New state data show that nearly half of community college students in California who graduate with associate degrees earned $56,000 or more annually five years after graduating. Nearly 900 students earned associate degrees from Allan Hancock College during the 2015-16 academic year.
New state data show that nearly half of community college students in California who graduate with associate degrees earned $56,000 or more annually five years after graduating. Nearly 900 students earned associate degrees from Allan Hancock College during the 2015-16 academic year.

It pays to complete your degree: earning a degree or certificate from a California community college continues to deliver a remarkable return on investment, according to updated analysis on Salary Surfer data. The online tool allows students and the public to view aggregated median earnings of those who complete a certificate or degree in a specific community college discipline and then enter the workforce.

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.

About 48 percent of students who graduated with an associate degree earned $56,000 or more 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 29 percent of students who received an associate degree earned $79,000 or more annually five years after graduation. That dollar amount is the median wage for someone with a graduate or professional degree living in California.

Students who complete a certificate nearly double their pre-degree earnings after five years in the workforce. About 44 percent of students who graduated with a certificate earned $56,000 or more annually five years after graduating, while nearly 24 percent who earned a certificate earned $79,000 or more annually.

The new Salary Surfer data are also available on the Here to Career mobile app. The app, created by the Foundation for California Community Colleges, in collaboration with the Chancellor’s Office and Young Invincibles, provides access to information about California Community College education opportunities and awareness of careers that can increase earning potential. Here to Career uses personalized career pathway matching features to expose students to diverse career options available in their area. This information helps students make informed education and career decisions that lead to greater economic opportunities and professional success.

“This proves once again that earning a degree or certificate from a California community college can lead students to a well-paying career,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “While potential earnings should not be the only factor in choosing a future career path, completing a degree or certificate from one of our 113 colleges pays off for students, families, and the state of California.”

During the 2015-16 academic year, 897 students earned a total of 1,305 associate degrees from Allan Hancock College, while an additional 669 students were awarded 712 certificates of achievement.