A new online tool that allows students to see what their future earnings might be if they earn a certificate or degree at a community college is now online at www.hancockcollege.edu. Developed by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the “Salary Surfer” displays median annual incomes for community college students, before and after earning a degree. The data shows that most students who complete an associate degree more than double their annual earnings after two years in the workforce and nearly triple it after five years.
“This groundbreaking tool validates that California community colleges produce a tremendous return on investment for our state,” said Brice W. Harris, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, in a news release. “While future earnings should not be the sole determiner in choosing an educational program, students and the public deserve to know what monetary return they can expect from their investment.”
According to the Salary Surfer tool, nearly 45 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree and did not transfer to a four-year university earned more than $54,000 five years after getting their degree. The wage information comes from an agreement between the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the California Employment Development Department.
The site confirms the excellent earning potential of community college graduates, said Rebecca Alarcio, spokesperson for Allan Hancock College. “For example, our community colleges, including Hancock, train 80 percent of the state’s law enforcement personnel, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Police academy certificate holders are earning a median annual wage of $70,520 after five years in the field, and fire academy certificate holders are earning a median annual wage of $87,128 in that same time period.”
The Salary Surfer uses the aggregated earnings of graduates from a five-year period to provide an estimate on the potential wages to be earned two years and five years after receiving a certificate or degree in certain disciplines. This tool also provides information on which colleges offer programs in those specific disciplines. The Salary Surfer does not contain information about wages earned by community college students who transfer to a four-year institution.
The Salary Surfer tool can be found in the right column of the Allan Hancock College website home page at hancockcollege.edu.
Information about the data and the methodology used to develop the Salary Surfer is available at the Salary Surfer website. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about the online tool.