EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — September 20, 2017

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Adult Population with Non-Degree Credentials (2016)


There is a lot more to higher education than associate's and bachelor's degrees. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics illustrates that 27 percent of all adults between the ages of 16 and 65 who are not in high school have some form of non-degree credential. These are defined as certificates, licenses, or other credentials that do not result in a diploma or degree.

As the graphic illustrates, individuals with higher levels of degrees actually have a higher percentage of non-degree credential as well. While 17 percent of high school graduates (highest level attained) and 29 percent of those who attended "some college" earned a non-degree credential, 42 percent of associate's degree recipients and 31 percent of bachelor's degree recipients also earned a non-degree credential. Almost half (49 percent) of those with an earned graduate or professional degree also had earned a non-degree credential.

SOURCE: Cronen, S., McQuiggan, M., and Isenberg, E. (2017). Adult Training and Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016 (NCES 2017-103), National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. Retrieved [date] from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017103.pdf.