Study: Unprecedented Number of Employees Choose Certificates

Published June 30, 2012

Americans are looking to certificates at an unprecedented rate as a quick, cost-effective way to better their wages and employment opportunities, a Georgetown University study reports.

The number of certificates awarded has increased more than 800 percent over the past 30 years, the study states. In postsecondary education, the number of certificates awarded is now second only to bachelor’s degrees. 

Certificates can often be obtained within a year, and certificate holders earn 20 percent more than high school graduates, according to the study.

“Employers now are looking for more validation that workers have the kind of skills that they want, rather than just picking a generic worker and training that person on the job,” said Stephen Rose, a report author.

Depending on the field of study, certificate holders can earn more than associate’s and even bachelor’s graduates. In computer/information services, for example, women with certificates earn more each year than 75 percent of females with an associate’s and 64 percent of women with a bachelor’s in the field.

Hispanic workers particularly benefit from certificates, earning 40 percent more than high-school educated Hispanics, the study reports.

Image by CTSenateDems.