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More Data Emerges on Non-degree Credentials


January 28, 2014


More Data Emerges on Non-degree Credentials

A new publication from the federal Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 tracks the attainment of a variety of credentials, including undergraduate certificates, as well as workforce participation and earnings.

This report shares data collected in 2012 for the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), describing the outcomes of the study cohort at about age 26. By this age, the respondents included the following (industry certifications were not tracked):

  • 3.1 percent who had not finished high school
  • 12.6 percent with a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • 32.3 percent who had enrolled in postsecondary education but had not finished a credential
  • 10.1 percent who had achieved an undergraduate certificate
  • 8.7 percent who had attained an associate's degree
  • 33.3 percent who had earned a bachelor's degree

Of respondents who had earned an associate's degree or undergraduate certificate, or had enrolled in some postsecondary education but not completed a credential, 81 percent were working for pay compared to 89 percent of those with a bachelor's degree.

When it comes to earnings, the percentage making at least $20 per hour included:

  • 14 percent of those with a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • 15.6 percent of those with some postsecondary education
  • 20 percent of those with an undergraduate certificate
  • 25.3 percent of those with an associate's degree
  • 43.4 percent of those with a bachelor's degree

This release came just days prior to a Census report exploring the attainment of certifications, postsecondary certificates and licenses. The increased interested in unpacking the "some college" category to find out more about people with non-degree credentials, and their employment and earnings outcomes, is very welcome!

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