Healthcare: Two-Year Diploma Successes

HealthcareAugust 21, 2015

Much has been made about the value of graduating from college, but four-year college degrees aren't for everyone. So, what about a diploma that takes shorter than two years? Turns out, if you're interested in a career in the healthcare field a less-than-four-year degree can offer an excellent return on your investment.

A recent California study concludes that two-year career education and job training does pay off in select fields--especially healthcare. The working paper published online by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in April tracked wages of students before and after they received vocational education and training. By comparing salary increases against those of similar employees who started vocational training but didn’t complete it, they found that, when it comes to healthcare, vocational degrees pay off enormously. The study shows that students who earn two year degrees can earn as much as 65 percent more income per year. "Short-term certificates, in some cases, can have high returns," said Michal Kurlaender, one of the study's authors. "But there's a huge range."

A healthcare certificate program that can be completed in less than a year, for example, showed an 11 percent salary increase, while other areas of study showed as little as 1 percent in increased salaries. The healthcare category covers everything from Healthcare Administration, Medical Assisting and Nursing, to Dental Occupations, Pharmacy Technician and Massage Therapy.

The study also offers hope for students older than 30, late in establishing a career or retraining for a new one. Their returns to investment in a vocational degree were as strong as for younger students. Individual student outcomes can and will vary widely, but do your research if you are pursuing a post-secondary education and healthcare sounds interesting to you.

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