Strada Education and Lumina Foundation Report - Certified Value: When do Adults without Degrees Benefit from Earning Certificates and Certifications?

A new report from Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation analyzes data from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey to provide a first-ever look at the impact of non-degree credentials on the lives of a nationally-representative group of education consumers.

The report, Certified Value: When do Adults without Degrees Benefit from Earning Certificates and Certifications?, is the first in a series that will be produced in partnership between Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation designed to better understand the educational experiences of adults without college degrees.  The study finds that adults with a certificate or certification, but no college degree, report greater marketability, employment rates, incomes, and happiness with their educational paths than adults without credentials

Additionally, certificate holders without a post-secondary degree:

  • Have higher full-time employment rates than their peers with no credential (85 percent versus 78 percent).

  • Have a median annual income of $45,000, versus $30,000 for those without a credential.  Wage premiums depend on occupation. For some occupations, the income premium from a certificate or certification is as high as $25,000 per year, while for other occupations there is little to no advantage in having earned a certificate, or certification.

Taken together, these findings indicate that certificates and certifications can serve as a beneficial stand-alone credential. However, there are important variations by occupation and gender.    I encourage career pathways stakeholders to have a closer at the full report. 

Will these results impact the type of certificate(s) your program offers, and/or how you prepare learners in making decisions about which certifications to pursue?


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator