According to a paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, vocational study at community college has the potential to significantly increase earnings, particularly for students who complete a health-related program of study.
The paper has not been peer-reviewed, and so its conclusions are considered preliminary, but it seems to confirm that the health field offers healthy opportunities for employment, wages, and job growth projections.
The authors of the paper examined longitudinal data on students in the California Community College system, which with 2.6 million students is the largest system of public higher education in the country. They compared the students’ pay before they enrolled in community college and after they graduated. Students in health occupations saw the greatest increase in pay—more than 25% in some cases; students in non-health occupations saw increases of 5% to 10%.
The authors concluded that “the extremely large returns to health occupations and the substantially smaller average returns among non-health occupations merit careful consideration. Health occupations are currently receiving a great deal of attention as promising career pathways for those without four-year college degrees.”