A Closer Look

Colleges in US – The tremendous growth in the number of short credentials awarded

Over the past decade there has been tremendous growth in the number of short credentials awarded by public community colleges.  These programs of study are explicitly vocational and require fewer credits for completion than an associate’s degree.  However, it is not clear whether students benefit from obtaining these certificates.  On the one hand, these credentials could be tightly coupled with local labor market needs and provide students with tangible skills that could help them get jobs.  On the other hand, these short programs of study could leave students with a credential that means little to employers and offers them no clear avenue to additional schooling.

The rapid growth in short- and long-term certificates awarded by public community colleges may be a positive development if these programs are providing access to higher education for students who wouldn’t otherwise attend.  However, these credentials must be thoughtfully designed if they are to have any hope of improving students’ labor market outcomes or their access to further education.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  Do students benefit from obtaining vocational certificates from community colleges? | Brookings Institution

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