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Census: Associate Degree Holders Can Earn More Than People With Bachelor’s

There may not be much difference in the salary of an American with a bachelor’s than that of an American with an associate degree, depending on the field of study, says the U.S. Census Bureau.

Workers who held vocational certificates in engineering averaged about $3,880 a month, which is nearly the same as those with bachelor’s degrees in natural science. Likewise, those with associate degrees in computers averaged about $3,760 a month, which is close to those with bachelor’s degrees in education or social science.

The data tables released by the Census Bureau, “What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2004”, examine the relationship between field of training for post-secondary degree holders and monthly earnings. They also present data on the average years taken to start and complete various degrees and on occupation of workers by educational attainment and field of degree.

Among other findings, business was a popular field of training in 2004, as 8.6 million people held bachelor’s degrees, 3.9 million earned associate degrees and 2.7 million received advanced degrees in this field. Those with bachelor’s degrees in engineering earned an average of $5,992 a month.

Students are taking longer than the minimum number of years to complete their degrees. On average, students took more than a year to complete vocational programs, more than four years to complete associate degrees and more than five years to complete bachelor’s degrees.

According to the bureau’s data, women earned less than men at every degree level. In 2004, women 18 and older who held bachelor’s degrees earned 0.71 of every dollar earned by men with the same credentials, and women with master’s or professional degrees earned 0.67 of every dollar earned by men with the same educational background.

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