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April 11, 2018
The evidence is indisputable. Individuals who have completed at least some college fare better in terms of employment and earnings than those with only a high school diploma.
The College Board, a national nonprofit devoted to connecting students with college opportunity, regularly reports on trends in higher education. Its most recent edition of Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society found that employment rates among adults between the ages of 25 and 64 ranged from 68 percent among high school graduates, 72 percent among those with some college but no degree, 77 percent among those with an associate degree, and 83 percent among those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Furthermore, the report again confirmed that median earnings tend to increase in correlation with level of educational attainment.
According to Georgetown University researchers, 99 percent of all jobs created since the recession have gone to workers with at least some college education. Obtaining this education is increasingly expensive. As four-year university tuitions continue to skyrocket, technical and community colleges remain among the most affordable ways for adults to boost their employment and earnings potential.
The Case for a Two-Year Degree
Although many automatically think of a bachelor’s degree when they think of a college education, many rewarding careers are accessible with an associate degree or other specialized certification. For example, graduates of health care and industrial technology programs command robust entry-level salaries and hold positions with strong potential for greater earnings and attainment later on.
Because institutions like Piedmont Technical College (PTC) have ongoing consultative relationships with local employers, they can offer highly focused, practical training in the skills that are most in demand at any given time. Graduates can be confident they have a highly marketable skill set that will lead to a solid job even in tough economic times. And because these programs can be completed in a relatively short time frame, graduates can realize a quick return on their educational investment.
A Smart Path to a Bachelor’s Degree
Armed with a two-year degree, you can enter the workforce right away. However, if a four-year degree is required for you to achieve your ultimate career goals, you’re already halfway there. Some programs offer “stackable” credentials that can lead to a bachelor’s degree. That means you can start with a certificate or associate degree, go right to work making a decent living, and complete additional coursework when you’re ready to advance at work.
The many pathways available through technical colleges make excellent economic sense as well. By completing the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at PTC, for example, students can save more than $10,000 on tuition alone. In fact, depending on your financial situation, it is possible to complete your first two years with little or no student debt.
April is National Community College Month, and the College Promise Campaign has called for four weeks of action to build public support for free community college. This week, PTC is heralding “This is College” week by celebrating the many flexible pathways available ― and customizable ― to most any student’s needs.
For information about the broad range of academic opportunities available at Piedmont Technical College, visit us online.