"This report uses data from the 1995–96 to 2001 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study to examine three questions concerning students pursuing postsecondary certificates or associate’s degrees in career related fields (referred to here as occupational students): (1) who enters postsecondary occupational education, (2) to what extent do occupational students persist in postsecondary education and attain their credential goals, and (3) what are the labor market outcomes for occupational students who earn credentials? Occupational students were found to be more likely than academic subbaccalaureate students to be female, Black, older, have lower educational backgrounds, and self-identify as “enrolled employees” rather than “working students.” Most of these differences were due to differences between occupational certificate students and the two groups of occupational and academic associate’s degree-seeking students. No differences were found in the rates at which occupational and academic subbaccalaureate students persist in postsecondary education and attain a credential, although occupational students were more likely to “downgrade” to a postsecondary certificate. Finally, no differences were found in the rates at which occupational completers (those who earned a credential) and noncompleters were employed or in their average salary; however, among students who entered a job related to their field of study, average salary increased with the years of education completed." Source: National Center for Education Statistics.
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