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.
Salary 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)