The research from the center focused on certificates for programs that took one year or less to complete. Some have suggested that short-term certificates hold little value in the job market, although recent research has contradicted that notion.
The forthcoming study by Di Xu and Madeline Trimble, both of whom are researchers at the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, measured the wages of former students who earned short-term certificates from community colleges in Virginia and North Carolina.
“We see positive, significant returns,” said Trimble.
The researchers found both an earnings bump and a higher likelihood of employment for short-term certificate holders. For example, students in North Carolina earned an average of $1,172 more per year with a certificate of one year or less. They were 7 percent more likely to have a job. Those numbers were $888 and 3 percent for certificate holders in Virginia.