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Salary Surfer

Check out a new online tool, Salary Surfer, released by the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office that allows you to view aggregated median earnings of those who complete a certificate or degree in a specific community college discipline and then enter the workforce.

alary Surfer​ displays median annual incomes for those who complete 179 of the most widely enrolled program areas and do not transfer to a four-year institution. The data show the median earnings for community college graduates two years prior to earning the award, then two years and five years after earning either a certificate or degree.

Salary Surfer also provides information on which of the system's 112 colleges offer programs in a specific discipline.

An analysis of the data found in Salary Surfer shows the tremendous return on investment provided by community colleges:

  • Students who complete an associate degree more than double their annual pre-degree earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce.
  • Nearly 45 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree earned more than $54,000 annually five years after getting their degree. That is the median wage of someone with a bachelor's degree living in California, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
  • About 25 percent of those graduates with associate degrees had median wages of more than $77,000 five years after graduating. That is higher than the median income level for those Californians with a master's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Median wages five years after award for students with associate degrees in vocational disciplines was $61,600 compared to $39,300 for those with non-vocational associate degrees.
  • Associate Degrees with the highest median incomes five years after award include:
    • Electrical and Power Systems Transmission ($96,200)
    • Physician Assistant ($95,700)
    • Radiation Therapy Technician ($91,300)