Why Certificates Build Careers
And Boost Economic Success
awarded in the
last 20 years
Jobs that will
BY BOB WOODS
As community colleges cement their role as catalysts for the nation’s economic recovery, administrators struggle to set the record straight about one long-standing misconception: that a large number of community college students leave
without achieving their professional or academic goals.
Now, a new policy brief from the American Association of Community Colleges
(AACC) stands to put an end, once and for all, to the notion of the community
college revolving door.
The report, “The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in the Educational Attainment
of Community College Students,” indicates that the number of professional
credentials awarded to students over the past 20 years, primarily in associate
degrees, diplomas, and certificates, has risen at nearly double the rate of enrollment.
(See Figure 1.)
Though community colleges have tracked the number of associate degrees and
diplomas awarded to students for years, the report marks the first time administrators have been able to quantify the number of one- and two-year certificates
awarded. And it raises the question, given the recent emphasis on completion,