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For some high school graduates looking to get some more education and increase their income, or for people with college degrees looking to retrain into a new field, a certificate can be a good alternative to an associate's or bachelor's degree. But like just about everything else, certificates pay off less for women than for men:

Men who earn certificates earn 27 percent more than high school educated men. Women with a certificate, by comparison, only receive an average 16 percent increase in earnings over women with a high school diploma.
Some of that difference is because men are more likely to get certificates in higher-paying fields, such as construction, while women are more likely to get certificates in lower-paying fields, such as cosmetology. But that doesn't explain the entire gap:
A male with a certificate in computer and information service can earn about $72,000 per year—more than 72 percent of his peers with an associate’s degree and more than 54 percent of male bachelor’s degree holders.

Notice we said "male." Thanks to gender inequity, just as a man with a bachelor’s degree can out-earn a woman with a master’s degree, women don’t benefit from certificates as much as the guys do. A woman working in that same field only earns about $57,000.

That's just one of the ways that the value of getting a certificate is variable: fewer than half of certificate-holders work in a field related to their training, and those working in other fields see just a 1 percent increase in median pay relative to high school graduates. But those who do work in the field they've trained in earn only slightly less than the median worker with an associate's degree. Impact varies by race, as well, with Latinos getting the biggest earnings boost from a certificate over a high school diploma, while African Americans benefit the least from certificates. White certificate holders get much less of a boost than Latinos—but because white high school graduates earn more than Latinos, white certificate holders don't need a big increase to keep out-earning Latinos.

The picture on certificates is mixed: Some certificates in some fields can mean real pay increases for some people. The picture on gender inequity remains clear: In any level of education, in just about any field, women are left behind.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this is where DoEd can serve to validate (5+ / 0-)

    certification which would help veteran transitions as well as clear out the fake institutions and their fake certifications as well as coordinate state-level certifications. Spend more time on this than Race from(sic) the Top.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:18:33 AM PDT

    •  STEM training & GI Bill 2.0 /nt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, jessical, Mannie, Larsstephens

      slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

      by annieli on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:19:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that would be a great thing. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, Mannie, Larsstephens

        It might even fix some of the education scams, a little.  I had an acquaintance who is a little otherworldly but very smart, and the ITT people got him.  I am still so angry -- this smart, capable, good student has been robbed of tens of thousands of dollars and doesn't have a single transferable credit for his work.  Maybe if ITT and the like were able to offer a vetted certificate instead of a fundamentally worthless degree, these unspeakably evil weasels would at least give something back to their students.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:20:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  exactly where re-regulation needs to happen past (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jessical, Larsstephens

          licensure: this would allow the closer monitoring of such organizations (see Rand Paul creating his own certification group)

          slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

          by annieli on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:23:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have to get a GED to retrain, even for a (5+ / 0-)

    certificate: I went to college and went on to earn a graduate diploma in music, but I went to college early, my HS diploma being waived by the university. So, I don't have an HS diploma. But I have the equivalent of an advanced degree. I cannot qualify for admission--even with that--in any state school here in Maine. They don't care that I have a degree. They want to see my non-existent HS diploma. W. T. F. ?

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:18:34 AM PDT

    •  What sort of certificate are you trying to get? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, Mannie

      A computer one, like A+ or MCSE or MCDBA or CISCO?  

      I have a MCDBA and an Oracle certification.  I got them a private school that only deals with certificates for technology.  They didn't even ask about my high school or college degrees, only my credit card number.  

      It wasn't much more money than getting the certifications at a community college, either.  

    •  How hard did you push it? (0+ / 0-)

      I dealt with something similar going back to school, but here in WA had a very different experience.  No HS diploma but 3 years of university and 20 years professional experience -- they just checked whatever little box they needed to check and let me in (and I graduate this week! whoo hoo!).  

      I suspect if I'd applied to a "retraining" program, where the scope is driven by a narrow rubric, they would have treated me like a barely literate dropout.  There is an "ability to benefit" issue for financial aid, per federal requirements, but that should be addressed by prior university work or degree accomplishments.  

      I was surprised, on talking to (experienced) admissions folks from one of the largest universities in the state, how common this is.  It seems possible Maine is different though.  

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:01:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Talk to an adviser (0+ / 0-)

      In many schools, faculty do have the ability to waive requirements, prerequisites being the most common example. A decent admissions adviser should be able to figure out how to get you in.

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