Study: Not All College Work Boosts Future Earnings

SEATTLE (AP) — A new study has found a short-term college certificate won’t help students earn more money in the long run.

But if the classes taken to earn the certificate in a job-training program are later applied to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, college then becomes a good investment.

The study found it doesn’t matter what major a student chooses: short term certificates are usually only beneficial if they lead to a degree.

Previous research has shown a four-year college degree can double a person’s earning potential and an associate’s degree can boost earnings by as much as 22 percent. But few studies have made the same assessment for shorter college stays.

This study looks at education and employment data for more than 24,000 students who attended Washington state community and technical colleges.