The college degree has solidified its role as the best ticket to the middle class.
With the title “Good Jobs That Pay Without a B.A.,” new research from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce would seem to offer some solace for job seekers with only a high school credential. But not much, as the study shows that an increasing share of well-paying jobs have shifted to workers who hold four-year or associate degrees.
The bachelor’s degree remains the “gold standard,” said Anthony Carnevale, the center’s director and a co-author of the new study, which he said also is “very good news for community colleges.”
The center examined who is getting “good jobs,” which it defines as those paying an annual wage of least $35,000 for workers under the age of 45 and $45,000 for workers over 45. The overall median income for jobs that meet those standards is $55,000.
Four-year degree holders captured an increasing share of the nation's well-paying jobs during the last quarter century -- holding 55 percent of them in 2015 compared to 40 percent in 1991. High school graduates without at least some college under their belts now hold just 18 percent of the good jobs, down 10 percentage points during the same time period.
The study found that the number of workers without a bachelor’s degree who hold good jobs increased slightly as the economy expanded, to 30 million from 27 million in 1991. But those jobs increasingly are going to associate-degree holders or to workers with some college education.