As the landscape of the modern workforce changes, we all find that there is a still strong misconception, especially among parents, about educational paths for their children to land a “good job”. Since the 1980s, the bachelor’s degree has been the gold standard for stable employment, lifetime earnings, and the most promising route to the middle class. But it’s not the only route.

The recent report published by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce states that as viable, affordable, and relatively fast routes to economic opportunity for many students, certificates and associate’s degrees are too important to ignore.

Today, more students are enrolled in certificate and associate’s degree programs than in bachelor’s degree programs. Associate degree programs, with the exception of the Associate in Arts degree, are strongly connected to occupation-specific skills and identifiable jobs. In many cases, some associate’s degree holders can earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree. Associate’s degree holders who studied engineering have median earnings between $50,001 and $60,000 per year, compared to workers with a bachelor’s degree in education, who have median earnings between $30,001 and $40,000 per year.

Encourage your prospective students, their parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to read this report and build a strong understanding of the multiple paths that are currently available for gainful and well-paid employment. Read the full report: The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate’s Degrees