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A New Study Shows Why You Shouldn’t Discount the Associate Degree

The associate degree is something of an unsung hero in the world of higher education. Often seen as merely a stepping stone to a more advanced degree, the value of an associate degree as a standalone qualification worth pursuing has come into question.

A new analysis by the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, however, calls that preconceived notion into question. As Inside Higher Ed reports, the analysis finds that an associate degree may in fact increase recipients’ earning potential to a greater extent than previously assumed.

According to the analysis, women who have an associate degree on average earn $7,200 more a year than those who have no degree, while men earn $4,600 a year more. Those numbers account for a 26 percent increase in salary over that earned by women with some college and no degree, and 18 percent more for men with the same background.

Of note, the data show an earnings increase for those with an associate degree over those with only a certificate. That isn’t to say that certificates don’t have their place, of course; as the article notes, several states are undertaking efforts to increase the number of certificate holders. Rather, this data should support the notion that the pursuit of any high-quality credential is a pursuit worthy of our support. 

To read the full article on Insider Higher Ed, click here. You can also read the report from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment here.


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