Findings from a Georgetown Public Policy Institute study show that twenty-nine million middle-class jobs exist that do not require a bachelor degree. According to the study, The study found that nearly 40% pay in excess of $50,000 a year and there are five options for career and technical training that lead to these jobs. Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways account for $524 billion of postsecondary education and training investment annually.
- Associate’s degrees account for 800,000 awards yearly; 50% of associate’s degrees are related to career-oriented fields.
- Postsecondary certifications are second to bachelor’s degrees, surpassing associate and master’s degrees in award quantity. Approximately 1 million postsecondary certifications are granted each year.
- Registered apprenticeships represent $6 billion in spending and extend to about 400,000 students. Ninety percent of apprentices are men and over 50% of apprenticeships are in construction.
- Industry-based certifications from companies such as Cisco, CompTIA, and Microsoft are postsecondary test-based credentials granted by employers representing $25 billion in human capital development spending.
- Employer-based training accounts for $454 billion of spending ($313 in informal training and $141 billion in formal training) and is the largest pathway to non-degree careers.
The study showed that there are jobs that do not require a four-year degree available in science, technology, healthcare, engineering, and mathematics and more than 80% of these pay middle-class wages.
Future employees without the financial means to pay for specialized certifications may find an outlet for education through Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs). Though not accredited or counted as college credit, MOOCs provide a wealth of high-quality information pertaining to specialized topics that a self-learner can access for free.