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Vocational degrees? Perhaps.
Many return to school to get a vocational degree, but does it pay? asks Jill Barshay in U.S. News & World Report. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research examined career- and technical-training programs offered by California's community colleges, finding vocational certificates and degrees made up half of all their degrees conferred annually, a 50-percent growth over 20 years. Engineering and industrial programs are top fields, but many programs fall into non-mechanical categories, from business to prison management. Researchers tracked wages of students before and after receiving vocational training, gauging a degree's financial impact. Salary increases were compared against those of similar students who started but didn't complete vocational training. In some fields, especially healthcare, vocational degrees pay off enormously -- as much as 65 percent more income per year. Other fields, such as informational technology (IT), see less gain. However, the authors caution against dismissing all vocational IT programs, even though the return for a two-year degree was zero (i.e., similar students without the degree earned comparable salaries). "IT" is a category that ranges from sought-after certificates in computer programming to secretarial programs in data entry. Interestingly, the study found returns on investment for vocational degrees were as strong for people over 30 as for younger students. More
Source: Public Education News Blast
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