to be temporary.
An $8 billion Community College to Career Fund will reward colleges that partner with local employers to train 2 million workers for high-demand, well-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care and “green” tech. That’s if President Obama persuades Congress to pass his budget. In a speech at Northern Virginia Community College yesterday, the president linked “America’s comeback” to investing in education. ”We can’t just cut our way into growth,” he said.
A key component of the community college plan would institute “pay for performance” in job training, meaning there would be financial incentives to ensure that trainees find permanent jobs – particularly for programs that place individuals facing the greatest hurdles getting work. It also would promote training of entrepreneurs, provide grants for state and local government to recruit companies, and support paid internships for low-income community college students.
Despite the recession, some high-tech industries report shortages of skilled workers. As the economy recovers and baby boomers retire, there will be 2 million job openings in manufacturing through 2018, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown. But there’s a catch, reports AP.
. . . these types of jobs frequently require the ability to operate complicated machinery and follow detailed instructions, as well as some expertise in subjects like math and statistics.
. . . Mark Schneider, the former U.S. commissioner of education statistics who now serves as vice president at the American Institutes for Research, said there’s no doubt that high-tech companies need skilled workers. But he said there are challenges with leaning heavily on community colleges. Many students enter community colleges lacking math skills. The sophisticated equipment needed for training is expensive, and there’s little known about the effectiveness of individual community colleges programs across the country, he said.
In particular, “green” job training programs have produced disappointing results.
Community colleges have been partnering with industry on job training for many years. “Community colleges understand the needs of local employers,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in a White House press conference yesterday. The fund would allow colleges to hire staff, buy equipment and develop curriculum, she said. (I wanted to ask why taxpayers should fund training for employers, but I was too far back in the phone queue.)
“We will give community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, echoing President Obama’s line from the State of the Union speech. We will create “an America built to last,” said Duncan. Also “an economy built to last.” And a workforce “built to last.”
President Obama’s past budgets have been “rife with unfilled promises” to community colleges, notes Inside Higher Ed.
Community college leaders fear “degree creep” could destroy very successful associate degree programs in nursing, respiratory therapy and other health-care fields, reports Community Colleges Times. Requiring a four-year degree also is under discussion for nuclear medicine technicians, radiographers, dental hygienists and dieticians. These are among the most lucrative associate degree programs at community colleges.
Respiratory care therapists with associate degrees do as well on state licensure exams as those with bachelor’s degrees, said Barbara Jones, president of South Arkansas Community College. Degree creep is “a real threat,” she said.
Degree creep has been an issue in nursing for years, but it gained momentum last fall when an Institute of Medicine (IOM) reportcalled for 80 percent of the nation’s registered nurses to have bachelor’s degrees by 2020.
. . . “For some students, the only way to get into a health career is to take it a chunk at a time. Requiring a bachelor’s degree would make health careers inaccessible to many people,” said (Carolyn) O’Daniel, who is dean of allied health and nursing at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Kentucky.
Nurses with associate and bachelor’s degrees show comparable levels of competence on licensing exams, according to a recent American Association of Community Colleges policy brief.