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ERIC Number: EJ1100447
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jun
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0162-3737
What about Certificates? Evidence on the Labor Market Returns to Nondegree Community College Awards in Two States
Xu, Di; Trimble, Madeline
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, v38 n2 p272-292 Jun 2016
The annual number of certificates awarded by community colleges has increased dramatically, but relatively little research has been conducted on the economic benefits of certificates in the labor market. Based on detailed student-level information from matched college transcript and employment data in two states, this article estimates the relationship between earning a certificate and student earnings and employment status after exiting college. Our results indicate that certificates have positive impacts on earnings in both states overall, and in cases where there is no impact on earnings, certificates may nonetheless lead to increased probability of employment. In addition, we find substantial variation in the returns across fields of study and, more importantly, across specific programs within a particular field. Finally, in-depth analysis of the industry of employment before and after college enrollment indicates that many adult learners use certificate programs to switch to a new industry, which may not necessarily boost their earnings, at least in the short run. Our results therefore point to the importance of including multiple measures to evaluate the benefits of a certificate program, rather than merely evaluating its impact on overall earnings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina; Virginia
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305C110011