Education Report Roundup

Study Finds Growth in Two-Year Degrees and Certificates

By Ian Quillen — December 08, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The number of students earning degrees and certificates from community colleges is 25 percent higher than it was a little more than a decade ago, and the number of students earning awards from for-profit vocational schools rose more than 50 percent, according to a new report.

The total number of annual associate’s and vocational degrees awarded has reached almost 1.5 million, says the National Center for Education Statistics report, which tracks growth from 1997 to 2007.

Most of the overall increase over the study period has been driven by women—particularly women who are members of minority groups—seeking accreditation in the health-care industry. “Increasingly, these credentials have become a central feature of our nation’s job training and skill development after high school,” Tom Weko, the associate commissioner for the center’s postsecondary division, said in a press release. “For women, and especially women of color, these credentials are an important point of entry into the workforce.”

The number of women earning awards beneath bachelor’s level increased by 31 percent over the study period, compared with 24 percent for men. Among African-Americans, women earned 68 percent of the degrees and certificates, which was the largest such gender gap among population groups.

Nearly a third of all certificates and associate’s degrees awarded in 2007 were in health care, which was a 68 percent increase over that sector’s share in 1997, according to the NCES study.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that six of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations require postsecondary education below the bachelor’s level, with five of those occupations in medical fields.

The report also documents dramatic increases in postsecondary awards for Hispanic students, in particular. In 2007, Hispanic students earned 74 percent more overall awards and 88 percent more associate’s degrees than they did in 1997, the study found. More than half of postsecondary awards earned by Hispanic students in 2007, in fact, were below the bachelor’s level.

Both black and Hispanic students were more likely to opt for programs beneath the associate’s level. Together, they earned 35 percent of the short-term certificates completed in 2007, comparedwith just 23 percent of the associate’s degrees.

A version of this article appeared in the December 09, 2009 edition of Education Week as Study Finds More Students Earning Associate’s, Vocational Degrees

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 13, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 21, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read